Thursday, January 31, 2013, Part 1
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:9-12).
IDEA: How we deal with the moral flaws in ourselves and others says a great deal about us.
PURPOSE: To help listeners realize why we need genuine forgiveness.
Suppose we were asked to compile a list of the things that are absolutely essential for human fulfillment. What would go on the list?
I. Would forgiveness and mercy make the list as essential?
Do we think of forgiveness and mercy as something optional, needed by certain kinds of personalities but not really a universal pressing need?
Do you think that Jesus deliberately placed the need for forgiveness alongside the need for daily bread?
How do we react to the imperfections in all of us?
II. We shrug off our own sin and sometimes the sins of others when they don’t affect us.
We call moral errors a “mistake.” Even the deepest hurts that I inflict are talked about this way. What is the consequence of doing this?
We are “victims.” It was our “parents,” our “environment” and therefore we reduce its significance because we couldn’t help it. There is no real significance to anything we do.
Have you ever thought of your sin in that way?
III. Another approach is to demand a payback.
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Someone has to pay for what they’ve done. I will give you a stiff dose of your own medicine.
At least this response takes moral evil seriously and doesn’t minimize it or deny it.
This approach to evil, however, doesn’t lead to a creative solution. It only deepens the problem and intensifies it. Nothing in retribution can cure evil or reverse its trend.
How does this show up in life? Does it give “closure”?