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February 16, 2022 3:00 am
What is it, most importantly, that causes relationships to be sustained over the long haul.
In a word, it is forgiveness. It is forgiveness. Why do I say that well first of all because you're married to failure together, but that doesn't mean all families today are truly close as they should be. That may even be true in your home, your Christian home. So how do you knit your family together and experience true unity and what's the benefit of that sort of togetherness. How difficult is it to pull your family together. What are your responsibilities.
Those are vital issues and John MacArthur considers them today on grace to you as he shows you the key to maintaining family unity. That's the title of today's lesson. And here's John what is it, most importantly, that causes relationships to be sustained over the long haul. In a word, it is forgiveness. It is forgiveness. Why do I say that well first of all, because no matter who you're married to their going to fail you going to offend you going to misunderstand you to misinterpret what you mean by what you do you are going to offend them.
You are going to sin against them. You are going to disappoint them. This is true in any kind of relationship because we are sinful creatures we are fallen creatures and what essentially keeps that from destroying relationships is forgiveness. Forgiveness. In fact, in Proverbs chapter 19 in verse 11 it says that it is a man's glory to overlook a transgression never is a man more lofty or more noble then when he forgets and frankly we live in a society that would not accept this would not acknowledge it, and consequently relationships are flying apart all over the place we live in a sad pathetic society on the road this really total self-destruction in one of the main contributors to that self-destruction is a disdain for forgiveness. People are filled with bitterness filled with anger filled with hate filled with vengeance toward others.
They believe that retaliation somehow is a virtue that getting back is somehow right and healthy. Such attitudes are approved in our culture approved on every front air approved by counselors and psychologists to tell us we need to vent you to tell people what they need to hear. We need to make sure that we don't keep our anger in but we explode when necessary so we don't carry it around.
Such attitudes are exalted in the heroes of our culture who have an in your face kind of mentality. There are those in our society who go around killing people because they feel they have been somehow missed treated or abused by cultural inequities and so they get their pound of flesh by random execution. The worst case, of course, is those kinds of vengeance which take lives coming along behind that of the lawsuits about 300,000 lawsuits a year in America for every piece of flesh that people can get anyway and every way that people can seek vengeance, they will seek it. We have 70% of the world's lawyers just to keep up with the number of lawsuits even the people helpers the counselors and psychologists will tell us it is not healthy to forgive and her popular book called toxic parents, one that I'm sure you haven't read, but it's quite an interesting book Susan forward wrote the book and she presents what is really the prevailing attitude toward forgiveness in our culture.
She has a chapter in the book entitled, you don't have to forgive. She says we should place the blame for our present problems on our parents because that's where it belongs. They poisoned us.
We all had toxic parents and the new cry as I am a victim. It's not my fault and I'm not responsible guilt for anything and everything is pushed off on others left there until vengeance exhausts itself is really no place for forgiveness. In fact, it's often suggested that forgiveness is unhealthy. It's sort of wimpy sort of cowardly. We've all been oppressed, abused, victimized, and we are about to forgive anybody but the price of vengeance is extremely high.
The price of unforgiveness is really severe me tell you some of the things that unforgiveness does. Unforgiveness imprisons people in the past so he mean by that. Well, as long as you are unwilling to forgive offenders and their offenses you are shackled to them both.
As long as you are unwilling to forgive the offender and the offense you keep it alive. The pain is there. You're picking at an open sore keeping it from healing when you won't forget you are sentencing yourself to go through life feeling as bad now as you did in the past when the offense was committed with no end in sight you choose to love-hate and cultivated through your life. Unforgiveness imprisons you in the pain of your past. Secondly, unforgiveness inevitably produces deep bitterness and infectious cancer in the heart.
