• Matt Beaney

PART 28 – THE DAILY WASHING OF FORGIVING (3/4/20)

If you missed Sunday's broadcast, please catch up by following the link below. (For the foreseeable future, we be running our Sunday morning services digitally. Please go to our website on Sundays at 10:30 to join in)



“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

Too many end up bitter because they have allowed layers of bitterness to build up. Like hardened arteries that take less and less oxygen around the body, we can become a shadow of our former selves through allowing deposits of bitterness and disappointment to build up. This is the cost of not forgiving; It turns hopeful visionaries into gnarled and brittle people. This is a descent that we can all make if we fail to understand and keep offering forgiveness. As Andy Stanley has written,

You will never find a happy, bitter, person! (Andy Stanley)

The cost of forgiving

Forgiving isn’t cheap. It costs us to give up the right to be bitter with someone. This is why it can be a bit like a boomerang - the hurt that we thought we’d dealt with keeps coming back! Matthew wrote this,

‘Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ (Matthew 18:21-22)

This is why C. S Lewis wrote,

‘We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offences but for one offence.’ (C.S. Lewis)

Forgiveness, sometimes, has to be repeated. This is okay. This is normal. It’s not a sign of failure or that you were insincere in your forgiveness; it’s just the way it is.


Forgiving is also costly because it’s a painful thing to do. Tim Keller expresses this so well,

‘There is another option, however. You can forgive. Forgiveness means refusing to make them pay for what they did. However, to refrain from lashing out at someone when you want to do so with all your being is agony. It is a form of suffering. You not only suffer the original loss of happiness, reputation and opportunity, but now you forgo the consolation of inflicting the same on them. You are absorbing the debt, taking the cost of it completely on yourself instead of taking it out on the other person. It hurts terribly. Many people would say it feels like a kind of death.’ (Tim Keller, The Reason for God)

Jesus teaches us to pray, daily, "forgive us...as we forgive..." He tells us this because He loves us and because such an approach to relationships brings Him glory.


RESPONSE

Let’s make it a habit to keep forgiving. Whenever we are ‘sinned against’ (Matt. 18:15) say to the Father, “I forgive that person for…” That, normally, will be the end of it; however, only if you feel that it would help the other person, go and talk to them about their behaviour.


During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.

COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – KEEP WASHING OUR HANDS (KEEP ASKING FOR, AND KEEP GIVING, FORGIVENESS)


Opener

Do you find it easy to say sorry? How often have you done so in the last week?


Introduction - please read in your group

This week we will learn from Jesus what it means to pray,

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

During this Coronavirus crisis, we are being encouraged to wash our hands regularly for 20 seconds. When you do so, why not get into the habit of saying The Lord’s Prayer? Washing our hands is a great illustration of receiving and giving forgiveness - it needs to be done regularly.

Forgiveness means 'to send away' to have our sin sent away. This has been made possible because Jesus has died for us. To forgive others, is to send their sin away - we send it to Jesus and allow Him to be the judge. We can forgive much more easily as we remain mindful of how much we ourselves have been forgiven.


Read The Lord’s Prayer

“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (“…For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”) (Matthew 6:9-13)

Discuss/share together


i) The cost of our forgiveness

i) When we talk about forgiveness, it’s easy to think that when we say sorry to God, He just chooses to overlook our sin. However, sin cannot just be forgiven (sent away) - anyone whose ever brushed something under the carpet knows that it just goes under the carpet! Forgiveness is possible because of the cross.


Discuss: What does Ephesians 1:7 say about our forgiveness?


ii) The cost of forgiving

R. T. Kendall wrote about forgiving,

This means that you keep on doing it - as long as you live. It won’t do to forgive today and then return to folly tomorrow. I know of a person whose wife said, ‘I thought you forgave me.’ He replied, ‘that was yesterday’. Total forgiveness is a life-long commitment; you may need to do it every single day of your life until you die. No one said it would be easy.’ (R. T. Kendall, Total forgiveness, Page 59)

Forgiving is painful for us. It's choosing not to be bitter toward someone. It's choosing to treat our 'debtors' with love. It's a great sacrifice.


Discuss:

  • How does remembering the gospel help us to forgive others?

  • What advice would you give to someone who is finding that their anger and resentment keeps flaring up?


Pray together

Pray together as you feel led.


Notices

Please share from this week’s Church News.

In particular, can we all be sharing the digital invite for our Sunday morning service.


Copyright © 2020 Community Church Putney | Site design CCP Creative Team

Community Church Putney is a registered Charity: (1158141). A limited company registered in England (09012734)