Robert Morris - Passing the Pardon Test
So, this is the ninth message in the series From Dream to Destiny. We have one more after this. People have asked me, "Are you going to tell us how to actually know what our destiny is or what our purpose is"? And so, next week is Passing the Purpose Test. That's the last one in this series. And so, if you want to know your purpose, you have to come back next week. All right? Or tune in or whatever, however you attend. Okay? But God's been using this. The other thing I want you to know is that we are rewriting the book as I go through it, because God's changing the things, giving me more revelation. Actually, I think next year — so we're almost there, just a few months — will be 20 years since I wrote this book and preached it here at Gateway.
And so, we're going to come out with a new, revised edition. So, if you say, "I'd like to get the book because there's more material in the book," we'll let you know. I guess, what's our projected date? Do we know? In the fall. So, it'll be the fall of next year. So, I know that's a little while, but it takes a while to be able to do all of that. So anyway, so there will be a new book coming out if you want to get a copy of that. All right, so test number nine is Passing the Pardon Test. As you know, I've made them all have a P, and it's just a gift that I have, but it helps me remember them, actually. And the pardon, to be pardoned is, this is a test of forgiveness, to be able to forgive someone, to pardon them. We need to say that you will not be able to fulfill your destiny unless you can learn to forgive. And we all have a million opportunities to not forgive. And think about Joseph. He was sold into slavery at the age of 17 by his brothers.
So, how difficult would that be to forgive? And I think it's easy to forgive when it's minor. But what I'm going to talk to you today is about how can you forgive when it's major? And I'm going to show you some things about Joseph forgiving his brothers that maybe you've never seen. All right? So Genesis 50:15 says, I'm going to pause and make comments throughout this because I think we need to. "When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said..." Okay, let's stop just for a moment. When they saw he was dead, they said... So, they're going to come up with this message, but it's after Jacob is dead. So, I just want to remind you, he's dead, but they're going to tell Joseph what his last words were. But we have no record of that in the Bible, and what we do have a record of, you can see it right there in the Bible. "When they saw he was dead, they said..." In other words, they came up with a plan.
So, what I want to show you is that I don't see repentance here. I see a plan to lie and manipulate. So, how do you forgive people who don't repent? You know, it's easier to forgive someone who comes and says, "I was wrong. Will you forgive me"? It's difficult to forgive someone who won't admit he's wrong or she's wrong or didn't do anything wrong, and they actually continue to lie and manipulate. So, "When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, 'Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.' So [since they said this after he's already dead] they sent messengers to Joseph saying, 'Before your father died, [these are his dying words] he commanded [so we'll come back to that word, he commanded] saying, "Thus you shall say to Joseph, 'I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin.'"'"
Now, I just want you to know something that maybe you don't know. This is the first time the word forgive is in the Bible. This is the first time. It's not in the first 49 chapters of Genesis. This is the first time. And I'll tell you what it means here in a moment. "'"'Please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin, for they did evil to you. Now please forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.'"' And Joseph wept when they spoke to him". Now, I really don't think he was weeping because they were coming to repent. I think he was weeping because he found out his father had died. "Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, 'Behold, we are your servants.' Joseph said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good...'" What a great attitude. "'...in order to bring it about as it is this day [watch, here's his destiny] to save many people alive.'"
That's what I was born to do, to save many people. "'Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.' And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them". So, as I said, this is the first time the word forgive is in the Bible, the word in the Hebrew means to absolve fully or to release from punishment, to absolve fully and to release from punishment. To absolve fully. I just feel like I need to say that again, fully, not partially. To absolve fully and to release from any type of punishment. But it also has another meaning with it. It comes from the root word, and it means to lift off and to bear. I want you to think about what Jesus did. Jesus absolved you fully, released you from punishment, and lifted off of you the burden that you couldn't bear, and He bore it Himself. That's what forgive means.
So, again, it's easy to forgive someone who is repentant — it's easier — who is truly repentant and asks your forgiveness. But what about people who don't? I think God's given me three words to help you forgive, because it is hard to forgive sometimes. So, here's the first word, and it's Release. So, remember, this word means to release. Okay. To release someone fully. Think about Joseph at 17. By the way, when this happened — Joseph was 17 when he had the dream, 30 when he stepped into his destiny, seven years of prosperity, then seven years of famine. He met his brothers at 39, two years into the famine. But when they came to talk with him, when Jacob died, Joseph was 59. They've had 20 years to repent. Notice it said, "Your father..." Just think about this. "Before your father died he commanded..."
