[00:00:00] Can we pray, please,father? Thank you so much that, um, we can come today with everything that wehave going on in our lives and just focus on you. You, as the creator, you, asthe giver, you as the sustainer, you as righteous you as holy you as sovereignyou as merciful grace.
Kind willing and able to discipline those that you love. AndGod, I thank you that we know are, are searching here in this sanctuary thismorning. And I pray that those that we know that we [00:01:00]may meet might be given the opportunity to hear about you and Lord, as we hearso much bad news, it's everywhere. We thank you that there's good news.
And that in a few weeks, we get to celebrate your risen son andfather. If, if he can rise again, that means that we can too. And our goal isto fully understand the gift that you've given and then be able to communicatethat to others. And father. I know that there are times when people read uswhen people read us as Christians.
And it said that you can read someone like a book, andsometimes Lord people may never pick up the Bible, but they are reading us andthey either will see [00:02:00] you and theywill either see your word, or they will not. And I pray that we can be read andbe understood that our lives are submitted to you because you are worthybecause you redeem the broken, the lost, the angry, the bitter, the sad, thesick, the hurt, because you love because you are loved.
So father this morning, guide us as we finish up a talk on forgiveness,help us to search our hearts, to see where we've been hurt and to be able toextend forgiveness. But also father, let us see where we have [00:03:00] caused hurt and let us seek forgiveness.So this time is yours. Lord, all time is yours, but specifically, now, Lord, wewant you to move.
We want you to be in our hearts. We want to walk out thesedoors different today. Changed today. More thankful today, more forgiven andmore forgiving today in Jesus name. Will you turn in your Bibles to Psalm 51.Matthew, can you handle that PowerPoint? It's just like four slides, Psalm 51Psalms in the middle of your Bible.
So if you just crack it open, you're going to probably beeither in Psalm or Proverbs and a Psalm 51. It will be a section that we willlook at today. We, uh, [00:04:00] spent the,spent the last two weeks talking about forgiveness and the sermon is called theroad to forgiveness. Everybody say that, wow, the mic is on.
You're awake. That's good. So the road to forgiveness, um, for,for the guy who put together this study that I've used for a good bit of thecontent of this sermon, his name is Jim Velez. And so I told you two weeks agothat Jim's six year old daughter was playing in the kiddie pool in the frontyard. And it was like June the eighth.
And I forget exactly what year, if he even stated it. But a carcame off the road, jumped a ditch, crossed a neighbor's yard, jumped theirfence and crashed into a six year old daughter taking her life. And for Jim, itbecame a struggle to try and practice what he had preached that forgiveness hasbeen extended and therefore [00:05:00] we mustextend it.
But all he could think about was how and why did this 19 yearold girl get in a car without a driver's license with her father's permissionand crashed into my daughter playing in the front yard? How is that fair? Theyshould be held accountable. And if someone doesn't do it, I will.
But then God worked in his heart and he embarked on what hecalls the road to forgiveness, which can be long. Can be painful. Can at timesfeel like it is not fruitful. It is not working. It is not worth the time, butwe as Christians have to understand that if we have been forgiven, we have to [00:06:00] forgive.
It's not a suggestion. It's not a wish or a want by the Lord.It's a command. And so last, last week, John talked about his life and howforgiveness
that was extended to him and that he extended to the family orthe person that took his family. In a car accident, how forgiveness hasliterally changed who he is. And he thinks about that every day. And it guideshow he thinks it guides what he says, what he doesn't say. And it is a, it is avision of gracious and grateful submission.
And I'm [00:07:00] thankful forthat. And so two weeks ago I talked about forgiveness. It's a tough journey,but you first got to identify the injury. You've got to understand what what'shappened to me. What, what, what did a person do to me? What did an institutiondo to me? What did a legal system do to me? What did whatever, what happened?
You've got to identify the injury, then you've got to calculatethe losses. You've got to, you've got to sit down and think through, you know,This, that thing that happened to me has affected my entire life. And that mayor may not be the case with you, but you've gotta be able to calculate thelosses.
