Our sermon today was on FORGIVENESS. How we must do it whether someone deserves it or has asked for it. We do it because God did it for us and tell us to do it for others. And we do it for ourselves. Because carrying around unforgiveness and bitterness is unhealthy for us.
Do you want God to forgive you the same way you have forgiven the ones that have sinned against you?
The worst is yet to come... later in Matthew, Peter asks Jesus how many times do we need to forgive someone who sins against us, seven times? And Jesus says "No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!" and then goes on to tell a parable.
It is about the King who forgives a man who owes him millions of dollars. And then that man turns around and refuses to forgive someone who owes him a couple thousand. He has his debtor thrown in prison. When the king finds out... this is his response:
"Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?" Then he throws him in prison to be tortured until the entire debt had been paid.
Then the scary part! Jesus says, "That's what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart".
Then we were dismissed and given a sharpie and a white balloon. We were told to go outside and write on the balloons the names or situations where we need to forgive. And after the pastor prayed, we released the balloons in a symbol of releasing the anger and bitterness. As the balloons floated away, cheers went up. My friend and I blew kisses to our balloons. It was pretty awesome!
Too bad the sky was gray, so the pictures aren't that great.... please don't try to zoom in and read my balloon and see if your name is on it!!! Ha ha. You don't know which ballon is mine and I wrote in code! ;-) Anyway, the good news, if it was your name, you are now forgiven! :-)