Lesson from Fusion 3-25-2015

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Opening question:

  • What is forgiveness?

o   Forgiveness is my choosing not to hold something against you, even if you’ve done something wrong.

  • Why is forgiveness important?

o   Not only do I benefit when I forgive others, but

o   God is honored when I forgive. This is what we will talk about tonight.

Genesis 50:15-21

  • When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, “If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the suffering we caused him.”
  • So they sent this message to Joseph, “Before he died your father gave a command: ‘Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers’ transgression and their sin — the suffering they caused you. ’ Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when their message came to him. Then his brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!”
  • But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result — the survival of many people. Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.[1]

It is normal for people to hold grudges

  • Joseph’s brothers were under the impression that he had not forgiven them.
  • The fact is, everyone struggles with forgiveness.

o   We don’t forgive terrorists for the things that they do.

o   We don’t forgive the leaders of our nations or our churches when they make a mistake.

o   We don’t forgive people when they put us down or when they criticize us.

o   We don’t forgive those who hurt us physically or emotionally. Instead we want them to hurt.

o   Write down someone’s name who you need to forgive.

  • When we do not forgive, our unforgiveness becomes our god.
  • We forgive others because God is the only one who should be Lord in our lives.

God is in charge of circumstance

  • People do not determine purpose, God does.
  • God can use the wrongs of others to accomplish His will in my life.
  • People can only do what God allows them to do.

Why we can treat others well (how can I forgive others?)

  • God forgave all sin, including ours (Mark 3:28).
  • If God has forgiven me, I should be able to forgive others.
  • If God has already forgiven my enemy, why shouldn’t I?

[1] Genesis 50:15-21 (HCSB)


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