Title: Love Does Not...

Sermon Summary

This message considers one major thing that genuine, God-like love does not do: It does not keep a record of wrongs. Far to many people spend their time and focus their thoughts on the wrongs that have been done to them. Relationships are held captive by keeping a list of past offenses and infractions. The Bible tells us if God kept a record of sins, no one would be left standing. This does not, however, mean that a person is to allow others to abuse them or to consistently take advantage of them. This message explores what forgiveness means and does not mean. It looks into a list of things one must follow if they are to be free from the burden of keeping a record of wrongs.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. When you have a problem with someone, why is it so tempting to bring up wrongs they've done in the past?

2. How can I cry out to God for forgiveness, find grace and mercy and then not be willing to give it? If God kept a record of sins who could stand? None of us! Not a single one of us! So what gives us the right to keep a record of every one’s infractions against us when we’ve asked God to forgive us our offenses against Him? Discuss this concept.

 

Psalm 130:1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness,so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

3. Not keeping a record of wrongs require me to receive forgiveness from God, from others, and from myself. Why is it sometimes hard to do these three things, and especially the last one? Answer that question and then discuss how the following passage can help us in this regards.

 

1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

 

13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

 

14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

 

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

 

16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

4. Discuss how can we forgive someone and at the same time not allow them to abuse or take advantage of us? The following list of what forgiveness is not may help you in this discussion.

Forgiveness is not saying it's okay for another to hurt you.

Forgiveness is not saying what someone did to you is right.

Forgiveness is not taking the blame for a wrong done to you.

Forgiveness is not about denying the pain another has caused you.

Forgiveness is not the ability to completely forget what has been done.

Forgiveness does not mean you have to submit to or remain in an abusive relationship.

Rom 12:18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Rom 12:19  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

 

Full Sermon Notes

Love Does Not…

“You put Your love on the line to bear the weight of sin that was mine. Washing my river of wrongs into the sea of Your infinite love.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that when Jesus forgives me of my sins, He not only washes them away, but He forgets them. Oh how we need to learn to follow His example.

Let’s pray and seek His wisdom in regards to this very important aspect of Genuine Love…Pray!!

Okay, let’s look at our passage of Scripture again. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-6 New International Version (NIV)1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

So we’ve talked about what love is, what love is not, and today we’re going to talk about what love does not do and it’s a real doozy…

Love does not keep a record of wrongs!

But wait a minute Pastor Larry. Are you saying we can’t keep score? Are you saying we’re not to keep up with the wrong things people do to us so we can confront them when the time is just right? I’m not saying, Paul the Apostle was just saying, and he had it on good authority to say what he was saying!!

Sometimes even people you really love are going to do some things that really irritate you. The question is how you will handle that? The answer to that question will determine whether or not the relationship stays strong and healthy or is taken in another not so healthy direction.

Paul said, love does not keep a record of wrongs. Why? Are you ready for this? Because…

Love is Patient

Love is Kind

Love is not Envious

Love is not Boastful

Love is not Prideful

Love is not Rude

Love is not Self-seeking

Love is not Easily Angered

All of the above are reasons love does not keep a record of wrongs. Genuine love desires the very best in a relationship and seeks to build the relationship up and never tear it down. Genuine, God-like love understands it’s own failures and imperfections and is therefore much more patient and kind with others. The Psalmist put’s it into perspective for us…

Psalm 130 NIV

A song of ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
   Let your ears be attentive
   to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
   Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
   so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

How can I cry out to God for forgiveness, find grace and mercy and then not be willing to give it? If God kept a record of sins who could stand? None of us! Not a single one of us! So what gives us the right to keep a record of every one’s infractions against us when we’ve asked God to forgive us our offenses against Him?

So you might ask how in the world can we live our lives without keeping score? Not keeping a record of wrongs requires several things.

It requires me to understand where I’ve been and what I am. I’ve been lost and I’m still a sinner!

Paul put it this way when talking about his personal situation…

1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

What else does not keeping a record of wrongs require of me…

It requires me to receive forgiveness from God, from others, and from myself.

You see, an unforgiven person is incapable of giving forgiveness. Forgiven people forgive. Forgiven people love because they’ve been loved. And here’s a beautiful example of this concept…

Luke 7:36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.

37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.

38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.

46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.

47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Now did you catch that last part. The last thing Jesus told this woman? He said go in peace. I believe He told her this because of her need to forgive herself! One of the most difficult things for us to do when we’ve messed up, is to forgive ourselves. But we must never forget that if we don’t then we will by nature struggle to forgive others.

It’s not that we ever forget that we are sinners who have been saved by an amazing grace gift from God, but we don’t live under that guilt and shame anymore, because Jesus took our guilt and our shame when He carried that Old Rugged Cross through the streets of Jerusalem on our behalf. We will examine that event in detail in a few weeks.

