Burdens and Freedom

A Sermon on Forgiveness

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.



1. The Burden of Being Unforgiven


a. Perception of the Offendee.


b. Reality of the Offendee.


Psalm 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;

Psalm 51:3… For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Where is that knocking coming from? What’s happening to me, that I’m frightened of every noise? Whose hands are these? Will all great Neptune’s oceans wash this blood clean from my hand? No, instead my hands will stain the seas scarlet, turning the green waters red. - William Shakespeare. Macbeth

2. The Burden of Repeated Sin


a. We sin because we are _________ to sin

Psalm 51:5. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.


b. We sin because it is _________ to sin

Romans 7: 5, 7-8

5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.


c. We sin because we _________ to sin

Heb 11:25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.


Romans 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?


Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.


3. The Burden of Forgiveness


Matthew 18:32-35

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.

33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’

34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


O Lord, remember not only the men and woman of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us: Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering, our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble. When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

4. The Freedom of Forgiveness


Psalm 51:11-12.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me


Psalm 51:14-15

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,

you who are God my Savior,

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 Open my lips, Lord,

and my mouth will declare your praise.


Luke 7:44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.

46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.

47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Forgiveness restores a relationship at a great personal cost to the one forgiving.

Reflection/Discussion

List of names to forgive, including yourself

Which burden do you struggle with the most?

What steps will you take to correct it?


Picture: Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

Recent Sermons