When, uh, when a company has theft, when someone comes in andsteals what they have in their store or steals the money through the computers,they sit down and take an accounting and figure out this is how much is gone.And so forgiveness is a lot like a debt that company is owed. What was taken [00:08:00] from them and forgiveness is thewillingness and ability to say, I know what you owe me.
I know what you've done. I've sat down and figured out how muchthis has cost me in my life and my thoughts and my, my awake times at night andhow I picture the world and how I think I've calculated the loss. And then thenext part is owning your burden. Uh, owning your reality is understanding thatthis is my life.
This is, this is real and it's my life. And then we talkedabout how the temptation there is that we get stuck in a valley of depressionand that valley needs to be healthy, but it needs to be temporary. A valley ofdepression should be a time where we can realize what's happened, feel that,understand it, but it should not be permanent.
It should not be long [00:09:00]lasting. And if it is, it can be damaging to you and to those around you. Butthe valley of depression, the others, the bitterness tree, some people takeinjury, take how they've been harmed and they bottle it up inside. But thatbitterness grows and it affects the roots of your tree, which is your.
And that affects how you talk, how you think, how you treatother people, how you view the world, how you talk to God. And then some peoplego to the dungeon of despair. They can't get out. They're in chains, they'rebound. They don't know when they're going to be set free. And sometimes peopledon't want to be set free.
They feel like this is, this is my life. This is where I'll be.I've just got to live with it. But there is a freedom that exists in arelationship with Jesus Christ that can set the captive free. Those who chooseto free others can [00:10:00] themselves be setfree. And so today I want to talk about mourning the loss we've got to, we'vebeen talking about the past now today, and I'm going to try and be on time is Iwant to move from the time of the loss or recognizing it to the.
Right. We've we've done the accounting. We understand what'shappened. We've looked at things. The first thing we need to do is we need tomourn our loss, mourn our loss and mourning is coming to the place where youhave not only intellectually thought about done the math figured what's goingon, but it's where you have emotionally walked through what has happened andwhy you've walked through your circumstances.
And some people, what we have a tendency to do is we getwronged and then we say, okay, I've got to forgive him. It's over. It's donewith, but we've never walked through the period of [00:11:00]time that it takes to actually mourn what has happened. Morning is healthy andit's okay. An unknown author said that we are more like beasts when we killwe're we're more like men when we judge, but we're more like God, when weforgive.
And so forgiveness cannot be just an intellectual understandingof I've been wronged. I'm supposed to forgive. Therefore I forgive. How can youtell that you've only done an intellectual act of forgiveness? Well, when yousee here interact with the person, think about the circumstances. If you justfeel things start to flutter up.
If you feel the heart rate and the blood pressure increase, ifyou cannot pray for that person or that entity, those are signs thatforgiveness that has been understood or an emotional and an intellectual levelhas not genuinely a curved [00:12:00] mourningenables us to move from the past and the pain to the future.
Morning is okay. It's an encounter with the truth. Morning isnot, mourning is not whining. Whining is, is being bogged down in self-pity.But morning is pausing, pausing to feel the loss so that you can accept it,pausing to feel the laws so that you can accept it. It requires you to revisitthe past. It requires you to rework the injury.
I don't know if you were ever injured as a kid, scraped,scraped your knee and it's scraped and bleeding. And who comes to say what mamasays? What? Let me see it. No, it hurts. Right? Come here. I can clean it upfor you. No, don't touch it. Leave. Leave me alone. And we do that with theinjuries that we sustain emotion.[00:13:00]
No, no, don't, don't touch it. Don't look at it. Don't talk tome about it. Don't tell me how to fix it. Just leave me alone. And that's atrap mourning is where emotion, emotion, the heart and reality meets where theyconverge. And it's where you can say, I accept the loss. This is what'shappened. I understand how it's impacted me.
I understand. And it's hurt me, but I'm ready to move on. I'mready to move on. I don't know if you ever flip channels or see on the internetwhere they're doing the mixed martial arts and they're waiting for somebody toget on the ground and then the RAF taps them out, right. Or maybe they tap theguy.
That's got them in some headlock and they're all contorted andcan't breathe and tapping out can actually be. You say, tapping out in martialarts means you, you, you can see the victory you're giving the other person,the [00:14:00] victory you're the loser. Butwith regards to forgiveness, it is when we tap out.
