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Keeping Erasers Handy

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
February 16, 2021 12:00 am

Keeping Erasers Handy

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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February 16, 2021 12:00 am

When asked by His disciples how often they should forgive others, Christ answered, “seventy times seven.” In this message Stephen shows us why living by this divine equation can save a broken marriage, a struggling church, and—more importantly—a dying world.

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Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.

Same word used for the action of Agape in 1 Corinthians 13. Blessed is the man whose sins have literally been erased from the ledger of God's accounting. In other words, those who are reconciled to God through Christ have had their files of sin cleared out because of his great love.

Beloved, your record is completely clean. When it comes to our relationship with God, our sins, which are many, are completely forgiven. That's true for all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. But one of the struggles we have as God's children is that it's not easy to extend forgiveness to other people who have wronged us. Carrying a grudge, refusing to forgive, and holding on to resentment are destructive and are counter to how God describes true love. We're going to learn more about the relationship between love and forgiveness today.

This is wisdom for the heart and Stephen's message is called, Keeping Erasers Handy. How do you chip away at a relationship, either in marriage or in ministry or industry? How do you go from I get lost in your eyes to get lost? How do you go from for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to I despise this person and I want to leave him?

It's actually downright easy. It all begins when a person decides to abandon agape and pursue the loves of the world. Do you remember those loves from earlier sessions? Storge is that Greek word for love that says, in general terms, I love you because you're in my family and I'm supposed to love you even though I don't like you. I love you. I'll sing at your funeral but I don't want to go on vacation with you.

Christmas is hard enough, right? Another common word for love is philia which says I love you because you love everything I love. We love the same music. We both love to hike, travel.

We both love crossword puzzles, the same design and furniture. In fact, our initials, when you put them together spell honey or sugar. Eros says I love you because you make my heart beat fast and you meet my needs. Agape, however, is this new term found outside of scripture, not even in one clear illustration, but the pages of scripture are filled with it. This is the selfless intellectual commitment of the life and heart to serve and meet the needs of another. Agape says I love you and will commit my heart to meeting your needs. Agape is a relationship that is laced with grace. Agape is a church body marked with humility and deference. Agape is a marriage without a back door. Everybody wants this kind of love, don't they?

The internet chat room promised it. People are searching for it. People want to be loved by it. I really believe after studying these words even further that philia and eros and storge are really nothing more than the longing for agape to undergird them.

How come so few have it? Well, in the next phrase of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul will answer that question. And in the process, he will deliver an assignment that effectively keeps agape alive. As you're turning to 1 Corinthians 13, I warn you this is one of the toughest assignments in the list. It's only for those who are willing to surrender to pursue this lifestyle of love. This lifestyle that Paul said at the end of chapter 12 is the most excellent pursuit of life. This is the most excellent way to live. The assignment to keeping agape alive, I'll tell you ahead of time, is in refusing to keep score. Paul writes in the very last phrase of verse 5 where we left off our study, agape does not take into account a wrong suffered.

Oh my. Now you know why we struggle with loving like this. Because we naturally keep a running score. You know you create a mental file room where you store all the offenses and injuries and hurts and you oil the hinges on those doors so they can slide open easily and often. The loves of the world keep a record of wrongs.

Resentment has an absolutely amazing memory. The verb Paul uses here is actually an accounting term that refers to making entries in a ledger. It literally can mean to count, to add up, to impute to an account. It's one of Paul's favorite words.

You could translate this particular phrase here this way. Agape, this kind of love does not keep books on evil. Agape refuses to tally points. It refuses to record offenses in a mental file. It refuses to keep a journal of injustices. It refuses to maintain some sort of silent witness against the injuries and the wounds of life. I said it would be a tough assignment. But this is how you go from loving someone and wanting to leave someone.

You keep a list nearby. This is what breaks down relationships and friendships. Everyone in this auditorium has been hurt by some form of evil or some kind of unkindness. Everyone has to struggle with forgiveness. Everyone has to let go of bad memories and give up any desire or even the imagination of revenge. But the truth remains, naturally, we enjoy nursing old wounds, don't we? We enjoy nursing our wrath to keep it warm. Agape says, fire the nurse.

Move her out. She set up shop in your heart and she's doing great damage. The choice becoming between becoming a loving person and a resentful person is found in this little phrase.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered a debt that you can't seem to pay off that wasn't yours to begin with. It plagues you. A parent or a boss or a coach that was unfair. Prejudice or partiality that brought you pain. A board member that made your life miserable. A jury that found the innocent guilty, the guilty innocent. A business partner failing to act with integrity and smearing your reputation.

A doctor making the wrong diagnosis. The other guy or gal at work that got the credit you deserved. A neighbor who treats you rudely. A friend who turned on you. A child or a parent who won't speak to you. True love refuses the urge to write that stuff down for keeps. It will not take into account a wrong suffered.