I think they crafted this statement. Not,"He asked, 'Forgive your brothers.'" "He commanded..." I think they were like this, "You know, 'Before your father died he asked that you...'" "No, don't say, 'asked,' say, 'commanded.'" And, "please forgive their sin". Here's what I'd like to know. Where's the "we"? "For they did evil against you". Where was the "we"? "We did evil against you". See, this is what we've got to catch. What if someone doesn't repent and doesn't take responsibility for what he or she did to you and actually continues to lie and spin a story that's not even true and tries to manipulate not only you, but other people around you? Can you forgive that person?
And what I want you to understand is, this is not when Joseph forgave them. Joseph forgave them years before. He had to because he had already accomplished much of his destiny already at 59 years old. He had already forgiven them. It's just amazing how the manipulation that they put into this and the lying, but what you need to know is that Joseph understood something. This is why I'm telling you Joseph had already forgiven them. I'm going to say a real strong statement, then I'm going to prove it to you by Scripture. When you don't forgive someone, you think that you're God, because only God can retain sins. Let me show you what Joseph said.
Genesis 50:19, "Joseph said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?'" In other words, he said, "You're asking me, you're saying my father said to forgive you, but of course I forgive you. Am I in the place of God"? Here's what Joseph knew. He knew, "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord". If you don't forgive someone, you set yourself up as God, and you're going to get vengeance on that person. The only problem is nothing's going to happen to that person if you don't forgive them. Instead, you're the one that's going to be tormented. There's an old saying that unforgiveness is like drinking poison, hoping the other person gets sick. And so Joseph says, you're asking me to do something that, of course I forgive you because the only way that I could hold this against you was if I were God, and I'm not God.
The other thing that happens is, if you don't forgive people, you live your life trying to vindicate yourself. You live your life trying to prove to others that what they said about you is not true. In other words, Joseph could have lived his life thinking, "Well, now my brothers will honor me. Now my brothers will see how gifted I am and how smart I am. But he didn't live his life that way. He lived his life to please God". The very first time I met James Robison — James is one of our apostolic elders — I was 18 years old and he was 36. James at that time was not doing what he's doing now. James and Betty, they feed and drill water wells and all that stuff. But at that time, he was doing crusades like Billy Graham and breaking attendance records all over America. I was 18 years old, he was 36. But he'd been preaching crusades since he was about 20, and again, breaking attendance records. I actually decided to go ahead and do this because throwback is a big thing now.
So, I have a picture in James Robison's living room when we met, so let me show you these two very good looking guys right there. So, just leave that up there so everybody, if y'all want to get your cameras out, I don't mind. Really. Those guys are, boy they're really good looking. All right, so that's when we met. But he gave me a Bible. There was a James Robison edition out by Thomas Nelson, and he gave me one. I still have that Bible to this day. And he wrote, "It was nice to meet you". He put something like, "I look forward to us being able to build the kingdom of God together in the future". Neither one of us had any idea how much that would come to pass. But then he wrote two sentences that have changed my life. I've never forgotten them. This is what he wrote. "I have nothing to prove. I have someone to please".
I've preached in conferences where, like, the Who's Who of the Christian world would be sitting on the front row, and it's just human to want to do a good job. And yet, nearly every time, the Lord would bring that line back to me, "You have nothing to prove, but you do have someone to please. So even if the Who's Who of Christianity doesn't like this message, if I like it, then it's good". So, I would get up when I would preach and think, "I don't care". I remember, too, one of the first times I ever preached, the Who's Who was sitting down here on the front row, and I preached the whole sermon to this side. I didn't want to go anywhere near the great men of God. But that first statement, "I have nothing to prove". Listen to me. If you don't have forgiveness, then you have something to prove. Unforgiveness. You want to prove that person's wrong about what they said about you. Are you all following me? Can you relate?
In other words, if your father said something to you, or your mother said something, or a teacher in school said something, or a pastor said something, and it was traumatic and it was hurtful and it was wrong, and it really came from the enemy, even though it came through a person, if you don't forgive, you'll live your life trying to prove that person wrong. And you don't have anything to prove. You have someone to please. All right? So, first of all, it's to forgive that person.
