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Mercy Forgives

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God’s Mercy Brings Forgiveness into Every One of Our Lives

There are 2 sides to this truth that Mercy Forgives. Jesus talked about both sides in the Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6:12 NLT
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
Mercy brings freedom into our lives in 2 different ways. One, when God forgives me and the other When I forgive others.
We are going to talk about both of those. Remember the definition of Mercy...

Mercy: Undeserved Forgiveness & Unearned Kindness

I need it in my life and you need it on your lives.
Others also need it from me as well.
Mercy Brings Freedom into our Live in Two Ways
So, How does this work? How does God apply this to me? and How Do I apply it to others?
Two Simple Truths we will talk about today!

I. MERCY MEANS GOD FORGIVES ME

Mercy means God forgives me… it’s the greatest news ever… better than PB, Cure for Disease, anything. Mercy forgives… frees… gives us a clean slate and fresh start...
What Happens is that this great news become old news and we begin to take it for granted… I already know that…
Listen, forgiveness is not a theological fact. It’s a gift from God to You on a daily basis.
Do you feel forgiven? I know you have been forgiven, but do you feel it? We should.
People feel guilty and there is a problem if you feel guilty but never feel forgiven. I have never heard someone go, “Boy, I feel forgiven today.” We should be saying that because we are forgiven.
When you feel guilty, it draws you away from God. Who wants to be close to the one who makes you feel guilty.
When you feel forgiven, it draws you closer to God. We are going to look at some truths concerning forgiveness.

1. God Wants to Forgive You

He wasn’t forced to forgive you and I, He wanted to forgive us. He chose to do it because He loves us. Look at this....
Nehemiah 9:17 The Living Bible
“They refused to obey and didn’t pay any attention to the miracles you did for them; instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to take them back into slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, always ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and full of love and mercy; you didn’t abandon them,
He is always ready to forgive… pardon…
How many of you are glad he is slow to anger?
Here is another verse about God...
Micah 7:18 NIV84
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
God actually delights in showing us mercy and forgiveness.
Think about things that delight you… kids doing well… a hobby… a good deed. After you do these things, you feel good right?
That’s the way God feels when he shows you and I forgiveness and mercy. He delights and enjoys showing us mercy.

2. God Freely Forgives Me

It’s free. There is nothing we can to do earn it. He just gives it to us.
Romans 3:23–24 The Living Bible
Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.
Paul tells us that we have all sinned and there is nothing we can do to fix it. Paul says, He declares us NOT GUILTY. That’s what God does and it’s free to us.
Just because it was free, doesn’t mean there wasn’t a cost. It cost Jesus his life. He had to die on the cross for our forgiveness. When we place our trust in Jesus, God freely forgives us and declares us not guilty.

What Keeps People from Receiving this Kind of Gift?

1. You Don’t Believe It

You know the saying, if it’s too good to be true, then it’s too good to be true. In this case it’s not. It’s so simple people have a hard time accepting it because we think we have to do something to earn it - we can’t.

2. You Don’t Think You Deserve It.

You come here and you see all these nice church people around here and think. if they just knew what I’ve done they would not let me in here. News Flash - they are thinking the same thing.
So if you are feeling this way this morning, look to your left and look to your right - they are not as nice as you think. You are not alone.
Remember what I said a few weeks ago? Every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
We all Struggle, I am not minimizing the struggle. But God’s Grace is bigger than any sin we can commit. The Grace of forgiveness is for all of us… it’s a gift God wants to give to everyone.
You may not feel like you are forgiven… for whatever reason. While I am talking about this, you are thinking that you are not forgiven. You don’t have to leave here feeling that way. You can be sure right now.
Salvation Prayer
As you experience the gift of Forgiveness, He sets you free
Colossians 1:13–14 TEV
He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven.
He forgives you and he sets you free from carrying that burden around any longer. You need to enjoy the forgiveness that God is giving you - enjoy it.

3. God Immediately Forgives Me

God doesn’t say, he’s a bad sinner, I think he needs to suffer for a little while. You don’t have to wait, God forgives you immediately.
The reason it’s immediate is because Jesus paid the price on the Cross. You don’t have to pay the price… Jesus already did.
Isaiah 55:7 TEV
Let the wicked leave their way of life and change their way of thinking. Let them turn to the Lord, our God; he is merciful and quick to forgive.
Anyone besides me glad God is quick to forgive?
You don’t have to feel guilty after you ask Him to forgive you. Before you repent, You need to feel guilty.
Scene of two officers at the shooting range where the young one says I’m tired of feeling guilty… news flash, you are guilty.
Guilt is like a warning light on a car dashboard. It tells you something is not right. When you see the light, you do something about it.
Story of a friends daughter who burned her engine up… when asked if she had noticed anything, she mentioned the red light that had been on for a while.
When you sense a feeling of guilt, turn you attention to Jesus and confess your sins and repent from your sins. You don’t have to carry that guilt around.

