The How and Why of Forgiveness and Reconciliation

When ever you talk about forgiveness, there are hundreds of "What If" Questions. "What about this situation?" "What about this?" I could never answer all these questions in a sermon. For two weeks, we've studied Matthew 18:15-37, which cover both confronting sin and forgiving sin. I could spend a month preaching on each section and never come close to teaching the full depth and breadth of God's wisdom in these verses. So to augment what I taught, I'm urging, no I'm begging, you to read the following articles by Timothy Keller. 

Tim Keller defines forgiveness this way, "Forgiveness means giving up the right to seek repayment from the one who harmed you." And he goes on to teach that forgiveness means absorbing the debt yourself through a series of payments. What I want to add to yesterday's sermon is this. Some wrongs done to you are the spiritual equivalent of stealing a pack of gum, it doesn't take much payment to forgive. BUT other sins done against you are the spiritual equivalent of burning your whole house down. These big things like divorce, adultery, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional trauma, neglect, or murder take a mortgage worth of forgiveness payments over years and years to forgive. That is ok. Forgiveness is not instantaneous, it is a repeated decision to absorb the cost rather than seek revenge. 




IF YOU'RE ONLY GOING TO READ ONE ARTICLE, READ THIS ONE FIRST! It is a polished version of the stuff in the other article, though they each have their respective strengths. This article is the most helpful thing I've read on forgiveness. It skillfully relates the disciplines of confronting sin and forgiving sin. It answers most questions about, "Well what about this?" "What if he did this?" 

Article: Forgiveness and Reconciliation


Gospel Forgiveness

NOTE: If you're only going to read one of these articles, READ THE OTHER ONE. 

I'm guessing this was originally an outline for a class, Tim Keller taught for Married Couples. While the whole document is awesome for improving our communication and intimacy in marriage, the stuff on Forgiveness and Reconciliation starts on page 10, Session 3. The article gives a great theological explanation of forgiveness and reconciliation, and then a very practical how to guide for how do it in a marriage. 

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – July 10-17

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts.

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.

Matt 18.1-5 - Reading Plan -  July 10-17.2016 - A Beautiful Mess - Ego Church

Questions to Guide You:

In this series, “A Beautiful Mess”, we learn the Church is a beautiful mess full of people that are simultaneously sinners and saints – creating joy and disappointment. And we learn that the most common reasons people give up on church are the very reason church works. Jesus wasn’t surprised by any of these. This week, we’ll see that sometimes the Churches fight of position, prestige, and greatness.

  • Matt 18:1-5 is a corrective teaching. What is Jesus correcting in the disciples? What are the disciples asking? How does Jesus unend their thinking?
  • What does it mean to be child-like? Is Jesus encouraging us to be “childish”? How is spiritual maturity like a child?
  • When have you seen churches fight over “greatest-ness” (childishness)? When have you seen “Childlike-ness”?
  • What does the Proverb tell us about pride and arrogance?
  • What does it mean to “humble thyself”?
  • Try to transform Psalm 131 into a prayer in your own words? Try to imagine the scenario described in the Psalm? When has the Psalm been most true of you?
  • Why does James tell us to turn our laughter to mourning? And our joy to gloom? How does the presence of God do that, and then how does it lift us up higher than we were?
  • Isaiah 2 promises that the Lord’s Presence and Glory will displace our pride and our idols. How does this help us understand what it means to be humble or humbled? How does God’s glory put us back in right perspective?
  • Luke 1 is the Magnificat, what is Mary celebrating? How is her song connected to our reading in Matt?
  • 1 Cor 13 is famous but not often examined. How is love the cure for the disciples? What is the loving opposite of pride and self-seeking?

If you are new to reading the Bible and would benefit from a brief orientation, download this How To Use This Book. If you want dig a deeper into the Bible, download this Guide to Inductive Bible Study.