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Forgiveness

John Bradshaw

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God wants to forgive us, but He can't forgive someone who harbors resentment and unforgiveness. Join Pastor John Bradshaw as we discuss the topic of forgiveness and its power to mend and restore a broken heart.

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John Bradshaw

Speaker/Director for It Is Written

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  • February 7, 2019
    7:00 AM
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It's great to have this opportunity to join with you today let's pray together before we open the Bible Father in heaven as we come to you and you would send your spirit to guide us God our thinking take a will make a will you very. Pray that you touch hearts and minds and lives and bless us that you would will do what you want to do right now we thank you and we pray in Jesus' name amen between 194-8994 there existed one of the most controversial political practices in all of the 20th century to those born after that time or even those of us looking back all these years after it came to an end it can seem almost bizarre that the South African system of apartheid was practiced and accepted apartheid is a word that means separateness and the system was one of legal racial segregation spanning almost half a century apartheid classified South Africans and even visitors to that country into racial groups you were either black or white colored Indian or Asian $949.00 lol made it illegal for someone to marry someone of another race everyone over the age of 18 was forced to carry an identity card specifying their racial group it was illegal for people of different races to use the same public amenities such as restaurants public swimming pools and restrooms blacks were relocated to live in Black homelands as they were cold and in 1980 blacks were no longer classified as citizens of South Africa instead they were citizens of one of the 10 self-governing territories. Course the system bred massive discontent enormous protests international condemnation many many people died and were brutally cruelly and unjustly treated under apartheid now you might expect that when blacks in South Africa assumed power their prime concern would be revenge many people feel mass bloodshed vendettas rioting but what actually happened was something really rather incredible although it was imperfect and although some people would strongly disagree with it something called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up with victims and perpetrators of violence and justice alike testify the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was Archbishop Desmond Tutu like the country's new president Nelson Mandela he was committed to seeing South Africa move forward and not descend into chaos now after serving in that capacity he recognized that there was one key component that would ensure the nation would have a future he said there can be no future without forgiveness the Bible agrees with these words in Matthew chapter 6 right off to Jesus gave His disciples the Lord's prayer he said this Matthew 614 for if you forgive me and they trace passes your heavenly Father will also forgive you but if you forgive not man they trace boxes neither will your father forgive your tryst boxes now that's a whale of a statement. If you don't forgive others God won't forgive you not if you don't obey me God won't forgive you not if you don't serve others God won't forgive you not if you don't become to others God won't forgive you but simply if you don't forgive others God won't forgive you and that's a statement that many people struggle with because while you're sitting there wondering Does God really want me to forgive a certain individual for that the answer that comes back to us from Bible is yes even that. In Jesus' day it was evidently spiritually fashionable for people to be outwardly religious but full of garbage inwardly those pitiful Jewish leaders who didn't want to disaggregate the possible while they were in the throes of murdering the Son of God James and John were laboring with Jesus and planning on calling fire down from heaven and incinerating some people who were uncooperative leaders in the church who were careful to foster and fulfill certain religious requirements but they're planning to kill Lazarus So when Peter came to Jesus one day with a question he had to felt pretty righteous he said in Matthew 18 verse 21 Lord how often show my brother sin against me and I forgive him till 7 times Jesus saith unto him I say not under the until 7 times but until 70 times 7. Jesus taught that it is the duty of the Christian to forgive Yea verily the privilege of the Christian to forgive and he taught that forgiveness is a prerequisite for entering heaven so let me make this very clear if you are an unforgiving person or if you hold out a grudge is and slights and hurts and crimes that you're flat out refusing to forgive Don't waste your energy hoping to go to heaven you're not going to go heaven is not for those who refuse to forgive the one who had the greatest reason not to forgive was Jesus here he was dying for the sins of others not his own sins but your sins and mine and as people were driving nails into his hands and into his feet Jesus prayed to his father and he said Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing and that's interesting because they knew exactly what they were doing crucifixion was calculated to inflict maximum pain and damage the greatest amount of suffering what they did was intentional yet Jesus cried out to his father and requested that he gave his tormentors and here's what I know sometimes it can seem impossible to forgive someone right now is saying I know I have to forgive I know what the Bible says but how do I do it and that's a good question how do you forgive someone who ruined your marriage someone who was unfaithful to you how do you think of someone who ruined you financially how do you forgive someone who slandered you deliberately who spread lies about you who was responsible