4. God Completely Forgives Me

He forgives them all… even those of yours that you think can’t be forgiven.
Colossians 2:13–14 NLT
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
He cancelled your record. He cancelled and it’s like it never happened.
Notice God doesn’t file your sins away… he destroyed them. They are gone.
shreds them… incinerated the shredding… atomized the ashes… whatever you need to know that Your record is gone.
Micah 7:19 NCV
You will have mercy on us again; you will conquer our sins. You will throw away all our sins into the deepest part of the sea.
Let me ask. If God has gotten rid of your sins and he has forgotten them, don’t you think you should forget them too?
Often times we think God is out to get us… that he is punishing me for what I’ve done. He’s not. He loves you and He completely forgives you.
You may think, this isn’t right… it’s not fair … it’s not justice. It’s not justice, it’s mercy and Grace.
James 2:13 NIV84
because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
God’s Mercy is that He forgives me. But there is another part of forgiveness that we need to talk about. If we miss this, we will be missing out on becoming free. This is difficult to talk about because so many people have deep hurts. I have been praying for the Grace of God’s freedom for you as I have been preparing.

II. MERCY MEANS THAT I FORGIVE OTHERS

Talk for a few moments about how God helps us in our struggle to forgive others… I’m going to assume that we all struggle with this.
One reason we struggle is… I Haven’t been forgiven. If I haven’t been forgiven, I don’t have anything to give you. That’s why we talked about God forgive you first.
Another aspect of this is that we don’t feel forgiven. If I don’t feel forgiven, I don’t feel like forgiving you. That’s why I talked about feeling forgiven.
I think the main reason we struggle to forgive is that we don’t know what forgiving someone means. We have some misconceptions about forgiveness. There are several myths our there that have nothing to do with biblical forgiveness … So I have a test for you.

TEST

A Person Should Not be Forgiven Until He or She Asks for it. T / F
You Haven’t Really Forgiven Until You Have Forgotten the Offense. T / F
Forgiving InCludes Minimizing the Offense & The Pain Caused. T / F
Forgiveness Includes Restoring Trust & Reuniting a Relationship. T / F
When I See Someone Hurt, it’s My Duty to Forgive the Offender. T / F
The Truth is… all of these are false. Look at the last one. It’s not your responsibility to forgive someone who hurts someone else - it’s theirs. YOU are to forgive the person who hurts YOU. When we interject ourselves into someone else’s issue, we are not being spiritual, we are being rude.

1. Forgiveness is Not Conditional

#1 - Forgiveness is not Conditional. People don’t have to earn your forgiveness before you give it. They don’t even have to ask for it.
Ephesians 4:32 The Message
Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
We forgive because Jesus forgave us… not because they deserve it.
Corrie Ten Boom Story
Corrie Ten Boon was in a Nazi Concentration camp during WW2. As a Christian her family had housed Jewish families. And having been found out in Holland they were taken into a concentration camp. Her sister died in that camp. After the war she began to go around all of Europe telling people the Good News of God’s love even in the midst of devastation. And something happened to her.
Listen...
She writes, “I was in a church in Munich and I saw him. A balding heavy set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken. It was 1947 and I’d come from Holland to a defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. And that’s when I saw him working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat and the next a blue uniform and a visor cap with a skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush. The huge room at the concentration camp called Ravensbruck with its harsh overhead lights and pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man.
“The man who was making his way forward had been a guard, one of the most cruel guards. Now he was in front of me. His hand thrust out. “A fine message, Fraulein. How good it is to know as you say that our sins are at the bottom of the sea.” And I who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand. He would not remember me of course. How could he remember one prisoner among thousands of women? But I remembered him. The leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze. “You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk he was saying. I was a guard there.” No, he did not remember me. “But since that time,” he went on, “I’ve become a Christian and I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things that I did there. But I’d like to hear it from your lips as well Fraulein.” Again the hand came out. “Will you forgive me?” I stood there. I whose sins had again and again be forgiven and I could not forgive. My sister Betsy had died in that place. Could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out. But it seemed to me hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing that I’d ever had to do. For I had to do it. I knew that. I knew it not only as a commandment of God but also as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were also able to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives no matter what their physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and horrible as that. Still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion; I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. “Jesus, help me,” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. Would you supply the feeling?”
“So woodenly, mechanically I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, it raced down my arm, it sprang into our joined hands. Then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being bringing tears to my eyes. “I forgive you brother,” I cried, “With all my heart.” For a long moment we grasped each others’ hands. The former guard and the former prisoner. I have never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.”
What do you do with a story like that? One thing we do is we feel guilty because we are struggling with forgiving someone for something they said, and Corrie Ten Boom was faced with forgiving a Nazi guard who may have been involved in murdering her sister.
Guilt is not a good motivator for forgiveness because the forgiveness will only last as long as you feel guilty. Instead of feeling guilty, look at God. You need strength to forgive and God has the power to give you the strength.
Forgiveness is unconditional towards others because of God’s power of forgiveness towards us.

