Forgiving and Forgiven - Gospel in Life

Forgiving and Forgiven

Tim Keller |  February 3, 1991

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  • Christian Living and Obedience
  • Forgiveness
Ephesians 4:25-32
RS 215-04


How is it possible to be angry and indignant at injustice, but hold no ill will or bitterness towards others? Anger in and of itself isn’t sinful, but there are three forms of sinful anger: bitterness, blowing up; and clamming up. This sermon explores how an experience of God’s radical forgiveness can enable us to forgive ourselves and others.

Ephesians 4:25–32

Ephesians 4 talks about changing from our old ways to new ways. This change is shown through being honest, speaking kindly and getting rid of any hard feelings. What makes Christianity special is that good behavior is seen as part of being a Christian, not just being good. This change comes from knowing what Jesus did for us and having the Holy Spirit in our lives.

1. “Be angry” must mean that holding back or denying anger is wrong

The Bible gives us a deeper way to understand anger, more than just letting it out or keeping it in. It warns us about the danger of holding in anger, which can lead to hard feelings and trouble. It encourages us to be aware of our anger and handle it wisely, even as Christians, instead of pretending it’s something else like sadness or worry.

2. “Be angry” must also mean not only is anger something not to be held back, but anger is sometimes needed

Anger, as a feeling, isn’t always bad and can be right in some situations, like standing up for what is good and fair. We can see this in the actions of Jesus and God, who show anger as a way to stand up for what’s good and fight against what’s evil. The peaceful ways of Martin Luther King Jr. show this idea of right anger, which is aimed at problems, not people.

3. “Be angry and do not sin …”

Bad anger, like hard feelings and hurtful actions, can cause harm if not dealt with in a healthy way and aimed at solving problems, not hurting people. Holding in anger can also cause harm, making it important to look at ourselves and say sorry. It’s very important to get rid of bad anger, hard feelings, and mean-spiritedness from our lives, with forgiveness, humbleness, and self-reflection being key to keeping a good relationship with God.



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