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How Often Should We Forgive?, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2021 7:05 am

How Often Should We Forgive?, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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August 19, 2021 7:05 am

The King's Ministry: A Study of Matthew 14–20

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How do we extend forgiveness to someone who doesn't deserve it? Is it disingenuous to do that when our offender refuses to see their role in hurting our feelings? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll helps us sort through the difficult issues related to forgiving someone, whether or not they choose to participate in reconciliation.

Have someone in mind already? Well, because of the importance of this three-day message, we're beginning today's program with ample review. Chuck titled this practical study in Matthew chapter 18, How Often Should We Forgive? Jesus, the master teacher, never simply gave a quick answer and walked away. He often buttressed the answer with a story. Love stories, you do too.

We love them because they pique our curiosity. Where's this going? So he begins with a comparison, the kingdom of heaven can be compared.

Stop. You hear kingdom of heaven, you think of a place, wrong. Think of a lifestyle. When you want to live the kingdom life, when you want to model the life of Jesus, our word is when you want to be Christ-like, which would be kingdom of heaven being lived in an earthly setting.

So it can be compared to this. So Peter, since you're a follower of mine, I suggest you learn from the story I tell you, and I say in turn that we all learn as Peter learns. And please observe in this story, as is true in most stories, there are three main characters. There is a king who is calling into account those who owe him money. There is a servant who owes him an infinite amount of money, which represents vertical forgiveness.

Don't miss that. As God who has forgiven us all our sins, past, present, future, east to west, all our sins, forgiven, all of them, infinite forgiveness, that's the first servant, that's what he illustrates. And then there's a second servant who is a friend of the servant who has just been forgiven. He owes a few dollars. And the servant who has been forgiven, who has just been forgiven, and the servant who has been forgiven won't forgive him. That's horizontal forgiveness. That's where we are. That's where it applies to us directly.

So let's look. Kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who decides to bring his accounts up to date with servants who owed money, who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. Stop.

Here we are in a story where you're able to imagine, imagine that. No one could repay millions of dollars. And the king is calling it into account, I want the money now.

Impossible. And realizing that he couldn't pay, certainly did not want his wife and children offered as a part of the payment and the misery that would follow. The man falls down and pleads his case. Verse 26, please be patient with me and I will pay it all. Now observe the master. Here's the king. Here is our God. When we come before him as broken people, sinful to the core, falling, failing, repeatedly in the wrong, and we come to him pleading that we be forgiven, and he notices that this man is contrite and broken, and he's filled with pity for him, and he releases him and forgives him the debt. How good is that?

The man is totally forgiven. Free. Released. On his way. It's wonderful.

Magnificent moment. As he leaves the king's presence, he runs into a friend of his, and we read of him beginning at verse 28. A fellow servant who owed him a few dollars, and he grabbed him by the throat, pay me what you owe me. Sounds like the IRS, doesn't it? Pay me what you owe me.

There's no bubble room here. Just a few dollars. So the man falls down and begs him for a little more time, asking for patience, and if you will be patient with me, I will pay it. But his creditor wouldn't wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. It's an imaginary story.

Go with it. The problem with this scene is that it's observed by friends who know the story of the forgiven servant, and when they watch this, it troubles them. Verse 31, they're very upset, so they returned to the king, and they told him everything that had happened. Then the king called the man that he had forgiven and he said to him, you evil servant.

It's our way of saying, what were you thinking? What's the matter with you? I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me, and shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you? It's a good place to pause for a couple of very helpful principles that I want you to forget. First, to refuse to forgive another is hypocritical. Before you rationalize around and start dealing with all the wrong that was done, and as deep as the wrong was, and I'm sure some of it was very injurious, hurt you deeply, broke you, broke others you loved, the ramifications of the wrongdoing you could go on for a long time. I know, I know, I know, but to refuse to forgive another is hypocritical.

Why? Because you have been forgiven an infinite amount. There is not one sin that would be marked against you.

He is able to bring us faultless before his presence with exceeding great joy as we pass from earth to heaven. Not once will he say, stand in the corner until you have done that probation. I've almost taken care of the things that you did. None of that, none of that. It's so foolish, it's not worth going there. It's hypocritical. It's hypocritical to refuse to forgive another.