for you losing a job how do you think if someone who abused you all killed a member of your family how do you forgive a parent who ruined your life how can a German Jew forgive his or her Nazi kept as an African-American forgive a racist system or a South African apartheid. These things seem impossible but Jesus doesn't ask you to do the impossible that is he doesn't ask you to do anything that His Grace cannot enable you to do what do we read in Philippians 4 in verse 13 I can do how many things I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me through Jesus even forgiveness of the most all full thing can become possible if all those 31 says a little bit in this and wrath and anger and climb and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice be one to another 10 dotted for giving one another even as God for Christ's sake at forgiven you let's take a moment to consider what forgiveness isn't full given this isn't forgiven for get forgiveness isn't saying something is OK when it isn't OK forgiveness isn't forgiving and making up not always forgiving does not necessarily say it somebody else free you can't really forget what someone did to you let's recap these someone stands on your toe above see one line OK you're not going to think twice about that but someone abuses you. Would probably be unhealthy to forget that. Forgiving someone for what they did to you does not make what they did rights if someone has wronged you what they did was wrong forgiving that person is not the same as telling that person that what they did was acceptable you don't necessarily have to make up with the person that you choose to forgive in some cases where an individual is wrong it may be best to never see that person again maybe it might be best not to invite that person to Thanksgiving dinner but you can forgive and you can forgive meaningfully and forgiveness doesn't remove consequences you know that's true with God you do methamphetamines and repent or smoke and repent or practice and immoral lifestyle repent Oh certainly God will forgive you but you're still going to end up with perhaps a damaged brain damaged lungs or some terrible disease of some kind even when you forgive someone there are often consequences you shoot someone and you might be forgiven by that person but you're still going to go to jail what forgiveness does is it frees you from being a slave to the hood full things of the POS It liberates you from the pain of your yesterdays it frees you to live an emotionally healthy future someone once said to forgive is to set a prison of free and discover that the prisoner was you forgiveness is the skill of letting go and as long as you hold on to resentment you know what you do you hold on to the person who harmed you and you let that person control you be in control of your life and it will keep you stuck in a bad doc place there are people who still feel angry about something that happened 10 years ago 20 years ago 30 or more years ago stuck. Paralyzed people won't forgive the church for something that happened when they were a child won't forgive the church school for something that happened 30 go 40 or 50 years ago the teachers are all dead but your anger is still alive and well forgiveness doesn't change the past but I'll tell you what it does change the future the Winton 999 issue of Spirituality and Health magazine had on its cover a picture account to not think it was of 3 U.S. servicemen all former P.O.W. standing in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial one of them to. Have you forgiven your Kept is no he's told never forgive them as long as I live for what they've done to me. Back and he says Well then I guess they still have you in prison they keep a couple of things in mind unforgiveness who gets you more than anyone while you're stealing other something with someone that person is going right on with his or her life and your unforgiveness and bitterness and malice doesn't hurt them one little bit you think you're hurting someone else when you refuse to talk to someone you're only hurting yourself feeling hatred toward a parent a parent who may even be dead it's certainly not hurting the parent but it's definitely hurting you I could tell you about 2 brothers their father was a good man but he had been hard to live with one brother full gave his father the father's difficult behavior and he went right on life was OK The other brother held a grudge and was bitter end of the thicket his entire life forgiveness helps you much more than the person you're forgetting don't forgive and you give that person control over your life you can't take a poison pill and hope the other person dies. I mean the holding some of Angelus to meetings in Tennessee many years ago there was a young man who was wanting to be baptized we met together and then he said to me pasta I can't be baptized Oh really I said why is that he said because I hate my brother I said well that's not a good thing tell me more he said yes he did some things to me that I just cannot forgive when I say Oh it's been years and I feel hatred towards him so I really shouldn't be better. And I said well you're probably right you can say you've given your heart to Jesus if your heart is full of hatred towards somebody so why don't you just forget the guy I can't why not because what he did was just too bad you can forgive somebody for something bad well maybe he said he said but then things between us will never be the same again I said Well that may be true but whoever said they have to be the same again well he said to me if I forgive him things should be the same again I should know they shouldn't not necessarily I don't know what happened but it depends if you forgive them things may never be the same again maybe they shouldn't be the same again depending on what took place even though things won't be the same again you can choose to forgive you can choose not to hold a grudge you can choose not to feel malice and bitterness choose to forgive choose not to hate choose not to be bitter choose to let it go and he said I can do that I can choose not to hate him I can choose to shift