• The Pardonable Sins Part 2

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THE PARDONABLE SINS - PART 2

By Barry Cameron
May 05, 2017

No doubt you’ve heard of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS, a list of cardinal sins compiled by Gregory the Great sometime around 590-600 A.D. He got the idea from lists developed by Evagrius of Pontus and John Cassian. The lists were an attempt to come up with the root sins from which every other sin derives. That list became known as The Seven Deadly Sins:

PRIDE

ENVY

GLUTTONY

LUST

ANGER

GREED

SLOTH

The Bible doesn’t have that in a list. But there is a list of SEVEN THINGS GOD HATES in Proverbs 6:16-19:

HAUGHTY EYES (a proud look)

A LYING TONGUE

HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD

A HEART THAT DEVISES WICKED SCHEMES

FEET THAT MAKE HASTE TO RUN TO EVIL

A FALSE WITNESS WHO BREATHES OUT LIES

ONE WHO SOWS DISCORD AMONG BROTHERS

Ironically, the sins listed above are no more deadly than any other sin. The Bible says all sin leads to death (Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death …”). But sometimes there are well-meaning people (Christians) who have lists of their own and sins they don’t really believe are sins.

In last week’s blog, we saw there is only ONE sin God will not forgive and that is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). But the UNPARDONABLE SIN is not my focus in this series. Instead, I want us to look at THE PARDONABLE SINS: the sins some people (Christians) don’t really think are sins. In fact, they even encourage and comfort others when they commit them.

We saw the first of FOUR PARDONABLE SINS, at least in the eyes of some, is WORRY.

The second is:

UNFORGIVENESS

The Bible is clear we are to forgive. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

In other words, you can’t worship until reconciliation has taken place. If you have bitterness, anger and unforgiveness in your heart towards someone, anyone, you need to resolve it before you attempt to resume your worship.

You can’t worship God with unforgiveness in your heart and can’t walk around with unforgiveness in your heart. It’s sin and it’s deadly. And you don’t go worship somewhere else, either. That’s defying and ignoring what God said to do.

John Mason said, “Unforgiveness does a great deal more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than the object on which it is poured.”

Rob Gilbert said, “The longer we carry a grudge, the heavier it becomes.”

Forgiveness is the most godlike thing we can do. The Bible says, “And do not grieve the Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32).

If forgiveness is the most godlike thing we can do, then unforgiveness is the most godless thing we can do.

The life of JOSEPH is a perfect example, found in Genesis 37-50. His brothers resented the coat his father had given him and the dreams he had shared with them. They threw him in a cistern, sold him to slave traders and told his father he’d been killed by a wild animal. Later, when the tables were turned, they were desperate for help and the only one who could help them was Joseph. He could’ve resorted to revenge and gotten them back for everything they’d done to him. Instead, he forgave them and said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

If forgiveness is the most godlike thing we can do, then unforgiveness is the most godless thing we can do.

So what does UNFORGIVENESS do?

1. It makes you a prisoner of your past and a fugitive from Scripture (James 1:22).

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” You’re on the run from God and His Word because of something that happened in your past that you refuse to face and fix. You can’t open the Bible without knowing there are some verses you’re ignoring.

2. It prevents our worship (Matthew 5:23). Broken relationships are huge barriers to worship. Want your worship to improve? Is there someone you need to forgive? Do it and do it now!

3. It affects God’s forgiveness of us (Matthew 6:14-15).

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant should get our attention. A king forgives the enormous debt of a servant who could never repay it. Later, that same servant found a fellow servant who owed him a small debt. He refused to forgive him and had him put in prison. When the king found out about it, he “delivered him (the unforgiving servant) to the jailers, until he should repay all his debt” (Matthew 18:34).

Jesus concluded the parable with these words, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (verse 35).

4. It elevates us to a higher level than God (Ephesians 4:32). If God, Who is wholly holy, totally pure, Sovereign and Supreme, is willing to forgive me, sinful, warped and wretched, who do I think I am to withhold forgiveness from anyone else?

5. It blocks our prayers (1 Peter 3:7). The release of bitterness and unforgiveness opens the prayer channel and makes it a clear channel. Start praying for the person who offended you and watch what happens (Matthew 5:44). A miracle takes place when we actually pray for the welfare, blessing and prosperity of those who have wronged us.

6. It makes us a liar (1 John 4:20). “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

Someone wrote these lines: “To dwell above with saints we love, that will be glory. But to dwell below with saints we know, that’s another story.”

The fact is, it’s hypocrisy to say you love God when you refuse to love someone (anyone) here on earth.

7. You’re choosing bitterness over better-ness and junk over genuine joy (Proverbs 17:22).

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” You’ll never hear someone say, “I’m still holding a grudge against so and so, and I’m so happy and living a life of great victory.” People who are unforgiving, bitter, resentful, and grudge-holding are never happy, victorious people.

8. You’re removing yourself from the possibility of being blessed or used by God (Romans 12:17-21).

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

2 Timothy 2:21 says, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”

What should we do if we struggle with the sin of UNFORGIVENESS?

#1 – Confess it as a sin, because it is! (Titus 3:3)

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”

#2 – Make it a matter of prayer (1 Timothy 2:8).

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”

Don’t just pray for yourself. Pray for the person who offended you (Matthew 5:44).

#3 – Ask God for wisdom in resolving the conflict (James 1:5; 3:13-18).

Every day as you pray for yourself and the person who offended you, ask God to show you the way to forgive and to open a door for it to happen.

#4 – Resolve the conflict quickly (Matthew 5:23-34).

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Hebrews 12:14-15 says, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”

Remember: when you refuse to forgive, you’re not the only one affected by your unforgiveness. So are those around you.

UNFORGIVENESS is not The UNPARDONABLE SIN. We can receive forgiveness for it. But the Bible says the only way we can be pardoned is if we confess it and repent of it.

UNFORGIVENESS is a SIN.

NEXT WEEK: PART 3

© 2017. Barry L. Cameron

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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