Such bitterness is malignant. It is devastating. It brings those malignant thoughts. Those harassing memories that distort how you see life anger rages out of control emotions become unbridled and un-checked and you entertain desperate ideas for revenge. Every conversation becomes a forum for slandering the person you hate for defamation and even for lies know unforgiveness is a very very severe thing will shackle you to the pain of your past will provide for you a deep bitterness on the other hand, forgiveness brings complete freedom from the pass and from bitterness in the present. When you study the Bible, there is a lot in it about forgiveness. In fact, there are 75 word pictures for forgiveness in the Bible. Let me give you just a few of the to forgive is to turn the key, opened the cell door and let the prisoner walk free. That's one medical to forgive is to write in large letters across a debt. Nothing owed. The Bible says it.
To forgive is to pound the gavel in a courtroom and declared not guilty. To forgive is to shoot an arrow so high and so far it can never be found again to forgive is to take out the garbage and dispose of it once and for all leaving the house fresh and clean.
To forgive is to loose the anchor and set the ship free to sale to forgive is to grant a full pardon to a condemned and sentence criminal to forgive is to loosen a stranglehold on a wrestling opponent to forgive is to sandblast a wall of graffiti leaving it looking brand-new. To forgive is to smash a clay pot into a thousand pieces so it could never be put back together again. Those are just some of the word pictures in the Bible about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a marvelous, virtuous, liberating, loving attitude and act. It makes sense to forgive. It is healthy. It is wholesome. It is liberating it is sensible it relieves tension and brings peace.
It solicits love and again I say it is man at his noblest, it is his glory to overlook a transgression and I'll tell you something no relationship can survive the absence of forgiveness.
If you don't forgive continually you will accumulate bitterness that will destroy any and every relationship now there are some compelling biblical theological and spiritual reasons why we are to forgive and I want to talk to you about beyond the sheer virtue of it beyond the sheer knowability of it. Let me show you a few of the compelling motives for forgiveness number one. Forgiveness is the most godlike act.
A person can do. Forgiveness is the most godlike act. A person can do no act is more like God then forgiveness, never, are you more like him.
Then when you forgive someone who has offended you forgiveness is a verbally declared personally. Granted, promise is a statement of undeserved unearned love that affirms to an offender that there is no anger, no hatred, no desire for vengeance.
No retaliation because guilt has been removed. Blame has been removed. There is no self-pity and there is no bitterness and that is precisely the attitude of God toward sinners, God grants to us in Scripture verbally declared personally given promise of undeserved and unearned love that affirms that he is no longer angry no longer carries hatred or a desire for vengeance that there will be no retaliation, no condemnation because guilt and blame and shame have been removed. That's the attitude of God toward those who put their faith in him. Listen to this character of God, extolled in Scripture Exodus 34 verse six then the Lord passed by in front of him. That is Moses and proclaimed the Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin that is characteristic of God. So we say never. Are we more like God than when we forgive Psalm 32. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity. Psalm 85 says essentially the same. Psalm 130 all throughout Scripture we read of God's forgiveness. He remembers our sins no more. He buries them in the depths of the sea removes them as far as the east is from the west, but if you want the V appear to be of testimony to the forgiveness of God, you need only to read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 that son was not unlike many sons, greedy, anxious to get his hands on wealthy had not earned humanly foolish in the way he sprinted he disdained his father really hated his father went out living with those who exploited him and left him in the misery of his own sin when the money ran out, slowly came to his senses while feeding the pigs and his experience in the pigsty was kind of a mirror of his life he awaken one day and said my father servants look better than I and he said I will go to my father didn't expect forgiveness really just wanted to say what a balmy been and asked if he could be a slave. He didn't want to last to be a son.
He figured he forfeited that all he wanted was a roof over his head and a little better food than the pigs were getting.
So we started on the road back. You remember the story, Jesus uses that story to teach us how to forgive you. Don't wait even for the sinner to arrive. When you see them far off you room the medium and when he starts to say he's sorry you silenced him with an embrace and a kiss and you embrace him and love him and put them into the best garment and put the best ring on his finger and get the best meat out of the freezer and cook up the best meal you've got. Start the music get the friends there and the family and proudly invite them to be.