my feelings when malice and bit in this takes of I can choose to forgive and he did and he was baptized. And the weight of the wood was lifted off his shoulders Dr Martin Luther King Jr said we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive he who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love this truth in those words now of course there are people who will go to say but what happened to me wasn't fair and it wasn't my fault you know the problem the problem is the life isn't fair bad things are going to happen and they'll happen to you that's just the way it is somebody is going to do you wrong somebody is going to say something bad about you some way you're going to be treated terribly So if you choose to have a hatred and ill feeling about the person you the most in the long run and that malice you feel that hatred that unforgiveness it is evidence that you're not surrendering to Jesus keep this in mind I'm not suggesting not even intimating that forgiving takes away pain your child dies in an accident that's clearly someone else's fault you can forgive that Figgy of us won't take away the pain of having lost a loved one but saying what he did or what she did was bad and that's that might be true but it isn't going to help you. Let's walk through this together you can practice this I want you today to get about the business of forgiving someone so let's say something happened whatever it was it happened he said she said he did she did whatever it was it happened and it hood so keep something in mind your memory of that event is most likely skewed in some way of course that will differ with what happened when it's a he said she said You tend to remember things in a way that suits you you forget that you were being hard to get along with you forget some of the details you'll forget that before your child got hurt Mr Smith had all the children to climb that high stone wall. You have you will view of the dates and you will view of events is most likely not 100 percent accurate I got together with some of my old high school friends some years ago we started telling stories about our glory days you know I was shocked at what some of my friends were convinced was true when I'm convinced it absolutely wasn't they would say Oh you did this no i didn't yes you did I did this no you didn't somebody else did it I couldn't of course they were wrong and I was right that that's how it was that so I'd like to think it was but if they were right only how off the time then my memory is really. About say really bad but I think what my memory tends to be is self-serving or maybe simply unreliable L. memories are interesting things when I was growing up out back at home you know my dad's place had this enormous hill it sloped down woods to our back fence to ride a bicycle going down that hill was my brother was modified to put me on this little bike and sit me going down the hill with the new man it was sink or swim and I'd make a Delta All right get to the bottom and I sank I didn't swim that happened several times in the new limits in your best interests to ride that bike so it's a great big hill down but I mean it was it was straight down like a cliff except now whenever I go back common I look at the old bag. I said to myself man that's been really even a slope it's hardly even a hill there's nothing to it but what I remember all those years what I was remembering was something like the north face of Mt Everest I may exaggerate slightly but you get my point. When we think of our own that it could to us we always remember events from our own point of view always with some kind of bias Very often people react with a stronger emotional reaction to an event than the event actually warrants that is your anger is frequently disproportionate to what happened what you want to do and forgiveness is not forget what happened but remember it in a different way and is it true that negative statements impact us more than positive statements scientists tell us that we experience negative emotions $4.00 to $10.00 times more intensely than positive ones look at this way you do special music at church after church 17 people say wow thanks I was blessed and one person says I counted 3 times that you were off key and all afternoon which comedy you go to remember and it will eat you up and that's what you think about when you go to bed that night and you might start think about how you can get back at that lady who said that unkind thing to you and she should have done any such thing I would encourage you to try to be as accurate as possible in your view of what happened remember God says you must forgive give yourself the best chance of doing that if you fall in that with a friend this becomes important if a drunk driver hit your brother. You'll go about this differently. Think of something you'll have trouble forgiving think about that now evaluate what happened really carefully as a good idea to do what Dick Tibbets who was with Florida hospital when I interviewed him on it is written program calls re framing duct it to bits wrote a very good book on forgiveness called Full give to live and frankly a lot of what I'm sharing with you right now I gleaned and learned from in his book forgive to live Dr Dick to bits doesn't mean that when you think about things differently you change what happened but you move the frame that you have around your memory so that your little details you got to try to see this thing less like you do and more like Christ does for instance you say my father was harsh and mean and controlling you know that may be true but if you're ever going to get past that you need to add a few more things into that whole picture how about recognizing that your father or your mother whoever it was was a product of his or her environment you can say what my dad did was wrong but when I remember that he too was wrong when he was younger when I remember the his parents were impossibly hard on him but I remember that his generation was very different to my world I'm not going to be so hard on him as I remember people who've been abused perhaps might remember that abuses frequently