That's when we actually opened the door to victory. When weactually accept the loss and recognize it, and then be willing to move on, toget up and move on. So Psalm 51, if you'll turn there, please. Pastors love tohear pages turning in a Bible to see people's heads down, reading the word.Cause if I can teach you to read the word, you can then read the word on yourown.
You can then eat like a mature spiritual Christian. So this isDavid Psalm, 51 to the choir, master of Psalm of David. When Nathan the prophetwent to him after he had gone into Bathsheba. So, this is a time when David hadbeen caught and he had been trapped by Nathan. Nathan had said, Hey, what wouldyou do in this situation?
And [00:15:00] David said, he'dhave to be killed. And then Nathan said, I'm talking about you. And Davidrealized his sin. He says, have mercy on me. Oh God. According to yoursteadfast love, according to your abundant mercy, blot out. My transgressionswash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. His sin wasadultery.
His sin was coveting. His sin was murder. You take the worst,sends out there and that's what David had done. And he says, next for, I knowmy transgressions, I know what I've done wrong. And my sin is always before me.I think about it all the time. I cannot escape from it, but then he saysagainst you, God, you own.
Have I sinned and done what's evil in your sight. And so there,you see David taken a cat, taking an accounting of what had been [00:16:00] done and against whom he had sinned inaddition to the world. But his primary thought was I have disappointed my Lordand savior, and he wanted to fix that. So he did, he took an accounting.
He is fully understanding what he has done and it weighs on himand he is asking God, he's written it down and song he's processed it. He'sgone through, he's made notes. Now he's asking God to please take this away. Heis seeking forgiveness. He is mourning prayer with God is a way to mourn, tocry out to God, to be honest with you.
Do you ever like it when someone comes to you and there's,there's this topic that you all know needs to be talked about. Right. Andeverybody's just avoiding it. It's the elephant in the room. And just like, Ijust, if somebody would just say something, right, and then they actually bringit out and say it, and everybody just goes, I saw you [00:17:00]when I breathed, you picked up, somebody finally said it, then, then we can goto the next place.
Mourning is taking possession of the loss. Listen to thismorning is taking possession of the loss rather than letting the loss possessyou morning is taking possession of the loss rather than allowing the loss topossess you. It's letting go of what you cannot have in order to make room inyour heart for what you can morning is the point where you choose to make.
From your pain and your past to the future. Jesus said that hesaid, father, if you're willing,
will you let this cup pass from me? But if not, let your willbe done
next. You need to [00:18:00]decide your identity. After you mourn the past, you've got to decide youridentity and you have a decision to make, you can say either, okay, I am thiswounded broken, angry, bitter, sad person, and that's just the life I'm goingto have. That's just, that's just the cards I've been dealt. And I'm okay withthat.
Or you can say, I want to move past all this and be what Godhas created me to be, which is joyful and happy and fruitful and forgiving. Notbitter, not angry, but of love. Lynn Schreiner said he has ruined my past. Andthen she said, I'm beginning to toy with the idea of forgiveness so that Idon't allow him to destroy my future as well.
And we all have [00:19:00] beenharmed. We all have been wronged. It is our choice as to whether or not weallow that injury in the past to affect our future. Our future eternally isheaven, but we need to reflect that God is real while we are here on thisearth, people are watching us and we need to understand your trauma that you'vehad in your life can change your sense of identity.
And you can define yourself by your wound. I can define myselfand say, my mother was an alcoholic. My parents are divorced and that's why Iam, and I'm not changing, but I I'm trying to realize that and allow God toshape me from that injury, to be something more tangible that God would behappy with.
And it's a battle every day, [00:20:00]you can decide to remain under the power and control of the person who hurtyou. They may be dead and gone. They may be in another town. You may never seethem, but they still control your life. That's a decision. You can live yourlife and remote submission to them and let them continue to Rob you of yourjoy, Rob you of your purpose.
