Generous with Forgiveness

Our God is excessively generous and this extends to forgiveness. How are our conversations sharing this message with those around us and actions living it out? Listen as we continue our Kingdom Generosity series by looking at how God is generous with forgiveness. We join Paul Kiss as together we dig into Matthew 18:21-35 and Colossians 1:13-14; 2:13; 3:12-14. These passages remind us there is no limit to God’s forgiveness.

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Generous With Forgiveness

Speaker: Paul Kiss
Date: November 24, 2019

There is no limit to God’s forgiveness. He is excessively generous.
Matthew 18:21-35; Colossians 1:13-14; 2:13; 3:12-14

1 | God is excessively generous

● In Love – In Grace – In Mercy – In Beauty – In Goodness – In Forgiveness
● How you see God will determine your behaviour towards him and others.

2 | A story about forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35

The Merciful King
● His first description of the King is often how we view God. Verses: 23-25
● His second description of the King is a depiction of the God we find in Jesus. Verses: 21-22; 26-27
● The King had died to the old way of living – bookkeeping and debts. He died to all of that and now is one who extends generous, excessive forgiveness.

The Unmerciful Servant
● The servant was unable to see how the King died to all the debt that was owed him. He still thought he had done something to erase it and change the King’s heart.

“…the servant has to do nothing more than ask for grace to get grace. It is not that he earns it by extravagantly promising to repay everything at some future date. It is simply that the king cancels the debt for reasons entirely internal to himself.”
— Robert Farrah Capon: Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus.

● The King gave him a new life, which meant dying to his old life, but the servant didn’t recognize it. Nothing changed in his world. He continued bookkeeping.

The Importance of Forgiveness
● This kind of forgiveness is possible when we accept the death of our old life and begin to embrace the new life given to us through the death of the King.
● We are the servant whose debt was cancelled. When we recognize that, we can live a new life that resembles that of the King.

3 | Jesus, Grace and Forgiveness

Colossians 1:13-14

● Jesus shows us that with God, there is no limit to forgiveness because there is no limit to his love and grace. He is excessively generous!

4 | When we need to forgive

Colossians 3:12-14

Who can forgive? [1]
● The one who has been wounded.
● The one who has been wronged.
● The one who has the desire to forgive.

Stages of forgiveness? [2]
● We rediscover the humanity of the person who hurt us.
● We surrender our right to get even.
● We revise our feelings toward the person we forgive.

What forgiveness is.
● Being honest about what happened.
● A journey. Sometimes the journey is long and sometimes it’s short.
● Beautiful.
● Ongoing. It may mean we have to revisit our forgiveness and confirm it again.
● Necessary. We are called to forgiveness, but there is much grace when we struggle to extend forgiveness. Don’t give up trying though.
● Freeing. When you forgive, you release yourself as much as the offender.
● Different for every person and situation.

What forgiveness is not.
● It is not excusing. We blame the person we forgive.
● It is not to forget. We can’t forget what was done to us.
● It is not the same as trust. The thief is forgiven but the cash is locked away now.
● It is not diminishing the injustice of the offence.
● It is not eliminating the consequences.
● It is not the same as reconciliation. “It takes one person to forgive, but two to be reunited.” (Lewis B. Smedes).
● It is not an invitation to the perpetrator to continue hurting you.

[1] Taken from Lewis B. Smedes, The Art of Forgiving.
[2] Smedes.

 

Warming Up:

1. Listen to the following song by Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter: Listen Here. (Lyrics: Read Here)
2. How would you dialogue with someone about the idea of forgiveness, who expressed the sentiments in this song? Think about what has been learned from the sermon, in the Matthew 18 story

Discussing and Learning:

3. Break into 3 groups: Group 1 will read Matthew 18:12-14 and summarize the learning. Group 2 will read Matthew 18:15-20 and summarize the learning. Group 3 will read Matthew 18:21-35 and summarize the learning. (Group 1, your passage is much shorter. Be patient).
4. What is the image of God that is developing from these three passages?
5. What are the connections about forgiveness between the learning from Group 1 and 3 as it relates to Group 2?

Making it Real:

6. If you’re comfortable doing so, tell about a time when someone forgave you for a wrong you had committed against them. How did it feel? How was it helpful?
7. Read Colossians 3:12-14 and discuss how these verses might be lived out within your Home Church or within your family. What will it look like in reality for these to be true of you?

1. Read the book, “The Art of Forgiving,” by Lewis B. Smedes. It is worth the purchase and time to read.
2. Read through the story of Matthew 18:21-31 meditatively this week. Read it each day. Dwell on aspects. Turn it into a prayer for yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand it fully.

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