We’re in the series OPEN.
Open Hearts: Generous Forgiveness (Open Pt 3)
“This is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name; Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”– Matt 6:14-15
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. —Col 3:13
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” —Eph 4:31-32
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back. But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” —Matt 18: 21-35
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matt 5:23-24
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” —Luke 6:37-38
When they came to a place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”– Luke 23:33-34
I can’t say strongly enough how much forgiveness is a key to Kingdom living; how many doors it opens in our lives.
But what IS forgiveness?
The core definition is not demanding repayment for something that’s been taken/stolen from you, or someone owes you (not just material; but emotional& relational etc.)
“You’ve heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, …tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also & if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. —Matt 5:38-42
But just because you forgive others doesn’t mean…
- It doesn’t hurt still, or that it’s all OK
- You need to keep opening the door to hurt
- They don’t deserve to be punished
Generosity of heart is going the extra mile, & giving to the one who asks, or lending to the one who wants to borrow, even if they were a person who didn’t pay you back before!
We’ve all been forgiven much: Each of us was marked as a prisoner; enemy of God; But God freely gave us freedom & life; and if I’ve received grace, it’s so I can give it away!!! So I can be a changed man or woman.