You can allow the moment that has harmed you to be confiningand limit who you are. Mark Twain once said that forgiveness is the, is thefragrance fragrance of a violet that you only truly smell once. Once the pedalhas been crushed and broken, that the fragrance really is then set free andthrough our brokenness forgiveness can abound.
And the love, the fragrance of forgiveness. Well, the profileof true forgiveness, what, [00:21:00] what is,what is not forgiveness? Let's talk about that real quick. Forgiveness is not,it is not forgetting. John talked about that last week. Forgiveness is notforgetting it is. We are made in the image of God. God can forgive and forget.
The Bible says I I've put your sins. As far as the east is fromthe west. I forgotten them. We are good, but we, we don't have that ability.God can give us the power. We can actually forget things, but it is humannature to remember. And that is okay. Forgiveness is also not trusting it.Doesn't when you say I forgive you, it does not immediately mean, therefore Itrust you.
So here are the car keys. Here's my key to the house. Here's mywallet. We still have to have trust rebuilt. And that is okay. [00:22:00] Finally, forgiveness does not releaseresponsibility. The driver of the car into the yard, over a six year old girlplaying in a kiddie pool. That driver is still responsible for her acts.
Her father who gave her permission to drive his car. Eventhough she didn't have a license is still responsible. Forgiveness is for you.The Bible tells us in Colossians three 13, bear with each other and forgivewhatever grievances you may have against each other. And then it says, forgiveas the Lord forgave, you forgive as the Lord forgave, you saw I'm one of thethree says the Lord has not.
The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins. And hehasn't rewarded us for the things we've done wrong [00:23:00]for as high as the heavens are above the earth. So great. Is his lovingkindness toward those who fear him as far as the east is from the west so far,has he removed our transgressions from us?
Have you tried to touch the east and the west? They keep goingpraise the Lord. God's removed that. And if he rewarded us based upon what wedeserved, go ahead and write on a card. What you would deserve would write.We'll just, we'll just review them here. Let's read them out. Here's what Ideserve for what I've done.
Praise the Lord. He has not rewarded us for what we deserve. Doyou agree? But what he will do is reward us for what Jesus has done. So we havea choice ahead. If you've been wronged by someone, you have a choice, right? [00:24:00] Excuse me. Let's start with, have youwronged someone? If you've wronged someone, you have a choice you can go andask for forgiveness, or you can just kind of say nothing.
Just let it go. We just won't bring it up.
Have you been wronged by someone? There are two situations thatmay apply. It may be a person or an entity that you no longer can communicatewith. Passed away, broken relationship, not prudent, not safe, but if it is aperson or an entity that you can communicate with, it is okay. It is healthy.It is recommended to initiate and extend the opportunity for forgiveness.
What, what, what did you say? [00:25:00]It means go to the person at the right time, having prayed, asking the Lord forguidance and opportunity and a soft heart and say, Hey, I don't know if youknow it or not, but two weeks ago you said. And I just need to let you knowthat that really was hurtful. It, that really hurt me.
And then that person will either say, you know what? I'm, I'mso sorry. I didn't know. I didn't realize. Or they may say nothing and beaddicted. Indignant might even get a little stiff-necked resentful angry. Andif you had wronged someone and they came to, you said, Hey, I just want to letyou know it. That really hurt me.
How, how would you want them to respond? Oh man. I'm so sorry.I, I didn't know. That's completely my [00:26:00]fault or I didn't do that. You're just making that up. No, no, you'remisunderstanding.
So. Thomas Fuller says he, that cannot forgive breaks thebridge that he must walk over. When we don't forgive, we are damaging the paththat we are going to have to walk. We have to forgive for our own sake becauseit is biblical for other people's sake. Well, how do we ask for forgiveness?It's a big deal.
It's a big deal. Three parts to it. To ask for forgiveness.You've got to, you've got to number one, acknowledge what you've done. Youcan't just come up and say, I'm sorry, Alex. I'm sorry for what dude. Right? Sowe've got to say, I know I hurt you when right [00:27:00]when I did this, I know that it it's impact was.
And then you've got to say these words, I was wrong. Wives.You'll hear it. Hopefully. Now that we've been talking about it here, the wordsI was wrong, come out of your husband's mouth. It's possible, possibleacknowledgement. I know I hurt you when that appeals to the intellect. I know Ihurt you. They might not have thought about it.
