What Forgiveness Means

Text: Psalms 103

 

I.         When we forgive, we need to do as God has forgiven us - Ephesians 4:32

            A.        Our forgiveness depends on our forgiving others - Matthew 6:14-15

            B.        But forgiveness is not empty words. It means something

II.        Forgiveness returns joy to the forgiven - Psalms 103:1-5

            A.        When someone injures us we are to rebuke him and when he repents, forgive him - Luke 17:3-4

            B.        Repentance is a change - II Corinthians 7:10-11

                        1.         The person doesn’t like who he was. He might even be disgusted with his past behavior.

                        2.         Guilt bothers the person

            C.        But true forgiveness releases the burden from the person. It is healing. It is restoring.

III.       God’s Forgiveness

            A.        It isn’t arbitrary. The forgiveness is just and right - Psalms 103:6

                        1.         Forgiveness because it is the right thing to do

                        2.         God is just because He treats us all the same - Romans 3:21-26

            B.        Forgiveness is a learning experience - Psalms 103:7

                        1.         We come to realize that God’s ways are right and that there are good reasons behind His Laws - Deuteronomy 10:12-13

                        2.         We also learn from our mistakes. We learn to be more careful.

            C.        God won’t dwell on this - Psalms 103:8-9

                        1.         God is not a “I’ll forgive you, but I won’t forget it” person.

                        2.         He doesn’t fume over it. He doesn’t constantly review it.

                        3.         When God forgives, He puts it out of His mind - Jeremiah 31:34

            D.        God won’t always strive - Psalms 103:9

                        1.         The ESV says “He will not always chide.”

                        2.         Some won’t let the past go. It becomes a barrier to moving forward.

                        3.         Now sometimes I might be caught up in a bad habit and I may need reminding that I’m going down the wrong path again, but such reminders aren’t needed when I’m walking the straight and narrow way.

            E.        God gives us less than we deserve - Psalms 103:10

                        1.         One cannot forgive – to release from a debt – and then demand that the debt be paid.

                        2.         Forgiveness is releasing the debt before it is fully paid.

                        3.         This is not to say God ignored or excused my sins. I have to stop incurring debt; I have to stop sinning - I John 1:9

                        4.         At the same time, we need to remember that consequences of sins can’t always be erased.

            F.        God doesn’t let forgiven sins stand between Him and man - Psalms 103:11-12

                        1.         Sin creates a barrier - Isaiah 59:1-2

                        2.         But forgiveness removes that barrier

                        3.         Forgiveness doesn’t improve a relationship by itself, but now there is a chance for the damage to be repaired.

IV.      Motivated by Sympathy

            A.        God knows we are like children - Psalms 103:13

                        1.         Notice again that it is for those who fear God.

                        2.         We aren’t talking about people who don’t care to be forgiven, or who think they’ve done nothing wrong.

                        3.         Yet, all of us sometimes haven’t let childish ways go. We lose our tempers, that selfish streak arises, etc.

                        4.         This is not to excuse sin, but to remember that we all have are weak moments and need to grow - I John 1:8, 10

            B.        God knows we don’t live long - Psalms 103:14-16

                        1.         Life is too short for men to hold grudges. Too short to let a matter remain unforgiven

                        2.         The one offering forgiveness doesn’t want any regrets

            C.        God knows we are trying - Psalms 103:17-18

V.        Praise God for His Works - Psalms 103:19-22

            A.        Now what about you? Are you forgiving others as God forgives you?

Based on an article by Edwin Crozier