Just remember, if Jesus is not keeping a record of your sins, you need to stop keeping the records. Now what I’m about to say may sound like a contradiction, but not keeping a record of wrongs…

It requires me to give forgiveness, not because I have to, but because I desire to, not half-heartedly, but with all my heart.

In the story we just read Jesus summed up this concept very well…

Luke 7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Some have put it like this…

The one who is forgiven much loves much!

Not keeping a record of wrongs has another requirement…

It requires me to understand that nobody wins and everybody looses when I hold grudges!

Everybody looses. They loose, you loose and those around you loose! So what am I supposed to do? Jesus gave us good instructions about this. And His instructions are interesting. He adds a twist to this topic…

Matthew 5:23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,

24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

And what a twist. Jesus is not only telling us to loose the list of the wrongs done to us. He says, if you’re at church and you know there’s somebody out there who has a grudge against you, a problem with you, or they’ve got a list of issues with you, then go to them and try to reconcile with them and then come back to worship.

And I know this brings up a can of worms. Let me say this, just because they have a list doesn’t make them right, and you might say, “But I’ve tried. I’ve really tried, but they won’t even try to work on things. This is where understanding the concept of forgiveness is so important. Let’s begin with what forgiveness is not!

Forgiveness is not saying it's okay for another to hurt you.

Too many times people have had the wrong idea that forgiveness meant they had to let another person continue to harm them or take advantage of them. This is not what forgiveness means. Oh to be sure, Jesus did say that there is a time to turn the other cheek. I believe He meant by that to try every thing you can to avoid a fight!

But I know He was not advocating for a person to let others take advantage of them or abuse them, especially if they could avoid it. So if you can avoid putting yourself in an abusive situation, then do so. Just don’t stop praying for them! Pray they find Jesus and experience the same forgiveness and mercy you found at the foot of the Cross!

Forgiveness is not saying what someone did to you is right.

Sometimes people wrongly think if they forgive someone that means they’re saying it’s okay what they did. Absolutely not! There are even times when a person needs to take steps to hold a person accountable for the wrongs they’ve done. That may be the only way for the offender to realize they must change their ways.

It also may keep them from hurting someone else. But this is never to be done with malice or with a sense of revenge. It should be done in order to help bring this person to a place where they realize their need for God and for forgiveness of there sin.

Forgiveness is not taking the blame for a wrong done to you.

Sometimes people have been hurt, misused, or abused and they think it must have been something they did, or somehow it’s there fault. There’s no excuse for someone who wrongs someone or takes advantage of someone. There’s certainly forgiveness if the person seeks forgiveness and is truly sorrowful, but that does not excuse the sin!

Forgiveness is not about denying the pain another has caused you.

When you’ve been wronged, abused, or used by someone it hurts, it hurts bad, and forgiveness doesn’t take away the pain that was felt, but it will begin your healing process!

Forgiveness is not the ability to completely forget what has been done.

God has that ability, you and I do not! However, with the help of God, forgiveness once again helps us to heal and over time we do come to a place where the wrong that was committed fades in memory and consumes less and less of our thoughts.

Forgiveness does not mean you have to submit to or remain in an abusive relationship.

We’ve already talked about this, but I want to hammer this point in to all of our minds. I don’t believe God would have a person continue to subject themselves to abuse in the name of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not reconciliation.

Forgiveness can lead to reconciliation. But, Reconciliation only comes when the other person is willing to admit wrong and change. If that does not happen, you can forgive, but you can't be reconciled. Reconciliation is an active work on both sides of the fence with God facilitating the process.

With this in mind, we must come to the place where we realize…

Not keeping a record of wrongs requires me to love, not only in word, but also in deed.

And for this we must understand what forgiveness is and we’ll close our message with this. I was curious as to what non-religious sources had to say about this. I was a bit surprised. I looked at several dictionary definitions of forgiveness, but was rather impressed by what I found on Wikipedia.

“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”

This came from the “American Psychological Association, and the “The Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley.” By the way, I looked this up after having written my thoughts on what forgiveness is not and here’s what I found…

Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness),

Forgiveness is different from excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action),

Forgiveness is different from forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness),

Forgiveness is different from pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge),

Forgiveness is different from reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).

As I said last week, the world sometimes get’s the definitions right, but the how to is many times flawed. Why? Because without the Spiritual component supplied by the truth of God’s Word and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit, we stand little chance at being able to practice forgiveness!

So let’s turn to God’s Word to discover how to give forgiveness!

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Forgiveness is a choice and it is reflected in our words and actions!

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

When we keep list and don’t forgive we grieve The Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

We need to take out some garbage and it should contain some crumpled up list!

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Being kind, compassionate and forgiving is easier once we remember the forgiveness shown to us!

Ephesians 5:1-2 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Remember…

Not keeping a record of wrongs requires me to love, not only in word, but also in deed.


Let’s pray!