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Can You Forgive

David Shin

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Have you ever struggled to forgive someone that has hurt you deeply? Join us as Pastor David reflects on the anatomy of forgiveness from a parable that Jesus told.

Presenter

David Shin

Dr. David Shin is the President of Ouachita Hills College.

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  • February 11, 2017
    11:30 AM
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This morning our message is untitled the anatomy of forgiveness and I'd like to begin by telling you a story of Simon Wiesenthal he was a true that went through the horrors of the Holocaust he wrote his account in the book called the sunflower and he talks about how during the Holocaust he was living in a ghetto and he was summoned suddenly into a hospital room where there was a dying man sitting at the bed he found out later that this man was a former S. S. soldier is head was bandaged so that you could not see his eyes they were only cut outs for his nose and his mouth. And the dying soldier said to Saddam in Wiesenthal I don't know who you are but I know that you are a Jew He said I am dying my heart is filled with guilt and for the next 2 hours Simon Wiesenthal heard the S.S. soldier tell him story after story of how this soldier that still authored the Jews he told the story of how he took $300.00 Jewish families into this building doused it with gasoline and he and his men stood outside with their machine guns raised for any person that would come out of the blaze and he told this young mother and child who ran outside and he in cold blood shot this mother and daughter and he said Simon My heart is filled with guilt I'm dying and he said I have one request for you. And you. Ken. You give I need to know the answer to that question before I died Can you forgive Simon says in his account that he sat there stunned What was he going to do and finally he made his decision got up in silence and walked out of the room. That dialogue haunted him for the rest of his life matter of fact he went to 90 different people even rabbis and told them the accountant asked him the question did I do the right thing and 90 percent of them said you did absolutely the right thing you should have walked out on that. This poses a question for all of us is there a limit to forgiveness is there a limit when someone has hurt so bad our son done something so heinous and so atrocious that it does not warrant forgiveness they don't deserve forgiveness is there a situation or circumstance when someone has done something repeatedly hurtful and we all justification can say no there is a limitation to even for a given a system fundamental question that Simon Wiesenthal was asking and not only does Simon as good but it's actually in the Gospel account and I'd like to invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew Chapter 18 verse 21 Matthew Chapter 18 in verse 21 it is page 1134 in the Bible that is in the pew in front of you. Peter asked this question regarding the limitations of forgiveness is there a time when we can justifiably refuse forgiveness 1131 Matthew Chapter 18 verse 21 then Peter came to him and said Lord listen to his question how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him up to 7 times in Hebrew tradition the rabbis had taught that you could refuse or you could forgive someone 3 or 4 times but after that you could refuse forgiveness so here Peter thought that he was being generous he could double what the rabbis had told him he said could I forgive someone up to 7 times and notice Jesus as a response verse 22 Jesus said to him I do not say to you up to 7 times but up to what is your bible say 70 times 7 Bible scholars tell us that Jesus was not placing a limit upon forgiveness but rather he was saying that there is no limitation to forgiveness up to 70 times 7 by this time the disciples are understandably stunned and as is the cost and the teachings of Jesus he said let me tell you a story and so he tells them up terrible. Verse 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants and when he had begun to settle accounts one was brought to him who owed him 10000 talents during the time when the Jews were living in the 1st century it was the time of the Roman occupation of Palestine and the talent was the largest form of currency in the Roman Empire 10000 when you look at it in the Greek is the largest numerical song that you could describe it is the equivalent of us saying like a zillion or a trillion so here for all intents and purposes this servant owed the king and astronomical amount for all intents and purposes it was an infinite amount that he could never repay you can recognize the desperation when this man owes an astronomical amount in verse 25 but as he was not able to pay his master commanded that he be sold with his wife and children and all that he had and that the payment be made $26.00 the servant therefore fell down. Falls at the feet of the king and said Master have patient with me and I will pay you all he said Just give me some time please I will pay you back then the master of the servant was unmoved with passion released him and for it gave him the debt. Notice that the Master did not say Look I'll give you more time to pay back your debt he said look your