LET’S FORGIVE IT OUR ALL!

I. Can you?

II. Will you?


Ephesians 4:29-5:2 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy

Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get

rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every

form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each

other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


5:1

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

In the name of Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself up for us, dear

Christian friends, Which of the following statements do you hear yourself saying most often?

A) “I will never forgive him”

B) “I will forgive him only when he forgives me”

C) “I will forgive him no matter what happens”

The answer C) sounds a lot like Joseph whom we heard about in the first lesson

today as he was able to forgive his brothers who had sold him into slavery and told his

father he had been torn apart by an animal. It even sounds a little like Peter whom we

heard about in the Gospel who wanted to go over and above the Rabbinic law of forgiving

three times in order to forgive “up to seven times” (Mt 18:21). The answer C) especially

sounds like our Savior Jesus who told Peter, “not seven times, but seventy-seven times”

(Mt 18:22) or maybe even seventy times seven; in other words, “Forgive endlessly, Peter!”.

Which answer sounds most like yours? If A) and B) are anywhere in your thought

process, and for most of us, if not all of us, at one time or another they have been, you are

here on the right day. With God’s Word before us today as our motivation, we need to take

on this rallying cry: LET’S FORGIVE IT OUR ALL! I. Can you? II. Will you?.

Can you? Yes! I am absolutely convinced you can answer C) from now on. Do

you agree?

You might be saying, “No!” “My husband left me for another woman and I am

supposed to forgive him? How can I?” “My father was struck down by enemy gunfire in


LET’S FORGIVE IT OUR ALL!

I. Can you?

II. Will you?


2 the Korean War and I am supposed to forgive that soldier who killed him? How can I?”

“My sister hasn’t spoken to me since we had an argument over politics thirty-six years ago

and I am supposed to forgive her? How can I?” “My son was left a paraplegic because his

girlfriend decided she should drive after getting drunk and I am supposed to forgive her?

How can I?”

Your answer is found in the Word today. In Christ God forgave you...Christ

loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. God

has forgiven you! When you gave up working at your marriage, when you harbored that

hatred in your heart for your lazy coworker, when you replaced humility with pride and

damaged your ability to reach out to your neighbor— all those sins, and so many more

neither you nor I can count, have been erased from the memory and eyesight of the all-

knowing and all-seeing God.


God has removed your sins from you “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps

103:12) as we read in today’s psalm! He released you from the bondage of those sins! He

freed you from their punishment of perpetual pain in hell!

Jesus Christ accomplished this for you! He completed his heavenly Father’s plan

for your salvation! He offered up himself as the fulfillment of all Old Testament sacrifices

and paid the price required for you to be free! His life of living under the law, his suffering

under those who were supposed to be law-abiding, his blood spilled on the ground, his

death and then placement into the ground, and his coming back from the dead to life

brought life to all and to all who believe in him the benefits of salvation are bestowed.

Can you forgive it your all? Your answer is found in this font in front of me or

wherever you were baptized. At this place, many of you were washed clean of your sins

through the simple water and the saving Word of God. You were made a child of God.

You were supplied with the confident hope of an eternity in heaven. You were given

strength to do the will of God, including forgiving each other.

Can you forgive it your all? Your answer is found on that altar as you receive the

bread and wine that is also Jesus’ body and blood. In this miraculous meal, God nourishes

you with his love and forgiveness, strengthens you to believe in him even more and

motivates you to live a life pleasing to him, which involves the instructions before us today:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form

of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other.

Can you forgive it your all? Yes, you can! God has enabled and empowered you

to do so!

Will you forgive it your all? There are a number of ways to help you answer that.

First, remember what Jesus said in the Gospel today. After telling us about the unmerciful

servant who would be punished for his failure to forgive, Jesus says: “This is how my

heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your

heart” (Mt 18:35). Forgiving it our all will put us in line with God’s commands and keep

us from receiving his earthly or eternal punishment.

Keep in mind another command the Apostle Paul wrote for the Ephesian Christians

and for us: do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the

day of redemption. Our failure to forgive might lead the Holy Spirit to anger and cause

him to take our redemption away from us!

Will we forgive it our all? We say we will and do we really want to go back on our

word? How many hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of times have we


3 prayed, “Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against

us”? Are those merely memorized words or words read off a page or do we really mean

them and will we act on them?

Finally, I offer one more reason why it is important for us to forgive it our all. Put

your fingers to your chest where your heart is. Do you feel that? If you are harboring

hatred in your heart, holding back forgiveness for someone, what you feel there is pain

caused by your sin. It is a pain you are causing the other person, too, as they have to go on

living their life without your forgiveness. Do you really want to be responsible for feeling

and causing so much pain to yourself and to others? Forgive it your all and set your heart,

and their heart, free from its prison and its pain.

Can you forgive your ex-husband who divorced you, the unknown soldier who

gunned down your father, the estranged sister who won’t speak to you, the drunk driver

who changed your loved one’s life forever? Yes, you can! Your Savior Jesus has given

you the promise of his forgiveness and the power for you to forgive others.

Will you? You need to! It will benefit you, it will be a blessing to others and, best

of all, it will glorify your Savior God!

Let’s answer C) whenever we are given the opening quiz. It is the answer God

gives to us and for us! Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live

a life of love. So, let’s forgive it our all!

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