have themselves been abused Now that doesn't give an excuse for abuse in any white Don't misunderstand me I'm not making wrongs right but you remember that what they've done has nothing to do with their power it has something to do with a witness you just reframe the picture the more you can reframe it the more you can take on the eyes and ears of Jesus who said Father forgive them for they do not know what they do Gandhi said the weak can never forgive forgiveness is the of the strong he said if we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth soon the whole world will be blind and toothless. Your friend says something hurtful about you to someone else you can't understand it. You could say that's that no longer my friend that good I'm bitter and I would never ever get over what was said or you could look at it differently she's being my friend for years she's always treated me well is it possible I had upset her or she was just having a bad day or maybe there's some background here that I don't understand OK What she did was wrong but there's no need for me to stay stuck in that place and besides you might say I've done plenty of things wrong that others have forgiven so perhaps I can be forgiving I choose to forgive I choose to us God to work in my life so that I'm not bitter or angry people do this all this on you get a snappy woman Sylvia at the checkout and you say probably having a bad day you're not making that person's rudeness acceptable you just reframed it it wasn't a personal attack on me and so I'm not going to take it as one it also helps when you try to see the person who hurt you as a person and not as a demon. He most likely was not trying to ruin your life that person most likely didn't set out that day to slander you that person was most likely dealing with pressures and struggles that person may have been having a bad day or maybe none of the influence of something or may have been raised a certain way so that he or she sees things differently when you try to get inside somebody else's hid it helps you develop an attitude of forgiveness when you forgive you remember in a different way and yes you may have to forgive often. Don't think I'm trying to minimize the reality of the pain that you might feel of a something that's happened to you betrayal unfaithfulness theft slander you may have to go through this forgiveness process multiple times and that's OK it's often the way it would pain really Hood's pain that's been inflicted on you really hurts deeply may take some time for you to work this through and then there's something else for you to consider when you're thinking should I forgive should I already God has told you that you should so that ought to settle it something else forgiveness is actually medically good for you I wonder if you've ever done something that terrified you wrote a rollercoaster junk from a high diving board as a kid I swam in the river a lot and down at the river the boys used to jump off the train bridge sometimes the cob ridge not me or I swam they were high treason one of those trees had a place to jump from up there but you know I never jumped I dived from a lower tree but never jumped from the high one. People tried to convince me to jump never did never jump from the train bridge I'd stand there wanting to jump but my knees would buckle and my heart would race and my stomach would feel. Sort of hard to describe really I hadn't done anything but standing there thinking about something that actually couldn't hurt me just told me up. You've been in the situation we get sweaty palms and all that your thoughts your emotions they react upon you physically writing in The New England Journal of Medicine one researcher suggested that not forgiving can have more to do with an unhealthy heart than high cholesterol I'm going to say that again in case you missed it not full giving can have more to do with an unhealthy hot than high cholesterol that's amazing what has been proven is that choosing to forgive is blood pressure quite dramatically one person in Dr dictabelt study had their blood pressure drop from 154 of a 102 from 154 over 102-2120 over 80 in just 8 weeks the own only change forgiveness a person who is most prone to anger is 3 times more likely to have a heart attack than someone who is least prone to anger. The truth is anger kills it's the choices you make that affect your life the most not what others have done to you at it's core forgiveness is a choice because you have to decide when is the right time to forgive and there are probably ways that you can be unhealthy about forgiveness but with God's help aiding your choices you can forgive and be healthy physically and most importantly spiritually as a child growing up in the Roman Catholic Church I could never escape one line from a hymn that we would occasionally sing I have 4 brothers and money this brother and I very often got along. Like 2 brothers might sometimes do but this line from the him would never let me go it said how can we love God above and not our brother that spoke to me the Bible is all about forgiveness a rebel Rice forgiven by a loving God Calvary demonstrates God's incredible capacity to forgive the sanctuary service salvation and forgiveness forgiveness will help you deal with the anger and hurt from a pasta with the purpose of getting back to peace and getting yourself new hope and new purpose. To stories with you about forgiveness the 1st one deals with soon Norton who lives who lived in Arkansas City Kansas she received terrible news during a phone call from a brother in January of 1900 that much beloved daddy Richard Danny and his wife the genea were found murdered in the. Souse dead he was shot to death in this isolated Oklahoma farmhouse the mother as well the crime netted the killer. $17.00 and an old virtually worthless truck. Sue says she felt numb she couldn't understand why someone would want to hurt people who were old and poor the loss of a father just broken. She sat through the trial of the accused killer well of the killer she was confused about how she should feel she told me that everyone in the courtroom was consumed