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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

President of It Is Written

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  • August 25, 2020
    7:45 AM
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Thanks for joining me let's pray to geta and for God's blessing Father in heaven we come to you in the name of Jesus we are thankful for your presence with us we ask that you would speak to us through you would embrace us guide us in the would we ask in Jesus name I mean between 948 and 994 there existed one of the most controversial political practices in all of the 20th century to those born after that time or even to those of us looking back all these years later it can seem almost bizarre. That the South African system of apartheid was ever practiced and accepted apartheid is a word that means separateness the system of apartheid was one of legal. Segregation It lasted almost half a century apartheid classified South Africans and even visit is to South Africa into racial groups black white college and Indian or Asian a law passed in 1949 made it illegal for people to marry someone of another race everyone over the age of 18 was forced to carry an identity caught specifying their racial group. It was illegal for people of different races to use the same public amenities such is restaurants public swimming pools restrooms blacks were relocated to live in Black homelands and in 1970 black South Africans were no longer considered citizens of South Africa but instead it was citizens of one of 10 self-governing territories of course the system bred massive discontent enormous protests and drew international condemnation many many people died many were brutally cruelly unjustly treated under apartheid I might say you just couldn't imagine but sadly here in this country we can imagine it only too vividly but when f.w. de Klerk was elected president of South Africa 990 he moved swiftly to end apartheid now he controversially received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 along with Nelson Mandela by the time elections were held in 1904 apartheid of being dismantled and the nation of South Africa was being governed by a black majority now you might expect that when blacks in South Africa assumed power that their prime concern would be revealed in which many people expected mass bloodshed vendettas rioting but what happened was something really rather incredible though it was imperfect and though some people would strongly disagree with it a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up with victims and perpetrators of violence and injustice could 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 enough to sitting in that capacity he recognized the one key component that would give really give the nation surely should I say that would surely give the nation a future he said big can be no future. Without forgiveness the Bible agrees with these words in Matthew chapter 6 right up to Jesus gave His disciples the Lord's Prayer and he said this is Matthew 6 in those 14 he said for if you forgive me and they trace process and he read that again for if you forgive then betrays processes your heavenly Father will also forgive you but if you forgive not main They trace boxes and neither will your father forgive your tryst process now that's a whale of a statement Jesus said plainly and then big you Asli if you don't forgive others Gawd won't forgive you now he didn't say if you done a by me God won't forgive even so if you don't serve others God won't forgive you he said if you don't forgive others God will not 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 the would have gone is yes even that in Jesus' day it was evidently spiritually fashionable for people to be religious outwardly but inwardly full of guy. Those pitiful Jewish leaders who didn't want to desecrate the possible while they were in the throes of murdering the Son of God Think of them James and John who were laboring with Jesus and planning on calling fire down from heaven and in sin or writing some people who they felt were uncooperative leaders in the church who were careful to foster and fulfill certain religious requirements but they were planning to kill us so when Peter came to Jesus one day to ask a question he had to felt pretty righteous he said in Matthew Chapter 18 in verse 21 Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him to 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 and I would add the privilege of the Christian to forgive and he taught that forgiveness is a prerequisite for entering into heaven now let me make this very clear if you are an unforgiving person or if you are holding on to grudges and slights and hoods and crimes that you are flat out refusing to fit don't waste your energy hoping to go to heaven Heaven is not for those who refuse to forgive the one who had the greatest reason not to forgive was Jesus there he was dying for. The sins of others not his own sins but you also ins and my sins and as people were driving nails into his hands and into his feet Jesus prayed to his father and said Father forgive them for they know not what that they do and actually 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 his father forgive his told Mantas while they knew what they were doing physically they did not get it spiritually Now here's what I know sometimes it can seem impossible to forgive someone right now is saying I know that 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 or someone who ruined your childhood how do you forgive 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 forgive someone who abused you or who killed you a family member how do you forgive a parent who ruined your life how can a German Jew forgive his or her Nazi captus How does an African-American forgive a racist system or a South African a black South African forgive 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 can not enable you to do what to be read in Philippians 4 in verse 13 we read I can do all things through Christ. Who strengthens me through Jesus even forgiveness for the most awful things can become a real in your life if for 31 says lay it all bitterness and wrath and anger and Clara and evil speaking be put away from you with all. Be kind one to another 10 dotted forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you while it's let's 1st consider what forgiveness isn't shall we do that everyone has forgiveness issues is a very one a lot of people would be able to let those forgiveness issues go if they knew what forgiveness is not forgiveness isn't forgive and forget it isn't saying something is Ok when that something is not of k. forgiveness isn't necessarily forgiving and making up and pretending like nothing ever happened and forgiveness is not necessarily setting others free Well let's talk about that forgive and forget great slogan but you can't really forget what somebody did to you someone stands on your toe Obama see one line of Ok you're not going to think twice about that but someone abuses you know you don't forget that you shouldn't forget that some things it would be unhealthy to forget forgiving someone for what they did does not make what they did right. 