1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
At this point in our lesson from Jesus on prayer we have seen the following:
We have a privileged relationship from which to speak to God, we are granted access and priority. Our Father
We are to pray to God according to and in respect for His character: Hallowed be Your Name.
We are to pray for God’s purposes to be accomplished: Your Kingdom Come and Will be done.
We are to pray for what we need for life: Give us this day our daily bread.
Now, we move on to relationships. The reason we pray for relationships is that they are key to living a great life. And there are many ways that relationships can give us both joy and trouble. What is it that straightens them out when they don’t go well? Following God’s instructions for forgiveness. And the model for how we are to forgive is God Himself.
- Forgive Us for Our Sins
- Forgiveness starts with us and God
- This makes God the model forgiver
- This sets us in a dependent relationship
- Lots of bad examples managing this
Adam and Eve
Genesis 3: 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
(God allowed the serpent, God allowed the choice. God can always be blamed.) We have to take personal responsibility for our decisions, regardless of the context. When we do, we can begin to move forward.
Saul and the bleating sheep
I Samuel 15:
1Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord.2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”
13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”
15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”
16 “Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”
20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
- I need to know my sin
- To appreciate forgiveness
- To motivate me to be a forgiver
- The importance of confession
When seeking forgiveness, speak about the sin itself. Prove to the offended party that you understand the behavior that is hurtful. Own it. I don’t think you have to promise to never be bad, but you have to demonstrate that you can own your weaknesses and be humble.
Use the example at the disc golf course this past month
- Consider God’s experience
- A created order with a purpose
- Chaotic diminished world and people
- Secondary beauty is still beauty. Grace, Forgiveness, Redemption, Love, Patience, and Service. Because God moves forward with relationship by providing forgiveness, we see these character qualities. Or else we see judgement.
- Look forward in faith and hope and trust the Holy Spirit to enliven what we consider to be secondary things.
- We Also Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us
- This is the hard part
Forgiveness is costly. What did it cost God? Someone must bear the cost. Turn loose the debt.
Forgiveness does not require us exposing ourselves to further injury.
Micah 6:6-8 This is perhaps the best verse in the Bible for how to manage ourselves in relationship with others:
6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
If you follow the admonition of this verse, then you will carry your load and some behavioral load of others.
- Forgiveness is about us and God
Forgiveness helps us to understand God, His grace and His love
Against you and you alone have I sinned. The sins committed against you are also committed against God. If God forgives, and we don’t what does that say about us?
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold (this is an absurd debt, no one could pay it back!) was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. (This is a real debt.) He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
- This is mandatory
In the Matthew prayer instruction, Jesus is even more blunt:
Matt 6: 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
If it is mandatory, then go ahead and right now decide that you will be a person who is quick to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.
Just as in the sermon about God’s kingdom and will, we need to recognize, just like Joseph did that what others mean for evil, God means for good. God will take the wounds of others in your life and make them agents of healing for others. The life that you experience and testify to in spite of the wounds that you have received, will encourage others to trust God.