Indeed your return son. That's all God forgives lavishly grandiose sleep. Lord also warns us that acting this way will be greatly misunderstood and it'll be greatly unappreciated, even by one's own family. You remember the son who didn't run away. The water stayed home, pounded and called his father a fool for forgiving is stupid wasteful brother want to be sent back to the pigsty of his own foolish making a not forgiven but the forgiving father can only say that he loves us and will always love the sun even though the sun is committed gross offenses against him. He will forgive them fully and completely for the sheer joy of reconciliation for the sheer exhilaration of restoration. Jesus being executed on the cross as father forgive them. They know not what they do. Stephen so godlike being crushed beneath the blood he stones it pummeled his body said father lay not this sin to their charge.
Sir Thomas Moore was Lord Chancellor of England after having been tried at Westminster and condemned to death with no just cause, said this to his judges as he stood before them, and I quote, as the apostle Paul held the close of those who stoned Stephen to death, and as they are both now saints in heaven, and shall continue their friends forever so I verily trust shall therefore most heartily pray that though your lordships have now here on earth been judges to my condemnation. We may nevertheless hereafter cheerfully meet in heaven in everlasting salvation." That's godlike to have such a forgiving spirit toward your executioners. God has been overtly blatantly unjustly offended, blasphemed and dishonored, and yet longingly eagerly forgives just for the sheer joy and glory of reconciliation. That is, by the way, Paul's salient point in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Chapter 5 verse one therefore be imitators of God, you imitate God when you forgive. This is a call to God likeness be a forgiving person.
It's hard to destroy a relationship if you continually forgive every offense. Colossians 313 pulses bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. It is godlike to forgive. Beloved in your marriage. You are headed for major disaster. If you continually accumulate hostility because of offenses. If you continue to allow those bitterness is to develop, but whenever there's an offense and immediate forgiveness. It's disappearing, it's gone. That's the key to any relationship.
Children same toward your parents. Parents same toward your children brother and sister, brother and brother sister and sister.
It's the same situation. Forgiveness. Forgiveness because that is like God practice the godlike virtue. Second, in thinking about motives for forgiveness is not murder only, which is forbidden by the sixth commandment is not murder only, which is forbidden by the sixth commandment. The sixth commandment thou shalt not kill involves much more than just the idea of murder. You say well how do you know that because that Jesus made that very clear. Matthew chapter 5. Listen to verses 21 and 22 you have heard that the ancients were told, you will not commit murder, you shall not commit murder that was the command, and whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court. In other words, if you commit murder you've committed a crime and you're liable to the court's verdict against you but Jesus said, I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court. In other words, the point is not only that God says don't kill but implied in that is the motive or the attitude that results in that namely hatred, Jesus is. I'm telling you don't even be angry with your brother don't even say rock to your brother, don't say you fool rock was some kind of an epithet. We have a number of those kinds of curses that we put on people when people are angry rock was one from ancient times, you fool. Another Jesus said when I refer to the commandment you shall not kill him, including all of that all of that anger and wrath, malice, lack of forgiveness, desire for revenge vengeance. It's all included in the sixth commandment. And I say again, it is not murder only, which is forbidden by the sixth commandment all anger, all wrath all malice, all evil intent.
All bitterness, all of that, Jesus, you see, when he said if you even are angry you even say a curse word toward someone or call someone a fool you are a murderer at heart when he said that he swept away all self-righteous.
