What is our Greatest Need? A study of Forgiveness

31 Oct

A Fresh Start: Putting Our Past Behind Us 

Mark 2:1-12 (ESV)  And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2  And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.

What did the crowd see?   What did the four men see?   What would you see? What did Jesus see?

5  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.6  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7  “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11  “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12  And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

A truly remarkable story came out of Western Kentucky a few years ago. A young man, Ted Morris, was killed by a drunk driver, Tommy Pigage. Ted’s parents were understandably crushed by their loss and outraged at the injustice of it all. But as time passed, the Morrises overcame their bitterness. They actually befriended Pigage and taught him the good news of Jesus. Pigage was eventually baptized into Christ and was able to start his life over again.

After Couple Forgave Son’s Killer, All Three Were Able to Start New Life



For more than two years, Frank and Elizabeth Morris dedicated their lives to punishing the drunk driver who had killed their only child. Driven by hatred, they monitored his every court appearance, followed him to the county jail to make sure he was serving his weekend sentence and watched his apartment to try to catch him violating his probation.

“We wanted him in prison,” Elizabeth Morris said. “We wanted him dead.”

Tommy Pigage, the young man who caused the fatal crash, still gets a lot of attention from the Morrises.

They drive him to church twice a week and often set a place for him at their dinner table.

Couple Forgives Pigage

Unable to find satisfaction through revenge, the couple recently decided to forgive Pigage and try to rebuild his life along with their own.

“The hate and the bitterness I was feeling was destroying me,” Elizabeth Morris said. “I needed to forgive Tommy to save myself.”

Since the Morrises made their decision to befriend him, Pigage, 26, has joined their church, quit drinking and become an active lecturer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“They’ve given me a better life,” he said. “They’ve made it much easier for me to live with myself and forgive myself.”

The Morrises were able to start over also because they had overcome the hurt and anger that had consumed their lives. What a happy ending to such a tragic story! And this happy ending was no fairy tale. It did not come by wishing the bad news away. It was not resolved by the people involved giving themselves over to despair and defeat. The power that enabled them to rise up from tragedy and go on with their lives was forgiveness. They were able to forgive each other, and they received and trusted the Lord’s forgiveness.

They could never change the wrongs that had been done, but they could forgive and be forgiven. Three of the most beautiful words in the English language are the words “I forgive you.” These words, spoken honestly, can end a spat between spouses, conclusively deal with a mistake someone has made, or restore a relationship that has been broken by someone’s misdeeds. Forgiveness is indeed a precious gift that one can give to another.

What makes forgiveness so priceless? Why do we long to hear these words? It is valuable to us because we know we need it. Tommy Pigage needed forgiveness. As remarkable as it may seem, Mr. and Mrs. Morris needed forgiveness for their bitterness and hatred. So do you and me. We have hurt others and not lived up to what we know to be right. Forgiveness meets a need that we know we have.

I want us to spend our time in God’s Word, looking at well-known scriptures that point us toward the proper appreciation and understanding of forgiveness. Those who were in class today have the benefit of understanding this subject even better.

If any one topic is at the very heart of Christianity, it is forgiveness. It is vital that we learn to forgive. The Gospel itself is a message about God’s forgiveness, and Christ’s teaching was full of exhortations to His people to be forgiving to one another. He set an incredibly high standard, teaching us to forgive even the most stubborn offenders.

In fact, let’s be honest: the standard at times seems impossibly high! How can we overcome our natural human inclinations and learn to forgive the way God demands of us? And, yet, we ought to be glad the standard is so high—because it’s based on the forgiveness God Himself extends to us, after all! God is the consummate forgiver. And we depend every day on His ongoing forgiveness for our sins. The least we can do is emulate His forgiveness in our dealings with one another.

One of the real keys is for us to see clearly how important it is to do so. Let me share four reasons why we need to forgive.

  1. God said to.

(Luke 23:34 NIV)  “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”

(Eph 4:32 NIV)  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

(Col 3:13 NIV)  “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

  1. Our own forgiveness depends on it.

(Mat 18:21-22 NIV)  “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” {22} Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

(Mat 18:35 NIV)  “”This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.””

(Mark 11:25 NIV)  “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.””

If you receive grace, you’ll pass it on. If you harden your heart, you either forfeit his grace or never had it to begin with. You cannot take a grudge to heaven.

  1. To restore relationships.

We need relationships; we were made for relationships. And we need to try to make all our relationships good. The trouble is none of the humans who are available to have a relationship with is perfect. The only way to get along is to forgive. Since we are not perfect, we couldn’t have a relationship with God—but he forgave us so we could have a relationship with him. That’s exactly why we need to forgive—so we can have relationships. It will be possible without them.

Some years ago, after a vigorous brotherly and sisterly disagreement, three children retired only to be aroused at two o’clock in the morning by a terrific thunderstorm. Hearing an unusual noise upstairs I called in to find out what was going on. A little voice answered, “We are all in the closet forgiving each other.”

  1. For our own spiritual, emotional, & physical health.

This is huge. Researchers have discovered direct links between forgiveness and physical & emotional health. Not forgiving almost inevitably leads to chronic anger & stress, both of which are toxic. It leads to higher rates of stress-related disorders, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, clinical depression, lower immune system function, & higher divorce rates. Some evidence it also decreases neurological function & decreases memory.

We might think we have a lot of physical and emotional items in our life that are our highest priority if we had the opportunity to have them removed! Forgiveness of sins is of first importance! He has authority to forgive sins, to say “my son, my daughter, your sins are forgiven” to say “you’re ok” & you really are…

Forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note–torn in two and burned up so that it never can be shown against one.

If God were not willing to forgive sin, heaven would be empty. — German Proverb

Forgiveness is not that stripe which says, “I will forgive, but not forget.” It is not to bury the hatchet with the handle sticking out of the ground, so you can grasp it the minute you want it. — Dwight Lyman Moody (1837–1899)

Nelson Mandela statement (see picture)

Botham Jean, a 2016 Harding alumnus from St. Lucia who was tragically killed Sept. 6, 2018, in his home in Dallas.

During the ceremony, the first Botham Jean Inspiration Award was given to his brother, Brandt Jean, who made a worldwide impact when he modeled true forgiveness in a Texas courtroom and inspired forgiveness in others.

….asked the judge who had just found his brother’s killer guilty if it was ok if he approached her…hugged her and said he forgave her.

‘I forgive you’: Botham Jean’s brother hugs Amber Guyger after she gets 10 years in prison

Amber Guyger’s Judge Gave Her a Bible and a Hug.

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Posted by on October 31, 2022 in Forgiveness


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