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July 2, 2006

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Sermon Outline

Taking Out the Trash Part 3
“Today’s stinky, rotting trash: Unforgiveness”




Matthew 12:34. 

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.


Matthew 23:25-28.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.


Two weeks ago:

If we want who we are on the inside to match who we are on the outside, we must focus on the condition of our hearts.  We must stop working at behaviors and start asking ourselves what is causing those behaviors?


Last week:

Letting go of hurt.  As long as we hold on to the hurts of our past we have not surrendered total control of our heart to God.  As long as we are in control of our lives, God cannot begin changing who we are on the inside.



When we have inner hurt, it is often because we have not forgiven.  We cannot just let go of our hurts unless we are also willing to forgive those who have hurt us.  If we do not forgive those who have hurt us, we have not really let go of the hurt in our hearts.


The Bible tells us that we can be set free from the burden of unforgiveness.


No where in the Bible does it say we are allowed to have an unforgiving heart.


Unforgiveness effects every aspect of life.


Every hurt that we have, unless treated properly, will lead to unforgiveness.  Like the trash that has not been out in a while, it begins to stink and rot, and make a mess of many other aspect of your life. 


(EXAMPLE: Trash does not smell better by just letting it sit and leaving it be.)




I want to take a little more time than usual explaining the effects of an unforgiving heart.  I want you to see the importance of dealing with an unforgiving heart.  I want you to want to deal with your unforgiving heart or else…


Some of the effects of unforgiveness:

1.     We continue to feel the psychological pain of the perceived offense.

2.     We block healthy communication and potential reconciliation with the "offender".

3.     We perceive similar offenses by others who remind us of the offender.

4.     We attract similar situations, people and injuries to ourselves.

5.     We give up our personal power to others to determine how we will feel and respond (actually, we "react") in similar situations.

6.     We render ourselves incapable of ever really knowing, and learning from, the full truth about the event that damaged the relationship.

7.     We take added toxic negativity into our present relationships.

8.     We isolate/prevent/avoid/limit ourselves from having new, more healthy, and more fulfilling relationships.

9.     We become vulnerable to becoming spiteful, resentful and bitter.

10.                        We block ourselves spiritually from receiving help and healing from our Higher Source.

11.                        Our own spirits and souls "shrivel up" (contract) more and more. [1]

Some of the effects of unforgiveness on my body:

-         The toxic effects of unforgiveness on my body/mind systems are clinically documented as well.

-         How Unforgiveness distresses my central nervous system:

-         It constricts my heart rate’s variability, a crucial measure of nervous system health, as well as my cardiovascular system’s flexibility. It also disrupts the harmony of my brain waves, making me less able to think clearly and to make good decisions.

-         It distresses my circulatory system by increasing blood pressure, heart rate and arterial wall pressure.

-         It distresses my muscular-skeletal system by increasing forehead muscle tension, thereby producing headaches, and by also producing other symptoms: stomach aches, muscle and joint aches, dizziness, and tiredness. [2]


When a person has been hurt and they have never dealt with that hurt, they are setting themselves up for…




Let me explain my thinking


God’s way of dealing with hurt is to forgive the person that hurt you and let it go.


Any other way is immoral.


Immoral ways include…anything we do to try to make our hurt feel right on the inside.


-         We will do things to try and make the pain go away, to overcome the hurt with self pleasure. 

o       Eat, drink, sleep, smoke, golf, TV, hang with friends…anything that makes us feel good so much so that it overcomes the hurt that we know is inside us

        The problem with this is that it becomes a vicious cycle of self pleasing that ends up nowhere

        We become self pleasing addicts


-         We will do things to replace the ways we have been wronged with what we think is right

o       A boyfriend dumps us so we sleep with the next guy we find…we’re on the rebound

o       We didn’t get what we wanted for Christmas so we go out the day after Christmas and buy it for ourselves

o       My wife has hurt my feelings so Im going to find another woman who knows how to take care of my needs

o       Pastor Matt is a bum, I’m going to find a better pastor at a better church


The path away from unforgiveness usually leads down the path of immorality.


At a minimum, it destroys your life from the inside out.






Last but not least, unforgiveness prevents us from being the person God wants us to be.

Galatians 5:22-23 shows us the kind of life we should be able to live when Jesus is in control of our lives.

 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

You cannot do these things if you don’t forgive.  You can’t ride a bike and swim at the same time.






