Why Do I Forgive?
Throughout the sermon series titled “Why Do I…?” Pastor Charlie has been walking us through several examples of why we, as Christians, should do certain things. But perhaps none more important than the question: Why Do I Forgive?
The foundational verse for this sermon series is Romans 7:15-20 (MSG)
“I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.”
Why Do I Forgive?
In Matthew 18:21-23, Peter asked Jesus how often he has to forgive, and Jesus’ answer was clear: there is no limit.
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”
It doesn’t matter how many times you have to forgive people; you keep doing it because God keeps forgiving you.
But as humans, it can be so hard to forgive! The wrongs that people have done to us or to someone we love can seem unforgivable, and at times we aren’t ready or willing to forgive. There are reasons for these barriers that many times we don’t consciously think about when holding onto others’ faults.
4 Barriers to Forgiveness
The Self-Deception Barrier – We rationalize with ourselves and make the wrong out to be “no big deal,” but inside it grows into something ugly.
The Self-Defense Barrier – The desire to “make things even.” We feel that if we hurt them as badly as they hurt us, that we’ll be squared up. But really that just makes everything worse. In Roman’s 12:17-18, 21 we learn “Do no repay anyone evil for evil…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The Self-Image Barrier – Being too proud to admit that you were hurt by someone; not being humble. When we put up the “I’m too good to be hurt by someone else” facade, God sees right through it and knows in your heart you are hurting. God gives strength to the humble. Let God have your issues, and release them through forgiveness and prayer.
The Self-Protection Barrier – Thinking that by avoiding facing the issues (pushing them inward) that things will get better. This will only create negative emotions and cause you to never let it go.
Remember the bigger picture at play in our lives: RELATIONSHIPS.
God values relationships, but do you?
What is your goal with relationships?
- Proving you’re right?
- Or restoring relationships?
Forgiveness is the first step to restoration. If the relationship cannot be repaired, at least your heart can be at peace and you can focus on other positive relationships with people and God.
Ask yourself: What is the highest authority in my life?
- Is it my feelings?
- Or is it the word of God?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32