Sermon by Rev. James Harrison Nixon
Forgiveness a topic that has been discussed many times in the church. Sometimes a topic that just seems to be a bullet point of discussion than something we take to heart. It seems though that the message of forgiveness seems to go into one ear and out of the other ear. We can ponder this question all day, as to why one will choose to hold onto the pain that another has caused them instead of move from it. We should be aware that Jesus taught that one must forgive people of their trespasses, not just once but many times. He also made it a point to teach them to do it quickly; as the longer you hold onto something the harder it becomes to let it go.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:14-15 KJV)
The Lord’s Prayer actually mentions forgiveness of others, that is how important forgiving others is. It is so important to give forgiveness that you do not God will not forgive you. If you cannot forgive then God will not forgive you, is it really worth holding on to a grudge? Does your soul mean that little to you that you can face hell? If you want to be forgiven of your sins and be a Christian, yet deny to forgive others how is that fair and how are you being like Jesus? You are not, you are being a hypocrite like the Pharisee of the time of Jesus.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
(Romans 6:3-5 KJV)
See being baptized or saved by grace is means that we are reborn as a new creation in Jesus. Imagine that before we accept the gift of the crucifixion that we are as a caterpillar. We crawl alone hiding, fragile to the world. Finally, we reach a point of a cocoon, the cocoon is the baptism, it is like being submerged into the water or sprinkled by the water. When we come out of the cocoon or come up from the water we are a new creation, we go from caterpillar to butterfly. We go from something that most consider ugly to something that is graceful and beautiful. So as you see when we accept the gift of the cross we become new, we must forgive we must be as Christ as we are new spirit.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
(Romans 6:13-14 KJV)
When we do not forgive someone as stated before we do submit ourselves the evil of the world. When we hold on to the pain of an event that has attacked us it festers in us like a splinter, it and like a wound it becomes infected. The only cure for this type infection though is seeking forgiveness and receiving forgiveness as we are told is to forgive. No matter what the person has done to you, the first thing one must do is forgive. No matter the pain, no matter the struggle forgiveness must be given even if it is not sought out by the person that has trespassed against you. As well when we are weak to do the things we can always ask for help when seeking to forgive a person, Paul spoke of this:
I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.
(Philippians 4:13 KJV)
We are given strength to do the things God wants and needs us to do, we are given the courage to go forth and do the works of Jesus. Yet it is easier for us to speak to a stranger than it is to forgive a person for doing something to us. So I will ask you again, is it better to ask you again. Is it better to live forever in paradise than to die? That is what this comes down to, since we cannot be forgiven if we do not forgive. I repeat this over and over as I want you to understand, forgiveness from God is given freely, yet we must also be able to forgive. Why must we forgive? Because we should be vessels of God.
Do you find it difficult to forgive one who has wronged you? Then you will find it
difficult to get to heaven.