The Freedom of Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:31-32

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: Ephesians 4:31-32

It is in our human nature to make mistakes ourselves while finding it hard to forgive others. However, forgiveness is the sole remedy to two very poisonous—and very human—conditions: guilt and bitterness.

God’s forgiveness of us sets us free from guilt, and our forgiveness of others sets us free from bitterness.

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

There are many compelling reasons to forgive. First, we, ourselves, have been graciously forgiven by God Himself. It is God’s nature to forgive, therefore, an unforgiving spirit is ungodly. If we don’t forgive, we will only know bitterness, and our souls will only know grief.

An unforgiving spirit does personal harm; it is self-sabotaging. It is not merely missing a blessing; it is sin. It disgraces Almighty God, discourages the saints, drives away the lost, and delights the devil.

Once we decide to follow Jesus and join the family of God, we must learn to practice forgiveness like our Father. If we don’t, not only do we bring harm to ourselves, but we also destroy family fellowship.

There are costly requirements to forgive. Jesus knows it may not always be easy; that doesn’t mean it is excused. Rather, He offers to help. We need Jesus to be forgiven, and we need Jesus to enable us to forgive. The same one Who has forgiven us is the one Who helps us forgive others.

Adrian Rogers said, “It is the power of Jesus Christ, who forgave us, that enables us to forgive somebody else. You forgive freely. You forgive finally. You forgive fully. And you forgive forcefully.”

Finally, we must keep in mind the powerful results of forgiveness. The family of God is a precious thing—and a terrible thing to waste. When we forgive, we free ourselves from bitterness, heal broken relationships, and gain back a brother.

Apply it to your life

If you’ve been wronged by a brother, forgive for his sake, for Jesus’ sake, and for your sake. Do not keep score. Forgiveness has no limit. When you forgive, you set two people free, and one of them is yourself.