There's another principle, and it's far more practical. To refuse to forgive inflicts inner torment. Stay there. To refuse to forgive another puts you in your prison.

Look for it. The angry, the angry king sent the man to prison, look, to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. How vivid is the word? I checked the same word elsewhere in Matthew chapter 8 verse 6. It's a reference to someone who is in quote, terrible pain. So it represents terrible pain. It's used in 2 Peter 2 verse 8, referring to Lot who was surrounded and oppressed by the conduct of unprincipled men, where we read that Lot's soul was, and I quote, tormented day after day. This is a torture that torments day after day. Torturers refers to tormentors. One who refuses to forgive another harbors grudges, sustains bitter feelings, which leads to agonizing unrest and sleeplessness, and one builds the walls of his own self-made prison.

Please observe something that is easily overlooked. The story ends at verse 34. Look at your Bible. There is a 35th verse that's not a part of that story, but a part of that imaginative story. It begins with, so shall my heavenly Father do to you. Wait, that's reality.

Verse 35, Jesus adds, that's what my heavenly Father, what's what he will do? Turn you over to torturers. That's why I said earlier, you may have something explained to you today that you've not realized before this day. That explains why you can't sleep well. That explains why you can't seem to get past whatever this unforgiveness journey is that you're on.

So how much longer would you choose to remain in prison? That's a question, and that's a question you can answer. You're the only one that has the key to the cell. No one else has the key. Who could it be?

May I help? It could be your mother or your father. It could be a mother-in-law, father-in-law, a family member who took an unfair advantage of you. It could be your ex-husband or ex-wife, a mother, a mother-in-law, father-in-law, a former boss, former pastor, former coach, an authority figure, an unfair teacher, a roommate, a once trusted friend.

The enemy may have died and be far removed, but here you still with live within that prison. Let it go. Let it go. I want to tell you something that you wouldn't remember. It was 15 years ago, 15 years ago, almost to this date that I preached on the subject, calling it Finding Healing Through Forgiveness. But I preached that sermon differently.

We were in the other building, the multi-purpose room here in our new facilities at the time, new facilities at the time. I asked Cynthia the week before if she would help me with that message and I said I would like for you to to speak. When I finish explaining the passage, I'd like you to give your story. She was reluctant. She didn't feel she was the one to do that. She didn't want to do it. I let it alone.

I said you think about it. If you feel comfortable, your story would be a magnificent story. What you don't know is the horror she lived with in her home when she was growing up with a father that was always angry, always on one occasion tried to kill her mother, beat the children, and then on top of all that, she marries me. And coming with me is a mother-in-law and a father-in-law who never really never really believed I should marry her.

How many stories outside of school can I tell right now, huh? And as a result, there was a gap in our relationship when we began to have children. All kinds of complications arose and Cynthia built up resentment for my mother and I would say I fully understood. Loved my mother, but she was not an easy person to to like on occasion, on a number of occasions, matter of fact. And Cynthia lived with that, plus with the memory of her dad.

Through a wonderful course she took that was destined to change her life, was destined to change her life. She discovered that relief comes and the prison bars are open when she forgives. Even without anyone asking to be forgiven, you don't wait for that, you don't wait for that.

I mean it's nice, but you wait for that, you'll die waiting for most. So without anyone saying anything, she said to me one day, almost out of the blue, when your mother comes over today, I'm going to make things right. I'm going to sit down with her and tell her how much I love her for giving me the husband I have and for providing the home that she did for you and and that I've not handled things well as a young mother and would she please forgive me. My mother was hardly in the door before I left them alone. They were talking and the details of that were between them and I wish she were here to tell her story. And my mother quickly said of course I will forgive you and she was happy to tell a number of her friends that her daughter-in-law had asked forgiveness for.

That's okay, you know, when you do this you don't have any pride, you know, you're not trying to look good, you're trying to find peace. And by the way, peace had come when Cynthia came to terms with this. Three days later my mother died. My mother died. I'll never forget the phone call from my dad and I said I'd be right there and I hung up and I looked at Cynthia.

It's just like it was yesterday. I said, mother's dead. Cynthia's eyes filled with tears and she said, I'm so glad that I made things right. So glad.