They may try to put it behind. But if you say, I, I know I hurtyou when such and such, they, it gets their mind turning to go, you know,you're right. That, that was, yeah. Okay. I'm with you, I'm with you, but thenyou say I was wrong and then you're appealing to their emotion. And that, thatbreaks down the barrier that breaks down the anger and it, and it may taketime, but then there's gotta be a release and the release is, will you forgiveme?
Will you forgive me? And guess what? From that [00:28:00] point, it's up to them. You've now handedthem everything. You've acknowledged what you've done. You've stated that itwas your fault and you've now put the ball in their court. You have now wipedyour slate clean. You have now, uh, displayed biblical obedience because youhave acknowledged you've taken ownership and you have released.
And what you're asking them to do is release you from the debtthat you owe them when you wrong them, you created a debt. And like John talkedabout last week, when he, when he got you to hold onto that rock. And he, andhe talked and he said, keep holding onto the rock. Squeeze it hard. So keeptalking while I'm talking, you keep, you keep squeezing, keep squeezing.
And he talked for what? 35 minutes from that point, I'm justkidding. So long enough. So that when your hand, when he said, let go, yourhand kind of was like, no, [00:29:00] it hurts.I gotta like. Because at times we get hold of something. And even though it isgood for us to let go, w we can't, we won't 'cause that, that's what we know.
There are some times that, that people have been wronged, thatit actually fuels who they are. It gets them out of bed in the morning to provesomebody wrong, to make it something, to make a point. The anger drives themduring the day. And they can't envision life without that fuel, but it's morebiblical to be fueled by love.
First, John one nine says that if we confess our sins, if weconfess our sins be specific, here's what I did. I know I hurt you when thishappened. And then it says he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sinsand cleanse us from all them rides. [00:30:00]Confess take ownership, say I was wrong. And then ask for forgiveness.
Uh, admitting that you're wrong is not a sign of weakness. Somepeople perceive it that way. If you say, Hey, I was wrong, then you're sayingsome people believe that you knew the difference and you chose the worstanswer. And that shows weakness and intellect and decision-making ability anddesire to love others.
But admitting that is actually a sign of strength to realizewhat's happened. Some people realize what's happened and process it themselves.But the real strength is when we are able to say what we've processed toanother person, to the person that we've wronged. So when we've wronged orwe've been wronged by somebody.
Who's no longer around either because they're dead and gone orbecause [00:31:00] it's not safe or prudent tobe around them. We've got to take and make the decision to release it on ourown. It's called releasing the injustice alone. I recall it retitled it flyingsolo. So we're on the road to forgiveness and you're flying solo down the road.
And these are circumstances of someone not being present cancomplicate things, but they don't have to throw a complete wrench in yourwillingness and ability to forgive forgiveness with God's help is within yourreach. And it is under your control. Your ability to forgive is not under thecontrol of another person of a, whether or not they call you and say, Hey, I'msorry, whether or not something happens in their life and you see their heartchange.
And then you say, okay, now I can forgive him. He's getting alittle better. No forgiveness is between you and God and you, and that person,regardless of the.
So you have to exercise [00:32:00]your, will you either choose to release your right. You have a right to collecta debt, right? If you owe me $5,000, I've got a right to collect that. But forgivenessis saying, you know what, even though you owe it to me and you're not going topay me, I'm going to forgive it. I'm going to forgive it.
If someone still around and you have the opportunity tointeract with them, it's called the road less travel. Why is it less traveled?Because it's painful. It can be difficult. And a lot of times we are wrong.Then we, we, when we get there, like I said earlier, we, we, we don't want toexperience that again.
We don't want to bring it up again. We don't want to walkthrough all that again. It's too bad. But it is actually healthy and prudent todo so. So we can't be wronged and then just stop on the road and we can't havethis in the road and just walk around it. We actually have to [00:33:00] walk through it to genuinely be able to dothat.
