Message Recap – 7/1/11 – Get Out of Jail Free, Part 1

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We just finished a series on Psalm 23, and are now starting a brand new series!

When Pastor Dan was younger, the coolest video game ever was Streets of Rage 2. The plot of this particular game is that one of your buddies has been kidnapped and you have to take on the mob to get him back. The goal is revenge. That plot line was less than original.

Besides being a dish best served cold, revenge is one of the best plot lines for movies, comic books, video games, books, our own imaginations, etc, etc. It's a very common motif. What is a motif? Look it up.

People love revenge story lines. We love to see people get even with those who have wronged them. Why do we love revenge so much? It's because we've all been hurt in our lives. We've all been betrayed, stabbed in the back, hurt, gossiped about, etc. And in real life, we never get that classic pay back that always seems to happen in the movies. Deep down we all want the one who hurt us to pay. We want them to feel the pain and humiliation we felt, times ten. They owe us!

But God's way of looking at the situation when someone has wronged you is different than the world's. People think we need to get even. What God says about it can be found in Ephesians 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

People say, "Get what you're owed!" God says, "Forgive, just as I forgave you." God forgave us when we could do nothing to make it up, to pay it back. It sounds tough, but in reality God is saying this for our benefit, not the other person's! Check out the parable in Matthew 18:21-35 (click to read). You can interpret that passage a few different ways. You can read it as saying that if you don't forgive God will throw you in Hell. Another way of looking at is, if you go through your life refusing to forgive, holding that grudge, you are the one who is imprisoned by the uforgiveness. Not the other person. You become incapable of moving on in your life, living in the past, you cannot look to the future.

The world says that revenge makes you happy and brings freedom. God says that forgiveness lets you out of prison.

Revenge does not bring freedom! Only forgiveness brings freedom.

The word "Forgive" literally means, "to send forth". To not just put it down, but to put it far away from you. Forgiveness isn't easy. But there are a lot of people who are in prison, being tortured, and it's all of their own making. They are living in the past, in a situation that they don't have to relive.

By refusing to forgive, you allow the initial hurt to continue to destroy your life!

Forgiveness isn't easy, and sometimes you have to choose to keep forgiving. You have to choose to keep sending it away when it tries to come back. Forgiveness is a process. When you find yourself thinking of that person or reliving the moment of hurt in your mind, release it. Send it away.

Forgiveness is not about the other person, it's about you. It doesn't mean that the other person gets off free, it means that you are able to find freedom. Let yourself out of prison; forgive!

Here's a humorous illustration of the principle of sending forth your unforgiveness:

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Revolution Church said...

All that's missing is an episode of "Super Sloppy Double Dare" after the cartoon

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