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Chapel Service

Miller Motorsports Park September 12, 2010

Part 3

Montana Raceway Park August 7, 2010 – Part 1

Colorado National Speedway August 14, 2010 – Part 2

“Mechanics of Forgiving”

(In 3 parts)

Bob Butcher

The Lord tells us how many times we must forgive in Matthew 18: 21-22:

“Peter got up the nerve to ask, Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?

Jesus replied, Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven!”

  • That’s 490 times …and MORE if you want to really hear what He is saying here.

This Bible insight has stuck with me ever since I first read it when I became a Christian way back in 1978.

Jesus first replies with what would seem to be an absurd number of times – “seventy times seven” – and then He follows with a parable about forgiveness    (Matthew 18:21-35).

All I could think …and still struggle with is … “Man, 490 times? That’s a lot of forgiving!”

But, that’s the point, isn’t it?   We are to never stop forgiving.   And Jesus makes the point very clear that unless we forgive others, our Father in heaven will not forgive us.    (Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25)

The bottom line still comes down to:

Forgiveness is based upon repentance, NOT on guarantees!


“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” The Lord will judge His people.” (Hebrews 10:30)

So …Where do we go from Here?

Well, in the hard to swallow side of things …

• The Lord is very clear in His parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:23-35) that if we do not forgive like He forgave then it is quite possible He may allow us to be turned over to the same torment that the other person you have the gripe with is experiencing because of his unrepentance.

I don’t know about you, but THAT leaves a lot to be desired in my mind.

There isn’t any simple, easy, or by the numbers answer here, …is there.


…it is a matter of the heart. PERIOD.

That is what ANY one of these issues comes down too…

• Case by case.

• It is ALWAYS our choice, isn’t it.

• What are we to do?

I know that I can speak from experience in this forgiveness business.   I have been on the receiving end of forgiveness for many years in my life.

At this point even today, I certainly didn’t “deserve” to be forgiven.

But, neither do any of us deserve God’s forgiveness.   He doesn’t forgive us because we deserve it.   He forgives us because He loves us; and that’s exactly why anyone is able to forgive someone…me included, …even when it is over a huge amount of time.

But Lets remember that ” Forgiveness does not mean “forget-ness.”

We ALL need to be forgiven at times.   Being forgiven does not mean that the person will just forget about whatever it was that required the act of forgiving.

Depending on the situation, it may require a time of healing, a time of rebuilding that trust you once had.

In his book “The Purpose Driven Life”, Rick Warren says:

Many people are reluctant to show mercy because they don’t understand the difference between trust and forgiveness.   Forgiveness is letting go of the past.   Trust has to do with future behavior.   Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it.   Trust must be rebuilt over time.   Trust requires a track record.   If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you.

This doesn’t mean that you can hold on to this like a trump card and play it every chance you get. “Remember that time when … ?” That goes totally against Jesus’ point of “seventy times seven.”

Just remember, God has forgiven you more times than you will ever have the opportunity to forgive someone else.

I know everyone here is just like me …trying to get a grasp on this whole idea, …on either side of the issue.

  • We go back to the fact that you simply got to trust in God and His ways
  • But …God ALSO trusts in us to do as He set the whole deal up.
    • Listen to what He says about us in 2 Corinthians 2:14:

“But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph – as trophies of Christ’s victory – and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere, …for we are the sweet smelling fragrance of Victory of Christ unto God, among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

    • Bet you didn’t know that you & I are heroic victors in this life in His eyes!

And yes, …I know that does not erase all the question, distress, or pain this subject can bring …

Part of that is explained within 1 Corinthians 13:12 “For little do we understand the methods of God since we only see through the glass darkly until the set time of His appearing when knowledge will be made clear.”

Until then my final answer to all this would be…

  • It is that matter of the heart …Choice.
  • And that requires a pre-requisite of:
    • Believing there IS a God
    • That Jesus Christ is His son and He both SOLVED all this at the cross …and set into motion the whole area of forgiveness in His same pattern.
    • That we believe that the Bible is His Word, and not just a nice story or literature.
      • And that it is relevant today as when it was first written.


Like I keep saying …”A Matter of the Heart” …”A Matter of Choice.”



At this point we are open to discussion.