Now, let me explain something. When you release a person, okay, you release God to work in your life, and you release God to work in that person's life, and you release God to work in the situation. Until then, you're in the place of God. That's what Joseph was saying. So, when I say release, you're not simply releasing that person, but you're releasing that person to the only person who can bring justice to the situation. That's why God says, "Vengeance is Mine". Vengeance is bringing justice to a situation, and God is the only one just. Now, some of you are thinking, "No, I've been made just". No, you've been justified by the only one just. He's the one that made you just, and He's the only one, just so He's the only one that can bring healing that situation.
I remember one night I was having difficulty forgiving someone, and all of us had done this. It was like 2 am in the morning, and I was going over in my mind for about the hundredth time what I was going to tell that person. Any of you ever done that? By the way, if you're rehearsing your speech, you have not forgiven, just to let you know. So, you can go ahead and say, "Oh, me" instead of, "Amen". So, I was going over it in my mind about how I would convince that person he was wrong. And it was like the Lord just had had enough. I mean, it literally was like it was 2 am in the morning. It was almost like the way He spoke to me, it was almost like, "I need to get some sleep, too. Would you just shut up and go on to bed"? But here's what He said to me. He just said two words.
And again, I don't hear the Lord audibly or anything like that. It's an impression in your heart, but this is the way he said it, "Forgive him". Like that. "Forgive him". Like He was just tired of it. And I said, "But God," because sometimes God doesn't have all the facts. Y'all understand that's tongue-in-cheek, because He knows. But I thought, "He's probably forgotten some things here about how wrong this person was". And so, I said, "But God, he was wrong". I'll never forget. This will change your life. The Lord said to me, "Of course he was. You don't forgive people who were right". I never thought about that. The whole reason you forgive someone is because they were wrong. You don't forgive people who make you chocolate cake. You don't say, "I forgive you, brother, thank you for that. I just forgive you".
So, number one is Release. Here's number two, Receive. If you need to forgive someone, you're going to have to receive. Now, this is the key that I think most people miss. How many of you have ever maybe in church, and the pastor said, "Let's say it all together," and put the words on the screen. Or you've done it in your quiet time, or you were reading through the Bible. You got to Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount, and the disciples said, "Teach us to pray". But how many of you at some time in your life, every campus, everyone online, have prayed the Lord's Prayer. Can I see your hands? Okay, well, let me show you the last part of the Lord's Prayer. And then what Jesus said, Jesus said after, immediately after, "amen" because we stop at "amen".
Matthew 6:12 says, "And forgive us our debts [or forgive us our sins], as we forgive our debtors [or those who sin against us]". And he goes right into, after that, "And do not lead us into temptation". If you don't see the correlation, let me help you. If you don't forgive, you're going to be led into temptation. And watch this, "but deliver us from the evil one". Let me just help you again. If you don't forgive, you're going to go in bondage to the evil one. "For Yours is the kingdom..." In other words, Yours is the power, Yours is the vengeance. Vengeance belongs to God. "...Yours is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen". Watch this "For..." So Jesus is still talking. He didn't finish. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". I don't like those two verses, and yet Jesus said them.
Now here's what you have prayed, and I have prayed: "Forgive us our sins as we forgive others their sins". Now y'all know I love words, but I'm just going to say it straight out. You and I've done it some. I mean, I don't think I do it as much as many of you because I love words, I'm just going to tell you. But you say words all the time that you don't know what they mean. I study words to figure out, and I do it too, but I don't do it as much as you. I just letting you know. But the word "as" means "in the same way". So, when you said the Lord's Prayer, here's what you said: "Forgive me in the same way that I forgive others". That would have been helpful information before you prayed that prayer, wouldn't it.
You ask God, "I want You to forgive me in the same way that I'm forgiving others". And God said, according to verses 14 and 15, according to Jesus, "Okay, that's the way I'll forgive you. If you don't forgive, I'm not going to forgive". It's pretty strong, isn't it? Okay, so the word here is receive. The reason that many people have a difficulty giving forgiveness is because they have a difficulty receiving forgiveness. Please hear me. Here's the way God forgives. I'm using alliteration again so you can remember, fully and freely. God forgives fully and freely, completely. But I want to hit the word just for a moment, freely. God forgives you freely. You don't have to do anything to receive it or to earn it. Let me say it that way. Well, obviously we receive it, but you don't have to do anything to earn it. But if you think that you are earning your forgiveness from God, then you will make other people earn forgiveness from you.