with hate they all expected her to feel the same way but she couldn't have it the way they did because she said it didn't feel good the last night of the trial she knew they had to be another way she couldn't eat or sleep that night and she prayed to God to help her and when morning came she had the store sue you don't have to hate the man you could forgive him and so the next day while the jury was out for deliberation Sue got permission to visit the man through the bars of his holding cell she said I was really frightened this was my 1st experience in a jail the man was big and tall he was shackled and he had cold steely our eyes at 1st this killer refused to look at she asked him to turn around and he answered Why would anyone want to talk to me after what I've done see replied I don't know what to say to you but I want you to know that I don't hate you my grandmother always told me not to use the word hate She taught me that way to love one another if you're guilty I forgive you the man thought she was just playing games he couldn't understand how she could forgive him for such a terrible crime Sue said I didn't think of him as a killer I thought of him as a human being people thought she lost her mind frames would step to the other side of the road to avoid her but she said there's no way to heal and get over the trauma without forgiveness she said You must forgive and forget and get on with your life that's what Jesus would do that man spent a lot of time on death row in Oklahoma. Sue would write to him and she does it occasionally she believes he should never be let out of prison she didn't want that to happen but she didn't want to makes a cute she became friends with the man who killed appearance because of her love and friendship the man became a devout Christian she says some good did come out of a father's death she said I've been able to witness to many people about Jesus and forgiveness and I've helped others to heal I brought this man and many others on death row to our Lord Jesus Christ she said I live in peace with my Lord and that with it are many other stories to tell just quickly you know I'm not going to mention the island nation you might have heard the story and if you have you'll figure out where it was a pastor and his wife and their 2 children are at home one night minding their business it may have been that they'd gone to be in a man who'd been casing out they broke into the home under the influence of drugs murdered the man and his wife and one of the children one child the daughter miraculously survived so what would you do if you would the missionary pastas parents living on the other side of the world a mother had lost a son and one of the 2 grandchildren in that family and a daughter in law how would she respond she responded by traveling to the island nation where the murder took place she responded by finding the Maga of the man who killed her family she embraced she said no ill will you've lost a son as well her son was locked up in prison. She made it known chief certainly held no ill will against the murderer's mother and she for gave the murderer himself a pass began making visits to that prison and as he did his prison ministry he met that man who killed the man who did his job a few years before that man approached the pastor and said I want to talk he was assured by the new pastor that God forgave him he gave his heart to Jesus His life was changed and he became a disciple of the Living Christ a follower of Jesus I mean you'd hardly believe it and it wouldn't have been possible without the power of forgiveness to be a remarkable reunion in heaven one day with that man. The family he so badly wrong being believers in Jesus I expect that they will say we're just glad you're here is this somebody that God is calling you to forgive is God calling you to be a bridge builder rather than a offense builder God wants to take away the pain from your high remember Peter how many times do I need to forgive 7 times Jesus said on and what he said 70 times 7 he wasn't simply saying 490 is the limit he was saying forgive and go on forgiving forgive and continue to forgive God wants to forgive us but he can't forgive somebody who harbors resentment and forgiveness if you don't forgive others neither will you have any father forgive you that's what Jesus in the world would be a better place the church would be a better place your family would be a better place your heart would be a better place if you chose to forgive if it seems as though it's too much for you it is. But it's not too much for Jesus who will work in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure should we tell God Today we need him to work that miracle to bring forgiveness into our lives to allow us to be gracious towards others and Haba no hatred should we ask God to take away our burden of unforgiveness to lighten our love. To make us believe is not only in wood but indeed in practice. We should ask God to do that or the miracle it would be if we could figure truly deeply wholeheartedly Let's pray for that miracle now let's pray let's Ballyards and pray a Father in heaven we want the miracle of forgiveness to be worked out in our lives. Somebody right now struggling with one forgiveness and then oh it's eating them up hurting them killing the damaging the him while not even. Affecting the other person. Have an experience with Jesus that's real. Take away our heart of stone give us a heart of flee. Take away HATE put their love unstated take away on forgiveness replace it with forgiveness no malice only kindness. And if it's difficult Lord then we thank you that you will do it if we need to go through the process of manifesting forgiveness to another many many times then we'll do it for we want your will to be done don't let us be petty their lives be hateful instead GRO us that we can be more like you we thank you for the gift of forgiveness we accept your forgiveness for our sins and we pray you give us grace to manifest forgiveness to others and we pray in Jesus' name. Amen and Amen and God bless you today. The or are.

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