by Ernest Easley

The Freedom in Forgiving
Ernest L. Easley
Matthew 18.21-35

Now join me tonight in Matthew chapter 18. As you are finding Matthew 18, I want to ask you a question: How long has it been since somebody hurt your feelings? Ripped you off? Stolen from you? Slandered you? Gossiped about you? or just plain offended you?

Well, if you live long enough, sooner or later, you're going to be hurt by somebody you counted on to be your friend!

Here is how Jesus said it in Matthew 18.7, ''Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!''

Plain and simple: you are going to be offended and you are going to offend others! Sometimes you will be offended and at other times you will be the offender! Jesus said, ''.. For offenses must come.'' It is a part of being in the human race! Friends betray us, a parent abuses us, a spouse is unfaithful, an employee robs us blind, a deacon disappoints us, a staff member snubs us, a pastor lets us down.

''For offenses must come.'' They are going to come and sometimes often! You may not be able to stop them but you can forgive them!

You say, ''Forgive them? After what they did to me? If you knew what they did, what they said, how they treated me, you would know why I cannot forgive them and why I want to get even!''

You ought to pick up a copy of a book I read about. It is called: Spite, Malice and Revenge, the Complete Guide to Getting Even.'' I believe you can pick it up at the Lifeway Book Store.

Somebody wrongs you, some cutting remark, perhaps you were sexually abused, physically abused, and you've written it down in a ledger and you say, ''I won't forget what they did to me and when the opportunity comes, I'll get even.''

May I tell you tonight that when you are out to get even with somebody who has hurt you, offended you, abused you, that is exactly what you do! You get even with them! You get on their level!

Now that I have your attention, let me ...

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