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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Six Ways to Detect Unforgiveness - Part 3

Joyce Meyer - Six Ways to Detect Unforgiveness - Part 3

Joyce Meyer - Six Ways to Detect Unforgiveness - Part 3
TOPICS: Forgiveness
Joyce Meyer - Six Ways to Detect Unforgiveness - Part 3

Well, thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life," and I pray, right now, that you're gonna really enjoy the program and get something out of it that's gonna be life-changing for you. This is the third day that I've been talking about six ways to determine if we have unforgiveness. Now, the first two days I talked about unforgiveness, and I talked about the story of the prodigal son and the elder brother. And then, yesterday, I got to the first way to determine if we have unforgiveness in our heart. And I'm gonna do the rest of them today, but let me just quickly bring you up-to-date on this story that I'm teaching from in case you're not familiar with it. You can read it in Matthew 15:11-32.

But it says a man had two sons, one was a little older, one was younger. The younger son said, "Father, I want my inheritance now". Not a good thing to do. It was equivalent to saying, "Dad, I wish you were dead. I want my money". So, the father divided the inheritance between the two boys. The older boy stayed home. The younger boy took his money, moved away. Wasted it all, was living with a pig farmer, feeding pigs. I mean, his life got so bad. You know, maybe at one time you were walking with God, and you've walked away from him and now your life is just so bad. Well, reading this story will be encouraging to you because the boy decided that he needed to go back and repent and just tell his father, "I don't even have to be a son. I don't deserve to be your son. I'll just be a hired hand".

But his father went running to him with open arms and kissed him, and put the best robe on him, and gave him a beautiful pair of sandals, and a ring, and killed the fatted calf, and threw a big party. Well, the elder brother didn't like it. And so, this story is really as much about the elder brother as it is the prodigal son. We always make a lot out of the prodigal son because that's a great message for people who need to come back to God. But we wanna make sure we don't have the attitude this elder brother had. So, the first thing is, is when he heard the music, he said, "What's that"? Unhappy people don't like happy things. And oh, he got so angry when he found out that his father was giving this younger son, a party because he didn't think he deserved a party.

You know, have you ever known anybody that got a huge blessing in their life and the first thing you thought was, "Huh, they don't deserve that". Well, that's the amazing thing about God is he does things for us, we don't deserve. He blesses people that don't deserve it. It's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. And I remember times in my life when people that I didn't like would get things that I was believing for. And I was like, "Well, they didn't deserve that. They're not as spiritual as I am". Well, that shows why I wasn't getting what I wanted. I had this elder brother attitude. So, six things we learned from the elder brother, the first one I've already talked about, I just wanna mention it to you again, unforgiveness, always keeps score.

And the Bible says that love takes no account. Love doesn't count up its good works and it doesn't count up somebody else's sins. Love doesn't count up how many times it has to forgive somebody. It just is not an accountant. But the elder brother, boy, he counted stuff. And he said, "'look, father, I've served you all these years, I've been slaving for you, I've never disobeyed your orders'". Which is highly doubtful. "And you never even gave me a goat that I could celebrate with my friends'. But his father said to him, 'son, you've been with me always everything I had was yours'". It's amazing how happy we could be. Because you know, we're joint heirs with Christ and everything that Christ has also belongs to us. But many times, we're so busy being religious and having a bad attitude that we don't cash in on the blessings of God. The second way that you can detect unforgiveness is unforgiveness always boasts of its own record.

The elder brother said, "I have never disobeyed your commands. All these years I've been slaving for you and I have never", see, he's boasting of his own record, "I've been so good, and he's been so bad. How could you bless him and not bless me"? And I'm sure this is making a few people squirm today. I know that I've had to learn these lessons and sometimes had to keep relearning them and keep relearning them. Well, you know, we need to mind our own business and pray for people if you feel like you need to, but it's not our business to tell other people what they should do. "Well, I exercise, and you don't". "I read the Bible every day and you don't". "I work hard and you're lazy".

You know, there's a million different ways that we can judge and criticize people, but when we do that, we're always, in our own mind, we're boasting of our own good works. Hmm... Come on, somebody needs this. We're boasting of our own good works. And we're looking down on somebody else because they're not doing what we're doing. The self-righteous never see their own sin. They always see everybody else's sin. In Matthew 18:9-14, there's a good story. It says, "To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told them this parable: 'two men went to the temple to pray, one a pharisee and the other a tax collector. The pharisee stood off by himself and prayed: "God, I thank you that I'm not like other people..".'" oh, can you imagine? "'"Robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector"'".