If you think you deserve forgiveness, then you'll say, "Well, they don't deserve to be forgiven". So let me just remind you, you don't either. So, you have to come to a place where you forgive the way God forgives: fully, completely, and freely. Look at this verse that you know, Matthew 10:8. "Freely you have received, freely give". I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but the word forgive contains the word give. In other words, in order to forgive, you have to give mercy. You have to give grace. You have to give, but freely you have received, so freely give. Here's what I want you to see. If you haven't freely received, then you won't freely give. If you think you are earning it, you're going to want everybody around you to earn it because you had to earn it. But you didn't earn your forgiveness.
Now, I realize I'm using a lot of second person in this message. Instead of saying we didn't forgive, I really want to combat that the enemy has said to you, you have a reason to not forgive because we don't have a reason to not forgive. And then I want to hit a little mentality here that we have. All right? Years ago, Debbie and I, we were maybe four or five years married. I don't know, not very long. We had a very small, tiny house. We had tiny house before they were popular. Okay? And it didn't look like or cost like what the tiny houses cost now. Our master bathroom was about the size of this pulpit. My remembrance is you could wash your hands while you were sitting on the toilet. It was tiny. So, we're in there getting ready. And you probably know this, men and women get ready differently. Men get dressed and then kind of do their final stuff. Women do all their stuff and then get dressed. That's the last thing. They wear a robe, and they do all their stuff that they got to do.
So, the reason I'm saying that is we were getting ready for church, and I'd already gotten dressed. And back then, you didn't wear shoes like this to church. You wore dress shoes, and they had leather heels, and they were hard shoes. All right? So, I've got on my church shoes. She has on no shoes. I reached for something in our tiny little bathroom, and when I went like this, my heel — and I'm leaning forward, so all of my weight now. My heel stepped on her little toe, and I weigh... pounds. I'm sorry. I think the microphone cut out there. Well, she just screamed. First, she screamed without making a sound. Have you ever seen someone do that? And then she began to just... And I knew I'd hurt her.
And so, she just kind of limped to the bed, and I just immediately got on my knees in front of her and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry". I knew it hurt her. I knew it hurt tremendously. "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry". She kept saying, "It's okay, it's okay. I know you didn't mean to. It's okay, it's okay". I kept saying, "No, please I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry". And I think she was thinking, "Get out of here. Go away. Leave me alone for a minute. I'm hurting. Quit telling me you're sorry. I know you're sorry. I knew you were sorry when I married you... but just leave me alone for a minute. I'm hurting". The reason I said this was when we were first married is because I said something I wouldn't say now. But here, I literally said this to her. I said to her, "Sugar, I want you to do something". And she's like, "Right now"? I said, "Yes, I want you to do..." She said, "What do you want me to do"? I said, "I want you to hit me just as hard as you can. I want you to hit me right in the face".
And she said, "I don't want to hit you. I just want to be left alone for a minute. All right"? I said, "No. Hit me". Why was I saying that? She even said, "Why are you saying that"? I said, "Because it will make me feel better. I hurt you, you hurt me, then we're even". Here's the reason I'm telling you this. Many Christians have a "hit me" mentality. When they sin, and when they blow it, they want God to punish them. You need to understand the Bible says in Hebrews — and I don't have time to go into the Greek word here — that God disciplines his children. But that word is not punish. He does not punish; He disciplines. In other words, He helps correct our behavior because He loves us. But God will never punish you for your sins if you're a believer in Jesus, because He already punished His Son for your sins. Let me say it another way. God will never get even with you because He already got even with Jesus on our behalf.
And so, this is the way we are. Let's say we've got $500 left until payday, and we buy a $400 barbecue grill, and then a bill comes in that we forgot about, and we don't have enough money to pay it, and we say, "Yes, thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord. You're getting even with me. You're punishing me for spending that money, and I didn't pray about it. Thank You, Lord. You're punishing me". Listen, if you did that, it is not God punishing you. It's math. You don't spend $400 when you only have $500 left to pay day. It's math. That's all it is. It's not God punishing you. We're going to work, and we get a flat tire. "Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord. I woke up late, and I didn't have my quiet time, so I know You're teaching me something through this. Thank You, Lord. Oh, and now it's starting to rain. That's a good touch, Lord. That's a good touch. So, this will remind me now to have my quiet time. Thank You, Lord".
