Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Family Matters 3: Remember to forget: Forgiveness

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 4th of August 2013. 

This is part 3  of a series called Family Matters. What is the secret to loving much? being merciful and choosing to forget? How many times have we held on to petty hurts and made mountains out of molehills? Have you trapped yourself in the snare of  unforgiveness . Read and listen to this life changing message. 
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE

As we live life, one thing is guaranteed- 


we will have misunderstandings and let down others and be let down. A simple situation can cause a lot of discord. This happens in natural families and also in our spiritual family i.e. the church.
In the world, un-forgiveness is such a hindrance to relationships. Two sisters do not talk to each other for many years! A small hurt is magnified- making mountains out of mole hills. Have you met people like this? Maybe you are like this.

In Matthew 18:21, Peter who was always the spokesperson for the disciples asks a question. In that day you were expected to forgive 3 times. Peter thinks he is being magnanimous by doubling the number and adding one!  When Jesus says “not seven times, but 77 times”, the Pharisee will count till 77. But what Jesus means is- unlimited!

Jesus then tells a story- it’s called the parable of the unmerciful servant. The man owed an unimaginable sum of money. The point Jesus is making is that it was a huge un-payable amount. This is a picture of God and us in the context of forgiveness. We can never repay God for all the sins we have committed  and in our foolishness we thing that we can "pay it back" but God know that we can't.
In the same way the servant did not realize how much he owed and the depth or seriousness of his situation when he says, “I will pay back”. But the Master knowing his condition takes pity on him and cancels it.

This is what Jesus did on the cross. The Father has forgiven ALL our sins. We need a deep revelation of this or we will be like Simon the Leper who thought he was better than the woman who anointed Jesus.The other extreme is, we can become sin conscious. We need to avoid both and realize that it was finished on the cross. 

The servant very quickly forgot about the mercy shown to him and man-handles someone who in comparison owed him very little and throws him in jail. The master hears of this and throws this ungrateful servant into jail. This is how the Father will deal with us. Wow! This is serious.

There are 2 levels- we have no problem with the first i.e. receiving forgiveness but it’s the second one that we stumble upon.
 Friendships are based on love, but misunderstandings are settled when we forgive. Now how do we do this?
1.     Realize that God has forgiven us much. If we don’t know then we cannot forgive.
2.     When we are sinned against, we take offence- we are hurt and we can justify our hurt and change our behavior toward that person. We avoid that person. Forgiveness is to love and treat that person as though they have not hurt us. Humanly we cannot do this- we need the help of the Holy Spirit for this.
(Illustration- . The one where a man was tortured and many years later when he finds out who it was he chooses to forgive him. READHERE.http://assets.baptiststandard.com/archived/2001/11_26/pages/carrier.html 

The power of forgiveness is wonderful. We need to decide to forgive. It is not a natural human inclination. We want revenge. If we lived by our feelings, we’d be a mess.
And some say, “I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget”. What does Jesus do? He remembers them no more.
Quote of Amy Carmichael-If I say, "Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget," as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

 God can remove the memory of those hurts when we choose to let go and refuse to remember.
Q. What if the persons sins against you again and again?
People are like porcupines which huddle together for warmth in the cold but they poke one another and move apart- they are in danger of freezing to death or learn to huddle without causing too much pain.
How do we cope? We need to learn to forgive.

HOW DO WE APPLY THIS?
Think of someone who has hurt you- we are called to bless them. Forgiveness is unilateral (Romans 5:8). Th is can be applies between husband and wife, parents and children, neighbours, friends, and in the church.
That person may not change- our forgiveness needs to be unconditional. If you feel someone has hurt you in church, how do you deal with it? – Matthew 18:15- “if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”

Often, we need to clarify because we could have misunderstood the situation- that can settle so many things. When we seek clarification, we need to ask in a humble posture. We need to practice this especially in the church.
In the church if you feel you have been hurt- keep short accounts and settle it quickly. Small or big, settle it. Satan loves to fuel a misunderstanding and drive it to an irreconcilable situation. As we apply Matthew 18:15, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32 and Mark 11:25 we learn to forgive.

Be real in your relationships. The person who lets you down should seek forgiveness and name the sin- “please forgive me for not picking you up, I let you down”. It’s taking responsibility. Our response should be ‘I forgive you’.  That’s when there is closure to the hurt.
We are not trying to be perfect. We will hurt and let each other down. But let’s be quick to settle it- forgive and release forgiveness. Then there will be so much love all around!

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.

English Language Service 10am. Please check google maps for directions