“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast
We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!
Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.
You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.
Pastor David’s devotional for November 10, 2021
II Corinthians 5:17-18
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
During the past 2 weeks, I have been talking about the importance of forgiveness when it comes to the Christian life. Jesus teaches about the need for his followers to forgive, and he did so often. During last weeks sermon I talked about how God can take the worst things about our lives and turn them into something beautiful. Have you had that experience? Has there been a time when God took something painful about your life and brought from it a blessing, something beautiful?
Often forgiveness is what sits between the worst things that have happened to us and God making something beautiful, something new. Forgiving people who have hurt us opens the door for God to work in our lives to bring healing. Think about a time when you forgave a person for hurting you. How do you describe the changes forgiving others has brought to your life? One definition for forgiveness is to give up on the hope of a different past in order to embrace a different future. Does this definition align with an experience of forgiveness in your life?
Near the end of last Sunday’s sermon, I talked about reconciliation. Reconciliation is different from forgiveness. To forgive someone takes on person—you. You can forgive someone at any time, in any place, and regardless of whether the person you forgive is aware of what you are doing. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver—it results in the pain of past events no longer occupying a place in your life, no longer defining your life in any way.
Reconciliation is different. Reconciliation takes 2 people: the person who was hurt and the person who did the hurting. It requires the person who did the hurting owning up to the impact of his or her words and actions, so that change can become possible. And it requires the person who was hurt to be honest about the impact words and actions have had on her or his life. To forgive someone is to say this thing that you did to me will no longer have power in my life, nor will it define my life in any way. To reconcile with another person is to say this thing that happened between us will no longer define our relationship, we choose for our relationship to be defined by forgiveness and growth.
At the end of my sermon, I presented an image. After forgiving someone who hurt us, it is as if we have two paths that present themselves. One path releases the person and whatever relationship that could have been ends. The other path takes us to the work of reconciling.
I remember years ago a friend and colleague of mine told lies about me, undermining my ministry, to make himself look good. His words and actions hurt. I chose to forgive him, and I did—I carry no burden from that experience. However, when I tried to talk to my friend/colleague, he refused to admit doing anything wrong, and then tried to turn other friends against me. With no willingness to acknowledge what he had done; reconciliation was not possible. While he remains a colleague, we are no longer friends. I forgave him but had no choice but to take the path of release—and the relationship as it had once been ended.
Have you had this kind of experience? Have there been people you have forgiven but with whom you were unable to go down the path of reconciliation?
I remember another time when a friend did something that was hurtful. I forgave the friend. But, in this instance, I sat down with my friend and explained how her words/actions had impacted me. She had no idea how she had impacted me. She apologized and we talked about how to keep such things from happening between us in the future. What came out of our conversations was reconciliation and a relationship that was deeper and healthier than it had previously been. Forgiveness gave way to reconciliation and a good relationship that has endured. There is great power in reconciliation! It can transform relationships!
Have you experienced reconciliation with another person? How did reconciliation happen? And how did reconciliation change your relationship?
St Paul says that we who have been reconciled to God have been given the ministry of reconciliation. What does it mean to you to be given the ministry or reconciliation?
We are ambassadors for Christ Jesus, we represent the one whose sacrifice brings forgiveness and opens the door for reconciliation. Thanks be to God.
God bless you,
Podcast & Sermon Video Links
“Forgive Others – Part 2” Sermon Video