Now, here's what we're thinking, even though we don't say it, "We're even. I did something I shouldn't have done and now we're even". We're even with God because of the blood of Jesus. So, God is not going to get even with you. All right? So, we talked about Release, Receive. And again, I want to say if you have a problem giving forgiveness, you have a problem receiving it. And here's the third key: Believe. In order to receive forgiveness, you're going to have to believe that God's forgiven you or absolved you fully. So let me show you a few scriptures maybe you've never put together and thought about. Psalm 103:12. "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us". "As far as the east is from the west". Okay?
So that's infinity. In other words, on this earth, if you start walking east, eventually you're going to start walking south and you're going to start walking back west. So, that's not what he's talking about. If you continued walking east and could just keep walking east through space and you continue walking west, you'd never meet. That's how far God has removed your sins from you. But let me show you a reason that again, maybe you've never connected this. Habakkuk 1:13 says, "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil..." Behold means to look or to stare. "...and cannot look on wickedness". So, God is so pure, He can't even look. And this word for wickedness is translated to sin. He can't even look at sin.
Job 36:7, "He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous". So, He can't look at sin, but He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous. The New Testament confirms that. 1 Peter 3:12, "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers". So, God can't look at sin, but He can't take His eyes off of righteousness. And His ears are open to the righteous. And He's always, always looking at the righteous. Okay, here's what I would think, "Well, I sure wish I was righteous. Then God would be looking at me all the time. His eyes would be on me all the time, but I'm not righteous. I do unrighteous things". Please hear me, you're righteous by the blood of Jesus. And let me just show it to you 2 Corinthians 5:21. "For He made Him [that's Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him".
I've been made the righteousness of God by grace through faith. You know what that means? His eyes are on me every day because I'm now righteous, but it's through grace. And here's what I want you to see. God had to do something with my sin just to look at me. We just read it. He couldn't even look at me unless He had removed my sin as far as the east is from the west, He couldn't even look at me. But here's the great thing. What He did was so incredible that not only can He look at me now, He can walk with me, He can talk with me, He can put his arm around me, and He can have a relationship with me every day because He's removed my sin from me. When I can understand that God has forgiven me freely and fully, then I can give forgiveness freely and fully to other people because it's not whether they repent. It's not by their works. It's because God's forgiven me. And Jesus said, You need to forgive. You need to release other people.
There's a friend of mine, Rabbi Marty Waldman. He founded Baruch HaShem in Dallas. I don't know now, but I know at one time it was the largest messianic congregation in the world. And 20 something years ago, they were building the largest messianic temple in the world. We did not even have our own building, but we sowed into their building. So, think about this. The first building we ever sowed into was not a building for Gateway Church. It was a building for Messianic Jews to worship. In other words — Messianic Jews are Jews who believe in Yeshua, or what we would call Jesus in the Greek, comes from the Greek word is the Messiah. So, this is a messianic congregation.
So, Marty and I went to lunch one time and I said, "Marty, tell me your story. I'd love to hear your story". And he said, "Well, my story starts with the Holocaust. My grandparents on both sides were in Auschwitz. On both sides. All of my aunts and uncles, my mother and my father were in Auschwitz, and they were teenagers, not even dating at the time". And the parents, which would be his grandparents, got together. By the way, I thought this was interesting, his dad's name and his mother's name, because obviously you know this story. They got together. But Jacob and Rachel. Who are we talking about in the Bible? Come on, this is easy. We've been talking about it for nine sermons. Joseph, what were his parents name? Jacob and Rachel. It's perfect. It's just a perfect illustration here. So, the grandparents got together, Marty's grandparents, and gathered about 20 teenagers and said, "We don't think we're going to make it out of here alive".
And by the way, none of them did. Not one uncle, not one aunt, not one grandparent. But they gathered them together and they took Rachel, and they sewed money in the lining of her coat. And they said to these around 20 teenagers, "You need to make a run for it one night". And so, these young people made a run for it. They had to get to some woods. The guards, the Nazi guards opened fire. They shot Rachel's sister. Rachel went back, and her sister died in her arms. And then she was shot in both legs. Two of the teenage boys came out of the woods, and drug Rachel to safety. Because she was shot in both legs, they just went to the first house that they could find, Germans, and they said, "We're Jews. We've escaped from Auschwitz, and she's been wounded. She has money in the lining of her clothes".