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 2 very different things. A No you don't necessarily have to make up with the person who you choose to forgive in some cases or an individual is wronged who knows it may be best to never see that person again it might be best not to invite that person to Thanksgiving dinner but you can still forgive and you must and you can still 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 an immoral lifestyle and repent God will forgive you but you're still likely going to end up with a damaged brain or damaged lungs or a disease of some kind and a loss of dignity even when you forgive someone there are often consequences you shoot someone you might be forgiven but you're still going to go to jail no question what full given this does is it frees you from being a slave to the good things of the pasta forgiveness liberates you from the pain of your yesterday and threes you to live and emotionally healthy future someone to forgive is to sit a prison a free and then discover that the prison was you forgiveness is the still of the letting go as long as you hold on to resentment you hold on to the person who harmed you and why would you do that. There was a kid in the 3rd grade who was all full to you and you've been carrying that kid with you everywhere you go ever since you might have done it for decades and you let that person control you be in control of your life you're at the beach it comes back to you you're out shopping the image comes if you don't mind and you see the kid hadn't thought about you in forever and you can't go a week without feeling tight in your chest because of some kid who's been meddling with your life since you were 8 years old and it will keep you stuck in a bad place there are people who still feel angry about things that happened 1020 even 30 or more years ago they are stuck pair o. a lie. 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 decades ago 345 decades ago teaches are all dead in your anger is alive and well no forgiveness doesn't change the past but it does transform the future the one to 999 issue of a magazine called Spirituality and Health had on its cover a picture kind of a cock tonight is a picture of 3 u.s. servicemen all former p.o.w. that were depicted as standing in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial one of them tunes to the other and asks Have you forgiven your captives the reply comes back no. Never forgive them as long as I live for what they've done to me the 1st man turns back and says then I guess they still have you in prison don't they keep a couple of things in mind unforgiveness who gets you more than anyone. Well you're skewing of a something or someone that person's getting a ride on with their lives and your unforgiveness and bitterness and malice doesn't hurt them one little bit you think you 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 certainly isn't hurting the parent but it's definitely hurting you I could tell you about 2 brothers their father was a good man as good men are measured but he had been at times hard to live with one brother forgave his father for the father's difficult behavior went right on with his life the other brother held a grudge and was bitter and it affected his whole life from then on forgiveness helps you much more than it helps the person you are forgiving this is why Jesus urged us to give don't forgive and you give that person control of your life it doesn't make any sense to take a poison pill and hope that someone else dies I remember doing some meetings years ago and there was a young man who was wanting to baptized we met together we talked it through I was so happy for him and he was too but then he said to me. I can't be baptized I wondered why he said because I hate my brother really I said yes he said he did some things to me that I just cannot forgive Oh when I asked Oh he told me it has been years and years and I feel hatred towards him I really shouldn't be better ties. I see you're probably right you can say you've given your heart to Jesus if your heart is still full of hatred toward somebody I said what it used to give the guy he thought about that and he said I cannot why because what he did was just too bad I said to him. You can forgive something bad well he said maybe but things between us can never be the same again where I said that may be true but who said they have to be the same again he said to me if I forgiven things should be the same again no they should not I told him if you forgive and things may never be the same again maybe they shouldn't be I don't know but even though things won't be the same again you can choose to forgive you can choose not to hold a grudge choose not to feel now less and bitterness choose to forgive choose not to hate choose not to be but to choose to let all that go and he could do that and he did and he was baptized and the white of the wound was lifted off his shoulders. Dr Martin Luther King Jr said we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive he or she who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of Dr King said of the Power of Now of course there are people who will go to say but what happened wasn't fair and it wasn't my fault the problem is for end life isn't fair bad things are going to happen that is just the way it is someone is going to do you wrong someone is going to say something bad about you someone will victimize you along the way some way you're going to be treated badly so what if you choose to have a trained and ill feeling about the person you hurt the most in the long run and that malice you feel. That hatred you experience and you take it on board that on forgiveness it becomes evident that you are not surrendering to Jesus keep this in mind I'm not saying that forgiveness takes away the pain your child dies in an accident that is somebody else's fault you can forgive but that forgiveness won't take away the pain of having lost a loved one but saying what he or she did was bad and that that might be true that she's not going to help you so let's walk through this is me you can practice this I want you to do I did get about the business of forgiving someone 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 good so keep something in mind your memory of that event is almost certainly student 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 that's just the human tendency you forget that perhaps you are being hard to get along with you forget some of the details you forget that