When Jesus died on the cross, He forgave us of our sins, but that does not mean we are exempt from the consequences of our unforgiving heart.












If you want to be the person God wants you to be, listen up.


If you want a healthier body, listen up


If you want a healthier life, listen up












Let’s return to the story of Joseph.  We briefly mentioned him last week.  Lets look more in detail at his life this week.


Genesis 39:1-6.  In Potiphar’s house he found success


Genesis 39:20-23  In jail he found success.


If Joseph had allowed unforgiveness to live in his heart, he would not have been able to be used by God.


If a guy ever had a reason to be unforgiving towards others, He’s at the top of the list!


His entire life is one messed up opportunity after another.  Things would go well, but then they’d fall apart again because of someone wronging him, and yet he did not allow unforgiveness to live in his heart.


Background info:


Joseph’s father has just died and been buried. 


Now it is just Joseph and his brothers.


Now there is nothing holding Joseph back from letting them have it (The father is not there to protect them).


NOTE: WE CAN EASILY SEE WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE REALLY FORGIVEN SOMEONE IN OUR HEART WHEN WE SPEND ONE ON ONE TIME WITH THAT PERSON.  How do you feel when you get alone with that person who hyrt you?  Are you able to be alone with that person?


Read Genesis 50:15-21.


They were afraid Joseph was going to do to them what they wanted to do to him…

          …they wanted to kill him but instead sold him to slavery


They assume that all these years, Joseph has been letting that unforgiveness build up and now he was going to let it pop!  He was going to unleash the wrath!



But he did not.  Instead, he forgave them.




How can we be forgiving people?  How do we take the trash of unforgiveness out of our hearts before it stinks up the rest of our lives?


1. Recognize you have unforgiveness in your heart. 


-         Ask someone to point it out if you have to.


-         Ask God to show you



2. Deal with it


How do we deal with it?


-         Repent of having an unforgiving heart


-         We are command to forgive others:

Ephesians 4:32.  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Even as:  1 according as. 1a just as, even as. 1b in proportion as, in the degree that. 2 since, seeing that, agreeably to the fact that. 3 when, after that. [3]



We  must forgive as Christ forgave.
















How does Jesus forgive?  How do we do this?


Don’t have time to list all the scriptures, but if you look in the Word, you can find more on your own that support what I’m going to say.


A. Forgiveness is immediate. 


Romans 5:8.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Before we were born He died for all the sins we were ever going to commit.


God does not make us wait.  It is already done!


As soon as someone hurts you, stop what you are doing and forgive them.


If you know someone is going to hurt you, try forgiving them knowing what is about to happen.



B. Forgiveness is eternal.  Once it is done, it can’t come back to haunt you.


Psalm 103:12.  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Hebrews 8:12. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

We don’t have the right to hold any wrong against anyone else. 


I don’t care what the world has to tell you.  God’s ways are not the world’s ways.



C. Forgiveness is free.  It is a gift you give to another.


Ephesians 2:8.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—


Saved us from our sins by forgiving us of our sins… our wrongs against him.  Jesus was ultimately wronged by us.  He took the penalty for something He did not do.





4. Forgiveness is not limited.


Matthew 18:21-22

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?"  Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times


Again and again and again and again.







You’ve been hurt…


Maybe you’ve been hurt bad by life’s experiences. 


Maybe you’ve been hurt again and again.  Life keeps dumping on you and you feel like one big ball of hurt!


The truth is that we all have been hurt and we all will be hurt again.  The question is not whether or not we will get hurt.  The question is, what are we going to do with that hurt?


We live in a fallen and broken world that is guaranteed to hurt you.  As long as people are around, you will get hurt again.


So, what are you going to do?


Either you forgive or you let unforgiveness live in your heart.


If you can forgive, you can let the hurt go.  If you don’t forgive, you’ll end up letting the hurt you, the real you out of the jar and spill that trash all over people around you.



-         Ask God to show you the unforgiveness in your heart

-         Repent of not forgiving others

-         Decide in your heart that you have forgiven that person

-         Let it go…forgive as God forgave that person

-         Live aroun that person as if they had never hurt you in the first place.

[1] Taken from The Terrible Cost of Unforgiveness by Psychologists Larry Phillips Nims Ph D. Locasted on the web at


[2] Taken from Forgiving Myself: Being Who I Am by Forgiving Who I Am Not, A report from the experience
of Noel Frederick McInnis. Located on the Web at


[3]Strong, James. Enhanced Strong's Lexicon. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996.