debt is there given it now if I got a letter from my bank saying that my mortgage was forgiven and I did not need to pay my mortgage anymore I would be jumping for joy be extremely happy but here this man is life is future is on the line his wife his children could be sold as slaves and yet the king has compassion and says look you don't owe me a thing. The contrast is striking now whenever you read the Bible and you see the word but it indicates a dramatic change in direction look in verse 28 but you know there's a problem coming here there's a contradiction is the conundrum verse $28.00 but that servant went out and found one obvious fellow servants who owed him a 100 dinars and laid hands on him and took him by the throat assault him this is the picture grabs him by the throat physical assault pay me back what you owe so his fellow servant fell down at its feet are you noticing the up some repetition here this is parallel to what the servant has just done he fell down at his feet and begged him saying Have patience with me there's the repetition again and I will pay you all but here is the Contras 1st $30.00 and he would not but he went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt 1st 31 so when his fellow servant saw what had been done they were very grieved and came and told their master all that had been done then his master after he had called him said to him do you good servant I For gave you all the dead because you begged me should you not all sore have had compassion on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you and his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until you should pay all that was due to him and here is Jesus coming in for the application of the parable in verse 35 so my Heavenly Father also will do to you if each of Q From his heart does not forgive his brother I should add or so this jerk is trust. That could not be more direct It's a simple parable and I've summarized it in this way Jesus illustrates that the on forgiveness of the weak it servant results in the loss of the king's forgiveness. There's a lot of time we can spend on this parable matter of fact I could probably preach a sermon series along these lines but I want to focus on the punchline within the parable it's found in verse 33 and within the question that the king asks the weak good servant is the summary of what the real issue is in the parable of the wicked servant here it is verse 33 I have it here on the screen for your benefit shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you there is the question there is the problem and this is the issue that the king has with the wicked servant shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you know whatever you study the Bible a good exercise to do that I undertake is that I go through and I plug in the pronouns so here it is I've done it for your benefit shouldn't you which is the wicked servant have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I think King had on you when you analyze this some more you will see that in this parable a simple observation you can make is that there are 3 parties that are involved in this forgiveness process there's the king there's the weak it's servant and there is the fellow servant incidentally whenever you study the Bible especially in the New Testament about forgiveness it is never between 2 parties alone it is always 3 part. That's why in the Lord's Prayer it says forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors god me and those that oh me it's always a 3 party relationship we as human beings tend to think of forgiveness in terms of a 2 party the person that hurt me and me or the person that I hurt and me and it's between these 2 dynamics that we say we need to forgive but the New Testament paradigm the New Testament perspective for forgiveness is always free not to the same in this parable So here you have it I've made a little chart here on the screen you have the king you have the wicked servant and you have the fellow servant 3 parties are involved in this parable notice that Peter asked the question how many times should I forgive my brother 2 parties Jesus expands it in the parable and says it's not between 2 parties it's actually between 3 parties so any time we think of forgiveness we need to expand our perspective expand our paradigm not think of too but think of 3 Furthermore in this parable the relationships are a little bit different the relationship between the king and the wicked servant is a vertical relationship there is a definite hierarchy the King is over the wicket servant but the relationship between the wicket servant and a fellow servant is not a hierarchy a relationship but it is a peer relationship do you see that yes or no that's why he is called a fellow servant King in that we could servant are in a hierarchy but we could servant and the fellow servant our peers another dynamic in this parable is that this story of forgiveness and these 3 relationships are what we would call inter connected. Or interrelated or I would even add at inter dependent meaning that one relationship impacts the all of their relationship the Bible presents forgiveness not as a dynamic between 2 parties alone but the dynamic between 2 parties impacts the dynamic between the other party you cannot act one without affecting the other they are interconnected interrelated