He unmasked the heart rock was a slanderous thing to say a common epithet with no no modern equivalent except that it seems though as though those kinds of epithets always like to use hard consonants a term of abuse and derision and arrogant contempt and hate you fool, was to call someone godless to curse them to say you're guilty enough to go to hell if you are angry with someone confess it as an iniquity. If you seek vengeance toward someone confess it as a sin. Recognize that your lack of forgiveness is sinful. It is selfish that you must put your selfishness aside because it is exactly that undeserved affection for yourself that makes you aggravate the faults of others who offend you understand that the reason you're so mad about what someone did to you is because you have an elevated opinion of yourself. If you really want to know what you deserve. It's hell. Anything else is just benefit be humble enough so that no offense against you is worthy of hate. No offense against you is worthy of forgiveness because you see yourself as nothing. The opposite of self-esteem. All the self-esteem cult does is feed this monster by giving people permission have an elevated view of themselves so that anything against them in any way shape or form, however trivial or minimal is cause for great aggravation and justifiable offense kill your selfishness. I say again, it is exactly that undeserved affection for yourself that makes you aggravate the faults of others who offend you. Be aware of the fact that God has commanded. Not only that you not kill, but that you not have a murderous attitude. Thirdly, and this is a very important point when you talk about forgiveness.
You must remember, thirdly, that whoever has offended you, has offended God greater whoever has offended you as offended God greater. Sometimes I hear somebody say I'm getting out of this marriage. I have a hat. It I am up to my ears in this.
I'm not going to take this another day. I'm not living with this and they think that that's the ultimate offense against them when the reality of it is that if there has been sin in the life of that person who has offended you.
It has offended God far greater than it has offended you, and listen.
If God, who is the most holy has forgiven Kim, the greater offense can't use the least holy, forgive him the lesser. Whatever it is that that sinful spouses done against you. Here she is done against God and God forgive us fully totally freely completely and of God, who is the most holy and the most offended can forgive.
Can you the least.
Holy and the least offended not forgive. Now God is the one most severely syndicates in any situation. Any sin is most severely against him. We frankly are somewhat incidental. So what if it offended me. That's really incidental to the main issue in God who is so severely offended. Forgive so readily. How can we so minimally offended not for this is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. He's also been grace to use the featured speaker for 53 years now, and in all those years of ministry.
Few messages have been requested more than the one you heard today. It's titled the key to maintaining family unity. Now you know John, it's possible that you've brought some listeners face-to-face with their past today and maybe it's a family situation where they should've offered forgiveness but they didn't. Is it ever too late to undo damage that's done by a lack of forgiveness it's never too late to to be forgiving.
It's never too late. First of all, freeze your own soul. And I wrote the book the freedom and power of forgiveness and when I chose that title the kind of surprise some people, why, why would you give so much credit to forgiveness that it produces freedom and power because that's exactly what it does, it frees a person from bitterness from hostility from thoughts of vengeance, retaliation, which just eats people alive, and it has the power to restore a relationship. Maybe even to a higher level than it was before the offense so I just would love every believer to understand the freedom and power of forgiveness. You all have issues in your life where you have conflict with some people.
We all do I do and I wish that people would come and be restored. I wish that people didn't feel the way they do about me or somebody in my family and we all deal with that and that can be very destructive in your life and in the lives of others. So the pathway to meaningful relationships always goes through forgiveness because were always going offend were sinful and what destroys relationships in the end is not some offense, but the lack of forgiveness. If you want a full rich life and you want to be restored in relationships. You need to be forgiving in this book will help you with that. You can order a copy of the freedom and power of forgiveness from Grace to you. That's right. And this is a great book. The freedom and power of forgiveness takes a practical look at all aspects of forgiveness showing you how to forgive others and how to understand God's forgiveness of you and is really an important book. Order your copy today. Call 855 grace or visit our website TTY.org. The title again the freedom and power of forgiveness. It is also available in Spanish. Like many of John's books you purchase yours when you call toll-free 855 grace or visit TTY.org and let me remind you that you'll find a number of sermons on forgiveness available for free at our website log on to TTY.org search our sermon archive as 3500 total messages they cover every verse in the New Testament and much of the old you'll find also daily devotionals the grace to you. Television program, and much more. All of it email@example.com and to keep up-to-date with what's ahead on our radio broadcast. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and check out our YouTube channel now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson encouraging you to watch grace to you television this weekend with your family. Check your local listings were channeling times and be back tomorrow for more practical tips on how you can make your home a place of harmony and peace. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you