Monday, July 05, 2010

Forgiveness Part 3: Process & Practice

Matthew 18:15-35 shows us this process. Vs.15-20 details how it may play out in the church, and then Jesus tells us what our attitude should be in vs.21-35.

• How often are we supposed to forgive? Always (vs.22)
• How much does God forgive us when we ask? Everything (vs.23-27) (in both instances they asked for forgiveness)
• Do we have any excuses not to forgive repentant people? No (vs.28-35)

Forgiven people become forgiving people. We have received mercy and we are called to be merciful. Ephesians 4:32 – we are to be forgiving to others because God has forgiven us.

We must forgive those who are repentant, but we must give an opportunity to repent, and not hold onto bitterness. We must confront them with the offense. Of course we need to realize the difference between a true offense and our personal problem with thin skin. We need to develop grace and mercy in our lives, and not be bothered over every little thing. Still there are times we should go to a person, and it takes courage to practice biblical forgiveness. Forgiving one another is part of our church’s Mission Statement, but we need to be biblical in dealing with it.

Is it always required that I rebuke a brother who sins? No, if you are truly not concerned with it, if it will not become a root of bitterness (1 Peter 4:8 / 1 Corinthians 13:5). If love covers it, then it must be covered, but if you are still thinking about it, then your heart is uncovered.

What about someone who is over me in authority, like a pastor, a boss, a parent, an older person? 1 Timothy 5:1-2 – do not speak harshly, or sharply rebuke, but honor them as we correct them, like we would a father we loved.

We should consider our own spiritual condition before we rebuke someone. This is not in a “who is the better brother” way, but examining our own heart before the Lord (Matthew 7:3-5), as we will discuss with Mark 11:25. Your attitude may be causing you to see this out of proportion.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

This is the third in a five part series, and I truly hope and pray it will be most enlightening and encouraging, as well as convicting and motivating. It was part of a basic training and membership class at our church.

The audio for these posts will be available soon...God bless...

Paul said...

It's good to see this type of thing go beyond the church walls. You can see the passion and compassion in your writing.