2. Forgiveness is Not Forgetting

Many people think forgiveness is forgetting.... it’s not. The phrase forgive and forget is not in the Bible. Besides that, you can’t forget. How do you forget something horrific done to you. You know it won’t happen so you think that you can’t forgive because you can’t forget.
2 Timothy 4:14–15 NIV84
Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
I believe Paul had forgiven Alexander, but he had not forgotten what he did. Paul doesn’t say he wants to get even with him, he says he hopes God deals with him. That’s how we can know Paul had forgiven him… he wasn’t holding onto it… he had given it to the Lord.
As long as you hold onto bitterness in your heart and hands, it will eat at you from the inside out. Turn it over to God.
In 1994 the genocide in Rwanda took the lives of a million people in a 100 days. It was often neighbor killing neighbor. People in their own city killing others in their own city. That country had to make a decision. If they were going to continue to last as a country, they had to forgive. So they chose as churches and as a country to forgive. Forgiveness is the theme of Rwanda. And that country has been rebuilt. They have forgiven but not forgotten. They have a memorial showing the genocide. The parliament building there still has bullet holes in the walls and no weddings take place during April because it’s a month of mourning.
You need to forgive… to let it go. Put it into God’s hands and let him heal the memories. Don’t worry about forgetting - choose to forgive.

Forgiveness is Not Trusting the Person Again

From Paul’s warning about Alexander, it’s plain that he doesn’t trust him and won’t. He is actually warning them to watch out for the guy. We won’t be able to forget as well.
Remember, FORGIVENESS is unconditional, but TRUST is earned. It takes time to rebuild trust. There are cases where you forgive someone but you absolutely should not let them back into your life because of the way they hurt you or someone else.
Forgiveness is not forgetting… not trusting… What is it? Write this down...

Forgiveness IS Releasing It to God

Paul released it to God. That’s how you begin to heal.
Revenge / Repayment / Resentment doesn’t work. It just brings the pain back into your life over and over. Unforgiveness creates an undertow of emotion in your life that will take you places you don’t want to be.
Story of Brandi being caught in Riptide. The current will take you somewhere you did not wan to be…
That’s what unforgiveness does in your life. It will take you places you did not want to go. You will say things you did not want to say. You will do things you did not want to do. You will become a person you never wanted to be...
Unforgiveness destroys marriages, families, careers, and your spirit.
Release it to the Lord.
When you hold onto hurt it becomes hate. When you have bitterness in your life and you don’t release it, you actually begin to resemble that person you will not forgive. Instead of you being the judge, release that to the Lord. Let Him deal with it - Forgive.
When you forgive is sets you free. When you forgive, it means you are giving someone the gift of grace… and releasing them and your bitterness.
Your freedom will spread to others. Forgiveness sets families, companies and nations free. There is POWER in forgiveness.
The world saw an incredible example of that in Charleston SC. At the Bethel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina we saw this example of genuine, honest, real forgiveness. You remember that a young man walked into a Wednesday night prayer and Bible study meeting at the church and killed nine people.
At the arraignment a few days later the church showed up and expressed the kind of forgiveness that the world is not used to seeing. At the arraignment Nadine Collier whose mother was killed said to the perpetrator, “I forgive you. You took something very precious from me. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you so I forgive you.” The New York Times wrote about that arraignment. “It was as if the Bible study had never ended. As one after another of the victim’s family members offered lessons on forgiveness. Testaments to a faith that is not compromised by violence or grief.” The Wall Street Journal called it a miracle.
And in South Carolina within just days a decade’s long battle was over. The Confederate flag that had been flying over the state capital that represented hate to so many people, that had been battled over for so long, because of their forgiveness the tone changed. The conversation changed. Instead of it being an opportunity for more violence, for more hate it became an opportunity for love and grace and forgiveness. And within days that flag was taken down because of their forgiveness. That’s the power of forgiveness to change you, to change your family, to change everything around you
Here is how we have the power to forgive. The truth is forgiveness is not something we do, it’s something God has done. It’s a gift that God gave you to pass on to others. Paul said
Colossians 3:13 NLT
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Remember, these two things are linked. We need to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive others.
Altar time.
Recap
God Wants to forgive
God Freely Forgives
God Immediately Forgives
God Completely Forgives
We forgive others
Forgiveness is not Conditional -
Forgiveness is not forgetting
Forgiveness is Releasing it to God
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