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.
As I was working on this talk, it occurred to me that I have heard all sorts of talks about how we need to forgive people who have hurt us. We did one last weekend ourselves. But there aren’t many talks on the flip side. Let me illustrate what I’m talking about.
If I ask you and just all of you kind of think this through, “How many of you have had someone either lie to you, disappoint you, betray you or hurt you in some way?” How many of you would say, Hands down, someone has done that to me?
Now, if I ask you, “How many of you have done those very same things to other people?” A lot of times we’d be a little more hesitant to admit that we’ve often been the offender; because it’s so easy quite honestly, to play the roll of the victim. That’s why we hear messages over and over and over again in the church, here’s how and why we should forgive those who have hurt us, but it’s so much more rare to talk about owning up to our own offenses to others, and how do we deal with those?
And I wonder how many of us have something from our recent or not-so-recent past—someone we’ve hurt, or someone who feels that we’ve hurt them. Now if forgiving somebody else is something from our past that we need to get past, we also need to understand that when someone hasn’t forgiven us, it can be super harmful as well.
Big Idea: We can get past our past by being people who learn to apologize and ask forgiveness.
Check out the sermon manuscript or watch online to see the whole message.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17 (NLT)
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 (NIV)
How to Apologize
1. “I am Sorry” –Be Specific
2. “I was wrong” –No Excuses
Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are. Do your best to live in peace with everyone.
Romans 12:16, 18 (NCV)
3. “Will you forgive me?” – Change your behavior