First of all I want to thank everyone that expressed how much they appreciated the message on the weekend. It was different this time. Most weekends there are people that say thanks for sharing a good message, but this weekend there was a genuine expression from many people indicating why this sermon was important to them. There has been Facebook messages, emails, text messages and actual, real, face-to-face words of gratitude.
I mention this because I struggled all week with this message. Not with the content or the imagery, but with the structure and form of delivery. You see, I tend to be a people pleaser. It’s a blessing and a hinderance. One of the struggles I had was how blunt to be with the need (commandment) to forgive others, and how firm to be with recognizing the struggle some of us (me included) have with receiving forgiveness for ourselves. So the struggle was between God and me. His word and His commands over my desire to present a message that was easy to hear and didn’t make me feel like I was, well, preaching. It sounds like God won. Nice. Because when that happens we all win.
The other struggle I had was what aspects of forgiveness to cover and how deep to go. As we talk about foundational aspects of Christian character the subjects we are discussing are not superficial. They are not subjects that can be fully unpacked in a morning message. In most cases, we will all want to spend some time, on our own, discussing them with God. Some aspects of character you may have already worked out. Others aspects God may want to work on with you. But, what He wants to work on in my life may be different than what He wants to work on in your life.
That’s why your personal time, alone with God, is so vitally important. Let Him work with you on character. Let Him remind you how much He loves you. And let Him encourage you as you become more like Him. To help, I’ve included below a few scriptures and also a couple of books – either completely dedicated to the concept of forgiveness, or that have sections in them related to forgiveness. I encourage you to pray through the scriptures, and if God leads you, pick-up a book and it read prayerfully.
God Loves You. Love Yourself. Pass It On.
February 22, 2016
Scriptures related to forgiveness:
1 John 1:8-9 – He is faithful and just to forgive us.
Leviticus 26:13 – Walk with your head held high.
1 Chronicles 21:8 – Confession and repentance are key aspects of forgiveness
2 Chronicles 7:14 – A great model of forgiveness in action: Move from Pride to Humility. Move from confession to repentance. Move from forgiveness to restoration.
Psalm 51:1-7 – my rebellion haunts me day and night
Psalm 32 – How great is the life of the forgiven.
John 8:11 – Christ does not condemn you.
Luke 23:34 – Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.
Acts 2:14 “Then Peter stepped forward…” Peter moved from denying Christ, to being forgiven by Christ, to be used by Christ.
Matthew 6:9-15 – The Lord’s Prayer – Forgive us as we forgive others
Mark 12:25 – When you are praying… forgive anyone you hold a grudge against
Matthew 18:21 – How often should I forgive?
Matthew 5:43-48 – Love your enemies … act as children of God.
1 John 2:2 – He is the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
Romans 12:17-21 – Bless those that curse you.
2 Samuel 12:14 – Forgiveness does not eliminate the consequences of sin.
Ephesians 4:30-32 – Forgive one-another …God has forgiven you
The Peace Maker, Ken Sandee, Baker Books, Jan 1, 2004
Bold Love, Dan B. Alexander and Tremper Longman, NavPress, 1992
The Book of Forgiving, Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, HarperOne, 2014
Rising Strong, Brené Brown, Spiegel & Grau, 2015
The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness, Kris & Jason Vallotton, Regal, 2011