And that's why it's called the road less traveled in the summerof 19 86, 2 ships, two large ships were off the, they were passenger ships offthe coast of Russia and, uh, in the black sea and they collided and hundreds ofpassengers are tossed into the ocean. It's icy water and news of the disasterwas further dark.
And when they revealed the cause of the collision, wasn't badweather, wasn't broken instruments, wasn't ice in the water. Wasn't even,wasn't even thick fog the cause. Was human stubbornness. You see the twocaptains, they were both aware of the other ships presence nearby, but neithersteered clear, both [00:34:00] refused tochange their courses.
Neither wanted to give away to the other. And brothers andsisters, that's called pride and pride is the barrier to forgiveness. Pridesounds like this. Why should I have to go to them? Pride sounds like theyshould be coming to me. Pride says I wasn't the only one they hurt. Pride saysif they call me first, I'll talk to them.
Pride says they need to apologize first. And then I'll forgivethem. Is that a biblical example of the. Pride pride causes the destruction ofrelationships. Pride is the barrier to reconciliation. There's forgiveness,cleaning the slate. The next step is [00:35:00]reconciliation to someone or something that has hurt you.
God clearly opposes the proud God clearly opposes the proud. Soif another believer sins against you, Matthew 18 says that you should go tothat person privately. And if the other person listens and confesses, you'vewon that person back. It's biblical instruction. You and we, we cannot controlthe other person's responses, thoughts, character, emotions.
However, we have the choice to display Christian. And forgiveothers. Finally, we need to move forward. We need to keep our eyes on the road.People often confuse forgiveness with trust. Trust has to be rebuilt. Gary Hawksaid it [00:36:00] may be good to forgive, butit also can be unsafe to reconcile. So we've got to be smart.
So Greg, if you would come on up, max, Lucado said in the gripof grace, the key to forgiving others, and this is important. The key toforgiving others is to quit focusing on what they did to you is to quitfocusing on what they did to you and focus on what God has done for you. Quitfocusing on what he or she did to you and focus on what God has done for you.
So as we approach this season of Easter, the risen Christ,
I am prayerful that the full weight of the debt [00:37:00] that you owe personally to Jesus Christrests on your shoulders and in your heart, so that you may fully accept thegift of forgiveness that he has extended to you. So, um, you could come on up.Jenny, think about this. Let's say that someone has wronged you let let's sayit caused death, financial ruin family shadow.
The worst thing imaginable and repeats it over and over again,day after day, and kinda just, just kinda in your face, just kinda what yougonna do,
but you resolve in your heart to be obedient and to forgive.And then you work up the courage to actually go down the road, less traveled togo to that person and say,[00:38:00]
you know, you really, you really hurt me.
And I, I forgive you. I'm going to let what you've done, bewashed away. But then think about when you've, when you've gone through allthat, when you've processed everything, you've calculated the cost, you'vetaken ownership of your situation. And then you work up the courage to go tothem and say, I forgive you and then have him say.
No. Thanks. I'm good. I'm not, I'm not ready to deal with that,man. I don't want to talk about that. I'll forget you.
That's what unbelievers do to Jesus Christ because he hasidentified the injury death on a [00:39:00]cross beatings, curses, persecution.
He has calculated the cost. He's walked the road less traveledand he's extending forgiveness. And that's what that cross right there shows usis that forgiveness is here. And so. Have you genuinely accepted it. And if youhaven't, please let today be the day because the gift is being given and it isfreeing.
But for those who choose to, I forget it. I'm not ready to dealwith that right now. Now I got too much going on. Forget, you know, that'shokey not doing it. I don't [00:40:00] believethat these people are all hypocrites. Nope. Not doing it. You've just taken theforgiveness that has been worked up and left there for you.
Just casting it away. There are eternal ramifications,
cast it away. Hell for eternity, receive it, replicate it.
Pastor Walter Woodrick holds a Masters of Ministry from Luther Rice College and Seminary, an economics degree from Vanderbilt University, the Word of God in his hands, and the attention of listeners both young and old. An author of two books on the topics of finances and faith, Walter says, “I really feel like God has given me a gift to make complicated subjects understandable to almost anyone. Information that goes over someone’s head is worthless. Information that sinks into someone’s heart is priceless.”