Well, you know, I don't know that we would pray, "Father, I thank you that I'm not like other people," but I'm not so sure that we wouldn't think it sometimes. "Well, I would never do that. I would never do that". You know, you don't really know what you would do unless you're in that situation. And even if we wouldn't do that, we might do something worse. "'"I fast twice a week and I give tithes of everything that I get". But the tax collector...'" tax collectors were hated. Pharisees were supposed to be the most religious of the religious. So, here you have this really religious man and then you have this very sinful man. And the religious man says, "Oh God, thank you that I'm not like him". "'But the tax collector stood at a distance and wouldn't even look up to heaven. He beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me a sinner".

I tell you this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted'". Judgment always says, "You're bad and I'm good". Wow. There's a lot to think about in that message. Unforgiveness always complains. Luke 15:29: "You never even gave me so much as a goat that I could celebrate with my friends". The elder brother had a martyr's syndrome. "Well, I did all the work while he was just out wasting all your money". Oh, my gosh, how many times, in the early days, when I didn't know what I know now, not that I still don't have a lot to learn because I do, how many times would I say today, "Well, I do all the work and you just go out and play golf on Saturday and watch football on Sunday, and I just work, work, work, work. I clean the house and the kids mess it up".

I was always boasting of my good works. And oh, I thought everybody else had a problem and here I was the one with the problem. Is it possible that maybe you think everybody else is the problem, that you think maybe it's everybody else's fault that you're unhappy, but maybe, I don't know, I'm not accusing, but maybe you're unhappy because you got some things in your heart that need to be taken care of between you and God? Unforgiveness always complains, it's not being treated fairly. But the Bible says about Jesus, I love this. 1 Peter 2:23: "When he was reviled and insulted, he did not revile or offer insult in return: [when] He was abused and suffered, he made no threats [of vengeance]: but he trusted [himself and everything] To him who judges fairly". The father's response, and I love this. "Son, everything, you have had me all this time, and everything I have is yours".

The elder brother could of been having a good life, a great life, but he was too busy being legalistic and judging everybody else. Legalism and joy don't go together. He was too busy with his works, trying to impress crossing all the T's and dotting the I's. The pharisee, what did Jesus say to the pharisees? Remember, they were the most religious. "Woe to you, teachers of the law, you pharisees, you hypocrites. You give a tenth of all your spices: mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness". Wow. You know, we can keep all the rules. Not that there really are any, but we create a lot. But we can keep all the rules and still have a bad attitude and a bad heart. God wants us to be merciful, and to be forgiving, and to be loving, and kind, and generous.

The next thing that unforgiveness does, number four, unforgiveness alienates, divides, and separates. The elder brother referred to his brother as, "This son of yours". You ever do that? If you have kids and you're mad at one of 'em, your husband comes home and you say, "Your son did this or that". Not, "Our son," but now, "He's your son". Well, that's what the elder brother did. He was dividing and separating. He's not, "I'm not even gonna call him my brother. The way he behaved, he's not even my brother. He's your son". "This son of yours, he has squandered your property with prostitutes, comes home, and you kill the fatted calf for him". Just think about that. I mean, this boy had really done some wretched stuff. He wasted all of his inheritance. I'm sure he probably got drunk a lot. I don't know that they had drugs in those days, but if they did, he would have probably been using them too. And he was spending his money on prostitutes.

But when he decides to repent, I mean, when he really, from his heart, repented, and said, "I'm gonna go home to my father". His father saw him coming a long way off and he ran to meet him. Let me say again, if you have wandered away from God, or maybe you've never had a relationship with God, there's nobody watching, nobody on the planet that God, your sin is not too bad that God can't forgive you. And you don't have to try to talk him into it. I love this. As soon as the father saw the boy coming, he ran to him and met him. He didn't even wait to see what the boy was gonna say. For all he knew, the boy was coming home from... See if he could get more money. But he ran to him and said, "My son who was dead is alive. My son who was lost is found". And I wanna tell you, if you've been away from God, you can go back home too. You can turn to him and say, "Father, forgive me for I have sinned and I wanna serve you. I'm really sorry for my sins".

And you'll find that he'll open his arms wide to you too. Unforgiveness alienates, divides, and separates. You know, when we have unforgiveness towards someone, oh, it's so hard not to talk bad about them to other people. Have you ever been mad at somebody and you heard somebody else saying what a great person they were? Oh, and you just can't help it. You gotta say, "Yeah, well, you don't know what they did to me". But see, God doesn't want us to do that. He wants us to talk to him about things, not talk to everybody else about these things. Unforgiveness withdraws. He wasn't gonna go into the party. He was gonna go off somewhere and sulk. He refused to go to the party. He didn't even wanna be in the house.