Cynthia had suffered a deep depression for the longest time, part of the torturers, struggled in relationships, part of the torturers. All of that was released. You know what? Finding healing through forgiveness became the single most requested message ever delivered at this church and ever offered through Insight for Living. That's something, a message my wife preached. I'm telling you.

But that's our story. What's yours? I know, I know, I know, you'll never come to a pulpit to announce, announce it. You shouldn't. It's not necessarily something that's used for any public reason. This just seemed to fit and it did.

God blessed it. But in your case, as a shepherd of this flock, I long for all of us to have release and relief and to know what life is like outside the bars of our self-made prison. I'd like you to be free of your ex-husband, your former wife, the hatefulness of a person who has made life miserable for you. I'd like you to be able to live without once any further thinking of that individual. But you're the secret. You'll not be able to forgive Carl.

Carl deserved to die as he died and to face eternity as he faced it. That's where I am in that. So we're not dealing with an SS troop, SS soldier. We're dealing with you and with me. Let's go there. Please bow your heads. Let's go there. Please bow your heads. Please don't get up to leave. Please stay right there. Isn't it time, isn't it time for you to pull out that key and turn it in that cell door and release yourself from the awful gall, the acid of resentment, the hate that's eating away at your peace and calmness.

It's time. What a beautiful person you could become. How much easier it would be to be with you and for you to live with yourself. You to live with yourself.

How great it would be for you to be relieved of that depression that has haunted you and haunted you day and night long enough. If you've never trusted in Jesus, trust in him now. And when you do, ask him to give you the courage and the wisdom to release the enemy. Amy Carmichael once wrote, If I say, yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget, as though the God who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love. Oh, such great words. In light of Calvary, release your enemy.

No matter what, forgive, forgive. You may need help from a professional, get help. For goodness sake, get help. You may need a pastor to talk to. Talk to one of us. You may need someone to sit down and help you think through and work through the struggle.

This may have been going on for years. Scars like that are deep. Take time to heal over. But this is the time to begin today. I offer you healing through forgiveness. Thank you, Father, for helping us find relief from the grudges, the ability to erase bitter feelings, to be forever, forever away from the agonizing unrest of torment and hate. Take away the torturing as we go through the process of reaching the person who has held control of our lives long enough, and may we know the joy of freedom at last. In the name of Jesus, we all pray.

Everyone say, amen. Chuck Swindoll has disclosed a deeply personal story of forgiveness and redemption today. And as a result of hearing today's message, we hope you're able to find the same kind of relief as you learn to loosen your grip on resentment. This is Insight for Living. And to discover the resources we have available for today's topic, which comes from Matthew chapter 18, please visit us online at insightworld.org. You know, there's a common thread woven through the tapestry of Insight for Living's 42 years in ministry. Our daily visits together are often punctuated with moments of transparency, authenticity, and grace.

When we're willing to drop our pretenses and open our hearts to the truth of God's Word, that's when biblical truth takes root in our lives. If there's one book in Chuck's collection that embodies the Spirit, it's the one I want to recommend to you today. Chuck wrote a book called The Grace Awakening, and it's helped countless readers around the world have a true encounter with God's grace. As you're ready to begin this adventure of true life in Christ, one that's liberated from legalism and counterfeit faith, then we highly commend this to you.

To purchase a copy of The Grace Awakening, go to insight.org slash offer. Insight for Living touches a lot of lives, and it's because people like you step forward with financial support. Gratefully, our loyal listening family has continued to uphold this historic ministry. And through the grueling pandemic, for instance, and because of your tireless generosity, we haven't missed a single day of sharing this program with you. Please continue to keep up the good work of the great work of the great work of the great work of the keep up the good work, because your faithful giving is truly making a difference. You can give a donation today by calling us. If you're listening in the US, dial 1-800-772-8888.

That's 1-800-772-8888. Or go online to insight.org. Travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in.

Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 6th through 17th, 2022. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides, and we choose the best, along with seminary-trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries' tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. Join us when Chuck Swindoll presents a message called E-Harmony vs. Disharmony, Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, How Often Should We Forgive?, was copyrighted in 2017 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-14 18:01:18 / 2023-09-14 18:09:43 / 8

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