It will not put it into the ledger. What this means is you've got to keep a mental eraser handy. A big one. And you've got to be ready to use it often. Daily as a matter of fact.

Sometimes moment by moment. Otherwise your ledger will easily fill up over time. And every day there are new additions of wrong that can be added to the list that ledger fills up. This assignment here is not difficult.

It is impossible. We're always losing our eraser, aren't we? Or wears down.

We got plenty of pencil left. I love that scene where Peter asked the Lord Lord. How often should a man forgive someone who offends him. Seven times. Peter's patting himself on the back because the rabbis of Christ today were teaching that a righteous man would forgive an offense from the same person three times. So Peter doubles it throws one in for good measure and says Lord. You know I suppose since we're following you and you are the Messiah that we ought to we ought to forgive people seven times.

I'd be good wouldn't it. The Lord said to him I tell you forgive that man 70 times. Seven. And you can kind of see Peter doing the math. Four hundred and ninety times. No wonder Luke in his gospel account records that immediately after Jesus Christ said that all of them said to the Lord Lord increase our faith. That's the biblical way of saying you've got to be kidding. Four hundred and ninety times. The Lord's point was this don't carry a calculator.

You know as soon as you hit 490. That's it. We're done. No forgive. He is saying as a way of life. Can you imagine the same person offending you in the same way.

Four hundred and ninety times. The point is don't keep a record. Don't hold a grudge as a matter of practice. Don't don't add up this account in your heart as a matter of surrender to the Spirit of God. You know what the disciples were thinking.

Probably then. How in the world are we going to get an eraser that big. Demonstrate that kind of grace and forgiveness.

Lord we don't make erasers that big in Galilee. So the Lord will go on and he will tell them in that account that when you recognize what God has chosen to forget regarding your own account. It will actually help you in forgiving others. Because no one has sinned against you as much as you have sinned against him. You see this is the gospel of agape. Paul used the same word by the way that he used in First Corinthians 13 doesn't ledger some offense. He used it in Romans 4 8.

Listen to this amazing erasure of redemption. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account. Same word used for the action of agape and First Corinthians 13 5. Blessed is the man.

That's an understatement. Blessed is the man whose sins have literally been erased from the ledger of God's accounting. Paul used the same verb again when he wrote to the Corinthians and second Corinthians 5 19. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself not counting their sins against them. In other words those who are reconciled to God through Christ have had their files of sin cleared out. Beloved your record is completely clean because of his great love in atoning for your record of sin. In fact however as I thought about this the ledger isn't completely clear. If you take a closer look in the place of sins which we have committed against God is the deposit of Christ's righteousness which has been imputed.

Same word translated a little differently to our account. The same accounting word the righteousness of Christ has been credited. It has entered into our personal account in the ledger of God.

Romans 4 11. That's like taking your checkbook and discovering as you look at it you don't have any money. You don't have to use your imagination for this illustration. OK. You're flat broke. Then you go to the bank to ask them if they'll not charge you overdraft fees because it took three days before you realized you were overdrawn.

Speaking hypothetically here just coming to my mind. But the bank manager comes out shake your hand gives you a handful of candy. He's smiling.

That's never happened before. And you say well what are you so happy about. He says Oh listen evidently Bill Gates got your account number and transferred into your empty account all of his wealth. Imagine now the readout fresh from the teller the banker standing right there you see a deposit a billion dollars plus. Oh my goodness. You can drive right past the dollar store now.

You go straight to Target. You're loaded with cash. You imagine that. Listen Jesus Christ credited to your account the wealth of his righteousness. You didn't have any. All you had in that account was sin. He withdrew that and paid all the administrative fees against you. And then he deposited he transferred his righteousness. He imputed it. He credited it. He deposited it into your account. Same word used in First Corinthians 13.

Now let me ask a practical question. Does this forgiving mean forgetting. Can anyone truly forget offenses and insults and hurts and pains.

No Paul doesn't say look again in First Corinthians. He doesn't say don't ever get hurt. Don't be offended. Ignore the pain. He says keep your eraser moving. Choose to love which means choose to forget.

That's different. Webster a believer caught the biblical nuance of this word when he defined the word forget. Listen to this to cease to remember to leave behind to fail to think of to neglect either carelessly or willfully to cease thinking of something. It can be an act of the will. This is the willing forgetfulness of offenses.

We tend to record our offenses in granite and our blessings in sand don't we. And at what great cost to our peace of mind and to the joy of our salvation. Wayne Grudem writing specifically to a church setting which of course works in other settings but he says this where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians.

Many small offenses and even some large ones are overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking every word is viewed with suspicion every action is liable to misunderstanding and conflicts abound. This works not just in the church but in the home in the marriage on the campus in the shop in the neighborhood and in the boardroom. Can we learn how to love like this. Yes. In fact it's no coincidence that the Spirit of God would inspire Peter of all apostles.

