gty.org/resources/sermons/90-393

I want to talk to you tonight and next Sunday night about the issue of forgiveness. It probably doesn't come up as often as it should in our discussions from the pulpit here because it is a very, very important issue. What makes it an important issue in the church, and we're talking to believers tonight, we're not so much talking about God's forgiveness toward us as we're talking about our forgiveness toward each other. But it is a very vital and a very essential and a very necessary component of life in the church because the church, even at its best, is a collision of sinners. We all understand that. We are guilty of saying the wrong thing, and behaving in wrong ways. We have all offended people. We have all caused people to stumble. We have all crossed the line of discretion into indiscretion and the way we deal with people and treat people. We have all showed preferential treatment at times. We have all been less than considerate to people in need. We have failed to give to folks what they need at the time they need it. There are many, many points at which sinners collide in the church. And because the church is a very intimate fellowship, only to be exceeded in its intimacy by family, we borrow that image, don't we?, the image of a family. We are seen as God's family and the intimacy then throws us together and we crash into each other and our weaknesses are made manifest and so we are guilty from time to time of offending.

It then becomes essential to the ongoing life of the church, the ongoing joy of believers that we be able to deal with those offenses with an attitude of forgiveness...of forgiveness. In the end, what finally destroys every relationship is an inability to forgive. It isn't the offense that destroys the relationship, it is the inability to forgive that destroys the relationship. Offenses will come. Even our Lord said that. Offenses will come. That's part of living life in a fallen world and dealing even in the church with the people who have not yet been perfected. How we deal with those offenses is what determines the nature of our relationship. It is that way in a marriage. It is that way in a family. It is that way among friends. It is certainly that way in the church....

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