before your child Godhood Mr Smith had asked all of the children not to climb on his high stone wall you have your view of events and your view of events is most likely not 100 percent accurate. I remember getting together with some of my high school mates years ago we started telling stories about our glory days and I was shocked at what some of my friends were convinced was absolutely true when it absolutely wasn't album Memories are interesting things they memorize things one way or remember that one way I recall things Another Now you might say maybe there recollection was right and John your recollection was wrong well either way hey you got different people remembering the same event in different ways but I could tell you they said Oh we remember when you did this I never did that we remember when you went there I never been there in my life. Memories are interesting things now back yard where I grew up had this enormous hill that sloped down this away towards the back fence I learned to ride my bike down that hill took my life in my own heads down the hill my brother in law balanced me push me down the hill it was it was sink or swim and down that steep hill a few years ago I took a look at that hill you know what how ugly even a slope Bayley a hill it all is nothing to it but Obama I remembered all those years was something like the north face of Mt Everest when we think of wrongs that it could to us we remember advance from our own point of view always with some kind of bias Very often people react with a stronger in motion all reaction to an event than that event actually warrants I say that this way your anger is very often disproportionate to what really occurred when you wanted to and to give this is not to forget what happened. But to remember it in a different way isn't that true negative statements impact us more than positive statements scientists tell us that we experience negative emotions 4 to 10 times more intensely than positive ones think about a like this you know a special music presentation you sing at church to church 17 people say well thank you I was blessed I meant praise the Lord it was nice and then one person says that was good but I counted 6 times where you're off key all I often noone What are you going to remember it's that that you remember it will eat you up that's what you think about when you go to bed that night and you might start thinking about how you can get back at that person who said that unkind thing to you on courage you try to be as accurate as possible in your view of what happened if you fall in out with a friend this becomes important if a drunk driver hits your brother all admit that you think about this a little differently think of something you're having trouble forgiving no you got something evaluate what happened really carefully and then it's a good idea to do what Doc did did to put Scholes re framing Dr Tibbets wrote a very good book on forgiveness called Full give to live a few years ago we did 2 interview programs about forgiveness strong stuff based on his book and his vast good excellent experience now this doesn't mean that you change what happened in reframing but you move the frame that you have around your memories so that you let in more detail. You gotta try to see this thing less like you do and more like Jesus dies for instance you say my father was harsh and mean and controlling you know that may be true let's say it's absolutely true but if you're ever going to get pasta that you need to add a few more things into that whole picture how about How about recognizing that your dad or your mother was a product of his or her environment you can say what my dad did was wrong but what I remember that he too was wrong when he was younger when I remember that his parents were impossibly hard on him when I remember that his generation was very different to mine then I'm not going to be so hard on him as I remember people have been abused and might consider remembering that abuses have themselves often being abused listen that doesn't give an excuse for abuse in any way but you remember that what that person has done has nothing to do with they have power. As everything to do with a weakness when you do that you just made it easier to process what happened you've read friend of the picture it makes forgiveness more accessible it makes it more likely to carry out in your life the more you can reframe something the more you can take on the eyes and ears of Christ who said Father forgive them for they know not what they do the more healthy your going to be able to be Gandhi said the weak can never forgive forgiveness is the attribute 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 understand it you hurt you could say that it no longer my friend that hood and I'll never ever get over what was said. Or you could look at it differently this is being my friend for years she she has always treated me well it's possible I had upset or maybe she was just having a bad day or maybe there's some background here that I don't understand or maybe what he did was wrong but there's no need for me to stay stuck there and besides I've done plenty of things wrong that others have forgiven so perhaps I can choose to be forgiving I choose to forgive and not feel bitter or angry today it's popular for people to crucify others for the things they've done think about think about how people go after other people online somebody write something tweet something posted on Facebook and that's it there's war lives have been ruined because jokes have been misinterpreted or because someone posted something without thinking or they did it in frustration but of course the statement lives online and we don't want to give people because they were tired and hungry when they pressed send in frustration and anger. You know what I'm talking about here people do it all the time you get a snappy woman serving you at the checkout you say probably having a bad day you're not making that person's rudeness acceptable but you've read framed it it wasn't a personal attack on me so I'm not going to take it as one some of us who are thin skinned have a hard time with this might be time for some of us to develop they can skin it also helps when you try to see the person who hurt you as a person not as a demon he or she most likely wasn't trying to ruin your life most likely didn't set out that day to slander you that person was more than likely dealing with pressures and struggles that person may be in having a bad day maybe under the influence of something. Well maybe in a raised a certain way so that he or she sees things differently when you try to get inside someone else's hid it helps you to develop an attitude of forgiveness when you forgive you remember in a different way and yes it's not easy always you may have to forgive often don't think I'm trying to minimize the reality of the pain