Getting Past Your Past: Part 2 – Forgiveness

Welcome to part 2 of Getting Past Your Past. We’ve all heard the old saying “You can’t change the past”, but this series isn’t about changing the past. It’s about changing the way the past affects us. Everybody here has a past, and I’d wager that everybody here has at least one thing from their past they need to get past.

And for a lot of us, the thing from our past that we need to get past is how somebody hurt us. Anybody here who’s never been hurt by anybody? Anybody? Notice, no hands go up, at least no hands of nobody that’s not lying right now. If you’re over the age of three, you’re going to say, “Of course, somebody’s hurt me.” It’s so universal an experience it’s almost a stupid question to ask, isn’t it?

We have all held on to grudges. Where we didn’t want to forgive someone, and we wanted to hold onto the grudge. We choose to hold on, to dig in, and to almost intentionally remember. We feel like if we hold onto this hurt, it gives us some control and we will gain something by withholding forgiveness. We think that if we choose to forgive, we will somehow be justifying this unthinkable act that we have experienced.

How do we get past the hurt in our past? That’s what this week is all about. The main thing is finding a way to forgive, but that’s a more complicated subject than it seems. So we are going to break it down, and at the end of the message, we will tell you how to do it. The important thing to remember is that not forgiving is detrimental to us, not just those who have hurt us.

Big Idea: When we don’t forgive, it poisons us and poisons our relationships.

Check out the sermon manuscript or watch online to see the whole message.

Download the Group Discussion Guide here.

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Reasons to Forgive:

1. Because unforgiveness hurts me.
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and to defile many. – Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)

“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person.”
—Anne Lamott

2. Because I will need forgiveness again.
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven
Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. – Matthew 18:23-24 (NLT)

Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” – Matthew 18:32-35 (NLT)

3. Forgiveness frees us.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)

How to Forgive
1. Pray For Them.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! – Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT)

2. Forgive as you have been forgiven.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  – Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

3. Forgive and move on.
Love keeps no record of being wronged. – 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)


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