Have you ever been wronged, stolen from, physically assaulted or abused, lied to, verbally abused, slandered or lied about? Have you ever been cheated on during your marriage? Have you ever been treated unfairly in a business transaction or a job? Have you ever been sexually abused? Have you ever been dishonored by your children?
Are any of these issues still unresolved in your life? Have you ever been given lip service receiving a half-hearted “I am sorry” but never receiving full restitution? Has anyone borrowed money from you and never paid it back? Or have you ever received returned items that had been borrowed from you in a damaged or broken state?
Lets flip these questions around: Have you ever done anything wrong? Have you ever stolen? Have you ever physically assaulted or abused anyone? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever verbally abused, slandered or lied about someone? Have you ever cheated on your spouse in marriage? Have you ever improperly treated a business partner or made a transaction that was unfair? Have you ever sexually abused anyone? Have you ever dishonored your children?
Are any of these issues still unresolved in your life? Have you attempted to apologize or to make it right on the part of the other party? Have you ever given lip service providing a half-hearted “I am sorry” but never giving full restitution? Have you ever paid back money that you borrowed from another? Or have you ever returned items that had been bought or borrowed in a damaged or broken state?
We have not only cheated man, but we have also cheated God, the creator of the universe. We have lied to God. We have abused God. We have stolen from God with regard to our time, money, and talents He has given us. Unfortunately, we have used them for our own selfish ends. We have betrayed God by spitting in His face while He stood by your side offering His hand in friendship. We have falsely blamed God, judged God and condemned God.
With these incredible wrongs that have been committed against you or that you have committed against God or your fellow man, what are you going to do about it?
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ walked the face of the earth. He taught His disciples to pray daily: asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness to others. His followers did that. His followers were unique. They still are. They were able to do that. They had the power to do that only because they had come to Him and God had released them from their sin. They first received forgiveness from God—against whom all sins are ultimately committed. Then they had power to forgive others. They experienced it in their souls. They felt the guilt, the shame, the burden of sin literally being removed from them. They became free and unshackled from sin and then they had the power to release others. How could you not forgive others?
Mark 2:1-12 is the story of the healed paralytic man lowered through the roof. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee (Mark 2:5). Jesus had authority to forgive sins. Nobody else except God had the authority to release him from sin. Once you are forgiven, you also need to forgive others.
The unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23-35 failed to have compassion on his fellow servant after he had been forgiven for his great debt and cast him into prison because of his unpaid small debt. There may be a struggle within your flesh, but ultimately, you have no right to withhold forgiveness after you have experienced forgiveness from God.
Are you unforgiving, unforgiven, or both? I think that you will find that one leads to the other.
It is not God’s will for you to be unforgiving and unforgiven. He is holding out His hand to you right now. Let go of what you are tightly holding on to so that you can take hold of His hand of friendship. He is willing to be your friend on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ which can change a wicked man into a good man. Take God’s wonderful gift of salvation. Turn away from your sin. Believe me and get started on the path to eternal life today. (Excerpt from a sermon preached July 16, 2017)