and inter-dependent in my study this week I scratch my head for a long time trying to figure out an illustration that would help us to understand why God present this as a composite relationship between 3 as a package this is the way that God invented producers and the only illustration I could think of is Christmas lights in elementary school I still remember when I learned about electricity that Christmas lights are put in what electricians call a series circuit otherwise known as a daisy chain for practical purposes a series circuit means that if long all of the lights go out what happens they all go out a series circuit is wired in a way so that if one Christmas light goes out they all go out I remember setting up a Christmas tree as a child and suddenly all the lights go out and I would hunt through all of the Christmas lights to look for the one that was parked out and until I replaced the light that was burnt out the lights will never go on that is the way that a series circuit is wired Jesus. Presents forgiveness as a series circuit did you know that your Matthew Chapter 18. He presents forgiveness as a series circuit forgiveness is to flow from God to me to go who hurt me but if any point I cut off the circuit of forgiveness and I choose not to forgive the person that has hurt to me the light all go out this is what Jesus is bringing out when we choose on forgiveness for the person that hurts me I am cutting off my lifeline to got there I have it my sermon idea so that everyone is clear what I'm talking about here today when I caught all forgiveness from those who hurt me I caught off Gaunts forgiveness to me let me say it again when I caught all of forgiveness from those who hurt me I caught off guard it's forgiveness to me Jesus is illustrating that when we choose on forgiveness we are short circuiting forgiveness not just to the other person but God's forgiveness to me see forgiveness is naturally supposed to flow it's not supposed to be stagnate this is the way that God invented forgiveness so that it flows from God to me to those that hurt me but the moment I choose to cut it off the person that I am hurting the most is myself. Noticed that we could serve him when he chose to not forgive his fellow servant who was he hurting the most. I think of the story of Priscilla or to. Her son 15 years old. They were living in Cuba during the but distant Regina when Christianity and Christians were being persecuted her son had just accepted Christ and he was condemned to be executed 15 years old she tells the account of how her son and her had their last moment mother and son they had a warm embrace and the song looked into his mother's eyes and said This is a quote for if them forgive them. Or they will be the victors please forgive a mom or they're going to be the victors that were the last words that her 15 year old said to her weeping mother and they let that son off and he was killed in cold blood and she says that how for the next 10 years her blood boiled with rage hatred bitterness anger and revenge she plotted and planned for the next 10 years to get even with the perpetrators she said it was tearing her side and this is her quote I only 4 gave what I saw how destructive my hate was how it consumed my energies crippled my friendships and disabled any good that I wanted to do I wanted to be free from the prison I had directed in my life I saw finally the truth of my son's last words that when we return hatred to those who hate us we fall into playing their game according to their rules and do them the great favor of hurting ourselves she said she had to forgive. Because she recognized that it was destroying her capacity to accept the grace of God's forgiveness when we offer getting this from others we are cutting off Gaunts forgiveness to us it is a pact which that is the way that God invented forgiveness it is a party of 3 that are interdependent and interrelated when we choose forgiveness for others we are choosing on forgiveness for ourselves from God This is a picture of. A room that I had the privilege of visiting last year I was in South Africa preaching and I took a little bit of vacation time went down to Cape Town took the boat the ferry over to Robben Island in South Africa this is the room that Nelson Mandela was in prison Robben Island it's a small room and that red candy is where he used to take care of his physical needs the a talent of what those prisoners undertook and were dehumanised by the jailers I will not repeat here from the pulpit because it is not appropriate to do so back in 1900 when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and when he was elected as president the 1st black president of South Africa the world was bracing for a bloody civil war of revenge the people that had been discriminated against were calling for the head of the people that had pressed them everyone was thinking revenge and Nelson Mandela they say the greatest legacy that he has left us as a people is about forgiveness and reconciliation. On his inauguration day in 1904 he saved one of the best seats for his inaugurations for a very special guest it was his jailer on Robben Island Mandela had chosen. This is a quotation the 1st lesson is forgiveness you must not allow hate to fester in your brain you can never allow racism hatred and bitterness to rent space in your head. I think of