Sermon by Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: Letting Go, the Art of Forgiveness, Week 3 – “The Heart of Forgiveness”
Forgiveness is not an exact science. It’s an art.
“Forgiveness is the one thing we can do that successfully unchains us from our past, invites God’s peace into our present, and gives God the space to shape our future into His glorious purpose.”
Dr. E. Dale Locke
- Pastor Dale pointed out that Satan loves to lie to us about our sins and try to make us doubt that God could forgive and love us, in order to chain us to our past. But God wants to unchain us from our past mistakes and sins. What has helped you grow in your assurance that God has forgiven your past sins?
- True forgiveness involves 7 Steps broken into 3 Movements. Pastor Trevor spoke on the first movement last week:Movement 1: Preparing to Forgive:
Step 1: Face the Facts
Step 2: Feel the Hurt
Step 3: Confront our hatePastor Dale added, “We have to take adequate time to grieve over an offense against us and really consider what it cost us, doing an autopsy over our pain. If we don’t, it will pop up when we least expect it.” What did he mean by that? Have you ever experienced this?
Today, Pastor Dale looked at:
Movement 2: The Heart of Forgiveness.
- Read Colossians 3:12-17:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- What do you notice in this passage? What questions or comments come to your mind?
- Look again at verse 12. The expression, “clothe yourselves” indicates that it’s a choice to live out these qualities with God’s help. And when we choose to put them on, we become more forgiving. Jesus modeled these values, and Pastor Dale said that they can change the world. How does living this way change the world?
- Step 1 of the Heart of Forgiveness: Bear the pain
Colossians 3:13 says to “bear with each other.” When we forgive, we choose not to get revenge, but rather to bear the pain of the offense in ourselves. How do you feel about this idea?
- Romans 12:19 quotes the Old Testament where God says, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” God tells His people not to get revenge, but to trust Him to deal in His own way and time with offenses against us. The disciples lived this out, responding to persecution with forgiveness instead of vengeance, and it ultimately caused Rome to fall and the growth of Christ’s Church to explode. Why do you think this way of responding caused the Church to grow so fast?
- When it comes to responding to the offenses against you, if your tendency is to respond the same way a person who doesn’t know Christ would respond – by getting even –Pastor Dale says you’re missing the point. Why does God call Christ-followers to respond differently?
- What enables us to respond differently?
- Step 2 of The Heart of Forgiveness: Release the Offender to God.
Colossians 3:13 says to “…forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Describe how God forgives you. Describe how it makes you feel to be forgiven in this way by God.
- How should an awareness of the quality of God’s forgiveness toward you impact your response to those who hurt you? How are you doing in this area?