that you might feel over something that's happened to you betrayal unfaithfulness 50 slander you have to go through this process multiple times and that's Ok that's often the way it would and it's important Remember what Jesus said If you don't forgive people betrays pastas neither will your father forgive your trace process and there's something else to consider and that's this forgiveness is actually made a cli good for you think about this have you been terrified maybe it did something that frightened you you wrote a rollercoaster you jumped off a high diving board as a kid I swam in the river a lot and down to the river the boys used to jump off the train bridge sometimes even the coverage which was higher where I would swim all the time with my friends they were high trees you jump out of well some people would jump from the heights one of them I remember had a real high place to jump from but you know I never jumped never I would leap from the tree down low never from way up high never jump from the train bridge I'd stand up there wanting to jump wanting to be like the others wanting to do what they were doing sure looked like I was going to say look like fun frankly look dangerous but it was fun for them standing or wanting to jump my knees would buckle and my heart would race and my stomach would feel sort of hard to describe I hadn't actually done anything. But standing there thinking about something that actually couldn't hurt me anyway just told me up you most likely being upset and you being in a situation we get sweaty palms and all that your thoughts your emotions react upon you in a physical way writing in The New England Journal of Medicine one research has suggested that not forgiving listen not forgiving can have more to do with an unhealthy hot than high cholesterol what's being proven is that choosing to forgive low is blood pressure quite dramatically one person and doctor Tibbets study had their blood pressure drop from 154 of 810-2120 over 80 in just 8 weeks 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. Can kill you it kills it's the choices you make that affect your life the most not the choices this make it's the choices you make that affect your life the most not what others have done to you at its core forgiveness is a choice of course you have to decide when is the right time to the given there are probably ways that you can be unhealthy about all this 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 should. I could never escape one line from a hymn that we would occasionally sing to have 4 brothers 2 older sisters 2 but there are angels 4 brothers. My next oldest brother and I very often got along or didn't get along like 2 brothers might sometimes do but this line from the him would never let me get it said how can we love God above and not Al brother the Bible is all about forgiveness a rebel race 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 the pasta with the purpose of getting back you'll peace and giving yourself a new hope and purpose I want to tell you about soon Norton soon Norton's parents were mooted in January 1999 I think it was in the 990 s. in their isolated farmhouse in Oklahoma her father had offered his killer a help given the man directions but it's what was taken that was so tragic the crime netted the murderer the grand sum of around $60.00 depending on which report you read and an old truck Oh and a death sentence sues set through the trial of the killer the man who killed her parents and she was confused about the way she should feel while people all around to work and can consumed with hate she found that she couldn't feel hatred toward them then the last night of the trial she prayed and in the morning felt that she didn't have to hate the man who had killed her parents instead she thought. She could forgive him the next day the story is reported while the jury was deliberating Sue got permission to visit the man who was in a holding cell she said she was frightened to begin with when she approached the cell the man refused to look at it she said I don't know what to say to you but I do know that I don't hate you my grandmother always taught me not to use the word hate She taught me that we here to love one another if you are guilty I forgive you now the man thought she was messing with him he couldn't understand how she could possibly forgive him for such a terrible crime but soon old and said I didn't think of him as a killa I thought of him as a human being people thought she'd lost a mine Frayn's would actually step to the Alba 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 we talked about that that's what she said You must forgive and get on with your life that's what Jesus would do up until the man that up until the time the man was executed soon wrote to him and visited him occasionally she became friends with him you know what because of her love and friendship the military became a committed Christian do you think it went better with her because she chose to forgive how to be with you and you choose to forgive him might be someone right now that you need to forgive and keep this in mind when you needed forgiveness God was willing to forgive you for a crime that you did commit to the extent that Jesus was willing to lay down his life and dies so that you might live. Forgiveness How's it looking in your life why did Jesus say if we're not willing to forgive others then God is not going to forgive us now God doesn't forgive because we forgive he forgives as we forgive but you could guard the opportunity to remake you grow you even a little more unforgiveness it's too late in the history of the world for that we are getting closer and closer every day to the return of Jesus and on that day there will be a people on the earth who reflect the character of Jesus to the world and that's not a character of unforgiveness but of forgiveness this is where the rubber of Christianity meets the road this is the nuts and bolts of faith why don't we ask God together to cleanse us and place within us the Divonne Lee born capacity to forgive let's pray for that now our Father in heaven. We do want to be the kind of person. Who exemplifies the character of Jesus he would not hold a grudge he would not hate he would not withhold forgiveness we thank you that you are a forgiving God. Full of mercy ready to forgive in this moment we pray and ask you to place within us the capacity to reflect that characteristic of Jesus friend if you want that Lord give me grace to forgive as I accept your forgiveness give me grace to forgive others would you lift up your hearts towards God If you are able lift up your hand. See my hand in my hot do that miraculous work in my life for him pray that Priya Lord hear us this is our Priya. In Jesus Name a man and a man and God bless you and thank you for joining me.

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