Good morning! I’m glad to welcome you to worship today at Hillcrest Baptist Church.
In Matthew 18:15-35 Jesus addressed a subject that is relevant to all of us— forgiveness. In verse 21 we find Peter responding to Jesus’ teaching about dealing with someone who has sinned against you (v. 15-20): ‘’Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘’Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’’ (v.21)
That was both a great question and a selfish question. It was a great question because Jesus’ response will magnify God’s forgiving grace toward each of us. Yet Peter was being selfish–he was hopeful that we would not be required to continually offer forgiveness.
Most all of us have both offended and been offended by someone. It is not a question of whether people will hurt your or whether you will hurt someone else—it will happen! The question before us is: what does our Lord tell that we are to do, as the one offended or as the offender.
The word “forgiveness” literally means ‘’to let go’’ or ‘’to send away.’’ Forgiveness is when you release to the Lord any bitterness toward someone else that you feel you have a right to have, and let God handle the matter in His own way. Dr. James Dobson stated, ‘’Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.’’
A couple of quotes by unknown authors bring the subject of forgiveness to great light for us:
‘’To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner is you!’’
“Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is the power which breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. You will never get out until, from your heart, you learn to forgive on the same basis that God has forgiven you.”
May God set many captives free through forgiveness!