He would be the one to write keep fervent in your love for one another because love agape covers a multitude of what of sins. You say but I just can't forget. I just can't seem to cover it up. You're right. You can't.

Agape is impossible. This assignment might be the toughest one in your life for you to surrender to the spirit who will himself accomplish it in your life. Why. Because he happens to be a great forgetter. Hebrews chapter 8 verse 12 speaks of him who chooses to remember our transgressions no more. That means he's choosing to forget. He's ceasing to remember willfully he's choosing to neglect the thought of the record of our sin. Jeremiah 31 34. God says I will forgive their iniquity and their sin. I will remember no more. Does God forget anything.

No. He's choosing to act as if the ledger is indeed in fact clear and clean beloved we allow God to do the erasing when we surrender to his spirit when we refuse to keep score we actually end up winning don't we. Peace joy release freedom. We ultimately win. The one who keeps a list will only break his heart over and over again. He's going to relive that offense.

He's going to feel over and over again the pain of that insult or that injury. Agape is the key to escape the prison cell of our own making that leads us to bitterness and resentment. Agape is the way out. It is the way on. It is the way up.

It is the only way. Every week this author wrote Kevin tunnel was required to mail one dollar to a family he'd hurt deeply. This article read they had sued him for one point five million dollars but settled for nine hundred and thirty six dollars to be paid to them one dollar at a time.

The family was to receive the payments over the course of 18 years. They didn't want to forget what he'd done. He'd gotten drunk. He drove his car into their daughter's car killing her on the first Friday of January.

Tunnel was convicted of manslaughter spent time in jail seven years campaigning against drunken driving even though the courts required only one year. He added six years to it but he often often forgot to send his dollar to this family in time. Four times the family took him to court. He insisted he wasn't defying the order.

He even offered to give the family two boxes of checks made out covering the payments until the year 2001 an extra year thrown in. They denied his request. They didn't want him to forget. They didn't want to forgive. It wasn't about money. It was a weekly reminder. They wanted to haunt him with nine hundred and thirty six reminders over the course of 18 years to haunt him wherever he lived wherever he went that he had taken their daughter's life. There would be no forgetting and certainly no forgiving. This author asked.

Few people would question the resentment of this family and their grief. But. Are nine hundred and thirty six payments. Enough. When they receive the final payment will they be able to put the matter to rest.

Who hasn't really been able to forget. Is 18 years worth of restitution. Sufficient. And the answer would be.

No. This family had sentenced themselves to a life of private haunting. They were the ongoing victims and every Friday for 18 years.

They suffered all over again their hatred. Toward this young man. When I read that I thought of how grateful we ought to be ladies and gentlemen that God doesn't require us to. Pay back our offenses.

Against him. One dollar at a time. One prayer at a time. One act of penance at a time. This is the agape of God. Against whom we have sinned. This is the forgiveness of Jesus Christ whom we put to death. This is the amazing nature of him choosing to forget the weight of our offenses that it was my sin.

Oh. The bliss. Of this glorious thought. My sin not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I can forget about it.

I bear it no more. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Oh my soul. Listen the willingness to accept this assignment of agape and live with an eraser handy comes only when we stay near the cross of Christ. Recognize our own sin.

Which he has chosen to forget. And then imitate him. Without Christ we cannot love like this.

We can't even begin. We cannot experience true love until we experience the love of Christ. And then to demonstrate that love requires surrender to the spirit of God. Toward those who have sinned.

Against us. I close with this prose. We are most like wild animals when we devour and kill. We are most like.

Men. When we criticize. And condemn. We are most like Christ. When we forgive.

And choose. To forget. Is there anyone you need to forgive? I trust God will help you apply this lesson today. You've been listening to Wisdom for the Heart with Steven Davey. I'm Scott Wiley. Steven's working through a series on love from First Corinthians 13.

Today's lesson is called Keeping Erasers Handy. You know it's always encouraging for us to know that you're listening. We'd enjoy having you introduce yourself to us. You can send Steven a note if you address it to Wisdom for the Heart P.O. Box 37297 Raleigh, North Carolina 27627. We publish a magazine that we send as a gift to all of our wisdom partners. And we'd be honored to send you three months of that magazine as our gift to you. Again our address is Wisdom for the Heart P.O. Box 37297 Raleigh, North Carolina 27627. There's also a place on our website where you can sign up.

Just navigate to and you'll see a button at the top that says Magazine. You can fill out the form and we'll get three issues out to you. Of course you can also call us. We're in the eastern time zone. Our number is 866-48-Bible.

Numerically that's 866-482-4253. Our email address is info at Again thank you for being with us today. We'll be back in God's Word next time as we continue through this series here on Wisdom for the Heart. We'll be right back.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-05 20:04:47 / 2023-12-05 20:12:56 / 8

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