Dr Kim a prominent educator in Korea he was the founder of the Korean Campus Crusade for Christ he tells a story of how he and his family were in a small village going through the events of the day when a guerrilla communist group came into the town and started ransacking and pillaging the people and he lost his father and his wife and barely escaped with his life with his daughter his only remaining family member in the state to the mountains he talks about how when he was in the mountains he remembered the words of Jesus how we are to forgive our enemies and he felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to return to the town where he had lost his wife and his father he sought out the house of the communist leader that directed the campaign of bloodshed he found him and he looked into the eyes of that cold blooded killer and said I have something I want to tell you I love you and I forgive you that communist Harden leader his heart was melted. Down and gave his heart to Jesus Christ other members of the communist group accepted Christ and Dr Kim. Started a church in that same town for. Condor. God created forgiveness to flow from God to. Those that hurt because they just might see. I think of Cory 10 Boom yet if you haven't had a chance to read this book courage to do so she was in Ravensbruck with her sister Betsy they were in there because they were hiding Jews and Betsy would always say please you've got to prove. God to forgive that's he lost her life and Corey said that the bitterness inside her heart was eating her very soul and she was converted as a result of this experience and Ravensbruck she went through Western Europe after the war preaching about forgiveness she found herself in Munich after church she had just preached a powerful message about how we need to prevent how God forgives us and she stood outside the church looking into the eyes of a former S.S. soldier that tormented her and Betsy in Ravensbruck and she said that as she looked into those eyes she felt that. The anger all of the things that she had experienced in revenues brought came back to our soil and she says in the book I did not feel a thing. And the man extended his hand and said this thank you for that message I'm so thankful that God forgives even me any extended out is and and Corey in your mind is battling with every nerve because she knows that Jesus asked us to forgive even our enemies and this is the prayer that she prayed Jesus I can not forgive him and give me your forgiveness. Jesus I cannot forgive him give me your forgiveness and she says that as she prayed that prayer that the miracle of grace happened and she recognized the vertical relationship of what God does for every human being forgiving everyone for giving everything no matter what we have dog and she says Based upon that promise she extended and put off her arm and class and of this person that had done the unthinkable to her and Betsy and she said the feelings followed her prayer. She later would write we never talk the ocean of Gong so much as when we love our enemies it is a joy to accept forgiveness but it is almost 8 greater joy. For years. She says in her prayer she says I cannot forgive. Me. Like to invite you to stand with me as we prepare to close study here today ever get out and eyes closed Jesus I cannot forgive give me your forgiveness. Want to make a very simple appeal here this morning maybe there is someone here that wants to pray this prayer with me pray this prayer of cord to Jesus I cannot forgive do for me a miracle that I'm incapable of doing for myself Jesus give me your forgiveness if that's your to sarge your today I want to fight you to come forward friends we can't do this by ourselves it is not natural to forgive. And yet God wants to give the miracle of grace to us not only to accept it but also to give it it's your desire to say Lord help me give me this gift of forgiveness I want to invite you to come forward at this time. She says promises to do for us that which isn't taught possible for us to do on our own. And we can pray this prayer Lord give me the gift of forgiveness make me a channel of your grace and mercy today help me not only to accept your forgiveness but to your forgiveness Jesus promises that he will work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure or someone else that wants as gone for this gift to. The gift of accepting that not only the gift of accepting the gift of free that the mercy of God's Love put flow through my are to others that Jesus would be seen. As someone here you've been hurt you've been are hurt very deeply you've been wounded by a brother or sister perhaps even in the church today Jesus say I want to give you the gift of forgiveness that you desire when I got you to come Scarlett's. Father in heaven. We thank you today most of all for cheese we thank you that you forgive us every time everything and everyone we thank you that you paid the price for our forgiveness a part of Calvary Street and today we come to you accepting your forgiveness and also asking that you would help us to forgive. We pray today that to forgive it would become to forgive her. And. By your grace. Christ in history to be seen in. Jesus name. This media was brought to you by audio 1st a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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