That money, by the way, was for all 20 of them. "But you can keep all of it if you'll just take care of her, and that will help pay for her expenses". This German family took her in, but it was more than this money they received. They took her in and they began to treat her as one of their own. And they even introduced her as their daughter and gave her a German name. So, during the war, they raised her. Jacob and about ten of the boys — it was about half boys, half girls — they dug a hole in the ground, a cave, a pit, and they lived in it during the day, and at night, they would come out and go into town and forage for food and find scraps in the garbage cans, and that's how they lived. And they lived there for almost a year, underground. And then the Nazi soldiers found out, and they came and got them out, took them to a prison camp, and the commandant came out and said, "Are any of you a tailor that could sew clothes"?
And Jacob, Marty's father, 17 years old, said, "I'm a tailor". And he said, "You come over here". And then Jacob realized they're about to shoot the rest of them, so he said, "I need an assistant". And the commandant said, "Choose one". His two best friends were there. They were two brothers. He'd known them since he was little bitty. He had to choose which one lived and which one died, so he chose one. And then they shot the rest of them in front of them and killed them. So, he would sew the uniforms and repair the uniforms of the Nazi soldiers. As Russia was getting closer and the war was coming to an end, this prison camp realized, "We're about to be overtaken, and we have to flee". So, they told Jacob and his friend to saddle their horses. Jacob said, "They're going to kill us before the soldiers get here, and so, when we get two horses saddled, we're going".
So, they got two horses saddled and they took off. And sure enough, the Nazi soldiers killed all the Jews and left before the Russians got there. That's how Jacob was preserved during the Holocaust. Rachel was preserved. Jacob apparently had a little liking for Rachel because he searched all over Germany to find that house, and he found her, and they got married. And they had a son they named Marty, who founded the largest Messianic congregation in the world. But Marty said, "The story doesn't end there". He said, "I met a believer who was a German, and God said to me, 'Are you going to forgive him?' And then as he talked to this German, he found out that this German's grandfather was a Nazi soldier in Auschwitz where all of his family died". He said, "The worst question, I dreaded it all the time when I was growing up, Robert, was people would hear about the Waldmans, and there was a furniture store, a large one in Dallas, and they would say, 'Are you related to those Waldmans?'"
And Marty would say, "No, I'm not related to anyone". But he decided to go to Auschwitz and see where all of his family were killed. And he asked this German friend of his, whose grandfather was a prison guard in Auschwitz, to go with him. And he said, "We saw the gas chambers. We saw the firing squad wall. We saw it all". And then he said, "We stood, and we held hands. And my German friend prayed for the Jewish people, and I prayed for the German people that they would come to know Jesus Christ". And I said, "Marty, how could you do that"? And he smiled. He said, "Jesus forgave me. I had to forgive him". And they're friends to this day. That's the only way you're ever going to forgive someone who did something traumatic to you or to your family. It's through grace through Jesus Christ.
I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. I want to remind you this is a test that we all take. And I really don't mean this negatively when I say this, but you will not fulfill your destiny unless you can forgive. And here's what I'd like to ask you. We always ask, "What's the Holy Spirit saying to us"? And yes, you can ask that question. But I'd like for you to ask a more specific question this week. I'd like for you just to ask the Holy Spirit, "Is there anyone that maybe I've even forgotten about that I haven't forgiven"?
And it's amazing how God will bring someone back to our mind or someone that we might have even thought we had forgiven. And the Holy Spirit will gently say, "I need you to forgive this person". And what I'd like for you to do is do it right now. And sometimes, we have to do it the same way we accepted Jesus, by faith. "Lord, by faith, I forgive this person". And I want you to do it right now. Forgive him. Forgive her. Yes, they were wrong. That's why we forgive. And then we're going to have a moment, every campus, all the Gatherings that are able to do this. If you need prayer, we want to pray with you. And we'll have a time at the front where you can just come to someone and just say, "This is really tough for me, so pray with me. Believe with me".
Lord, we want to tell You thank You that You forgave us, even though we did not deserve it. And Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters. There are people who have hurt us, and who have not repented. They might even still be lying or manipulating the situation. But Lord, we choose by an act of our wills today to forgive them in the same way You forgave us — fully and freely. Lord, help us today to pass the pardon test, in Jesus' name, amen.