Remember, he was in the family, but not in the house. A believer, but not close to God. Oh, when I used to get mad at Dave, boy, I would withdraw, I would sleep on my side of the bed so far, I'd be on the seam of the mattress. And I wasn't about to ask him for any cover, I'd lay there and freeze rather than ask him for anything. I didn't wanna be in the same room with him. That's what unforgiveness does. You know, we need to have a reverential fear and awe of God. And that's something that we don't talk about very often. And there's a lot of messages in the Bible that we probably need to preach that a lot of people don't wanna hear. "Well, why should I be afraid of God"? I didn't say, "Be afraid of God". He's not out to hurt you, but have a reverential fear.

You know, if I wanna do what I'm doing and I wanna carry God's anointing on my life, I can't have bitterness in my heart. I cannot. I can't be resentful. I can't have strife. I can't spend my time talking bad about other people. I have to forgive. I've gotta keep my relationship with God right if I want to be able to help other people. And I don't wanna just sit here and preach messages that don't really affect anybody. I want thousands of people to call the office today, and say, "I want a relationship with God". I want people who have bitterness in their heart to repent and ask God to help them. I want families to be restored. I want relationships with siblings to be restored. And I know in order for that to happen, I need to have God's anointing. And in order to have that anointing, I have to keep my heart pure. I can't do it without God's help, but he's not gonna do it for me if I'm not willing to do my part.

The next thing is, is that unforgiveness accuses, exposes, and continues to bring up the offense. Leave it, drop it, and let it go is what God says. "[he] Devoured your estate with immoral women, and here you killed the fatted calf". He had to remind his father what his brother did that was wrong. Do you have a sibling that you're mad at and mom or dad does something for them and you feel like you have to remind them what he did or what she did? Well, God knows everything that we've done and he doesn't bring it up. Every morning, when I get up, God doesn't say, when I start trying to talk to him, "Well, I'm gonna talk to you, Joyce, but I want you to remember what all you did yesterday that you shouldn't have done". Let's quit throwing it up in people's faces, what they've done in the past. How about just letting go of the past and pressing into the good things that God has ahead? Come on, let's say that again. If you've got anything against anybody, let go of the past. You can't go back and undo. They can't go back and undo what they did.

So, forgive 'em and have a fresh start. I got a strong feeling this is helping some people. Like I said, many times we have unforgiveness in our heart and it's been there so long, we don't even know it's there anymore. Luke 15:30, "But when the son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you killed for him the fatted calf"! Notice the elder brother sees everyone's faults, but his own. He doesn't even see his own bad attitude. All he sees is what the brother did that was wrong. Unforgiveness keeps bringing up what others have done wrong. But love covers a multitude of sins. Boy, I love that. Love doesn't bring up stuff from the past. Love wants to forget it and get beyond it. Let's walk in love. Love is the most powerful thing in the world. 1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins".

And then, the last thing is number six, the last way you can detect unforgiveness, is unforgiveness is always angry and jealous when someone it's angry about gets blessed, someone it's angry with, gets blessed. And boy, that is so true. "Well, you gave him a party, and you killed for him the fatted calf and I don't like it because I don't think he deserves it". Well, first of all, this son who was supposed to be so righteous was judging his father. He resented the fact that the father was giving the boy something he thought he didn't deserve. You say, "Well, what about me"?

Well, another good example of this type of behavior is seen in Joseph and his brothers. The father loved Joseph. He was kind of the baby of the family. There was another boy that was younger. His father just, he loved him. And the other brothers resented the fact that he loved him. You know, almost every family, whoever the baby is in the family, the others kind of get a bad attitude toward him sometimes because, you know, when you have your first child, you're probably broke and can barely make ends meet. And by the time you have your fifth or sixth one, you've got more money: you can do more for them. But then the older ones resent... I remember my older son saying, "Well, you know, I had to work for all my clothes and you just buy him everything".

Well, you know, we shouldn't be like that. Be happy for people, for what they get. Not resentful and angry. Let me say again, what God does for somebody else is none of our business. Oh, I think I need to say that again. What God does for somebody else is none of our business. It's not up to us to judge whether they deserve it or not. And they took Joseph out and they were gonna just throw him in a pit and leave him there, but some slave traders came by and they decided to sell him, and they told their father that he'd been killed by a wild animal.

Well, long story short, Joseph went through a lot of really hard things. He was taken to Egypt, and he was lied about, went to prison for 13 years for something he didn't do, but then he ends up being second in command under Pharaoh in all of Egypt. So, you say, "What about me"? Well, I'll tell you what about you. If you do things the way God wants you to, then God is gonna give you favor, and he's gonna lift you up, and he's gonna promote you, and all kinds of good things are gonna happen in your life, because you have done the father's will, even though it was hard. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it's a decision you make. So, start by praying for your enemies. And make a decision today, if you're mad at anybody, just drop it, leave it, and let it go.
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