“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.
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Last Sunday, my sermon focused upon forgiveness. Jesus taught about forgiveness often. What can be missed about the teaching is just how revolutionary it was at the time. At the time of Jesus, the common belief of the day was that people judge, God decides who to forgive. Jesus turned the understanding of the day upside-down by saying God judges, people forgive. Judge not, Jesus taught, lest you be judged. Forgive, Jesus taught, as you have been forgiven. Now, some 2000 years later, it is commonly believed that being judgmental is not good and learning to forgive is important. Few people know that these beliefs originated with Jesus. Of course, believing this and being able to live this way are not the same thing.
Judge not, Jesus said. What does that mean? We make judgements about people all the time. Sometimes our own safety is at stake. And sometimes people do things that require some kind judgment on our part.
When you hear the words “judge not”, what do they mean to you?
For me, Jesus words speak about the value of other people more than they speak about people’s behavior. When someone does something wrong, me included, it is good to be made aware of it. But, doing something wrong does not make a person somehow less important or valuable. Thinking of ourselves as better than others is the kind of problem Jesus was addressing. Remember he asked us why we point out the speck in another person’s eye when we have a log in our own! None of us are perfect, so don’t judge others.
This recognition that none of us are perfect is important when it comes to learning to forgive. So, lets talk about forgiveness for a moment.
In my research, I learned that 76% of Christians say they have offered unconditional forgiveness. So, forgiveness is something most of us know a little about. What does forgiveness look like? How do you understand what it means to forgive another person?
When talking about forgiveness it is important to remember that there is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. I can forgive a person I believe has wronged me even if the person won’t own up to what was done, even if the person is no longer around. Forgiving involves one person—you. Reconciling with another person requires forgiveness and involves all people involved. So, for instance, I forgave a man who undermined my ministry years ago. I released him from the judgement he was owed. But the man never owned up to what he had done, and never was interested in doing anything about our relationship. So, while I forgave him, I was unable to reconcile (at least as of now).
For many people, forgiveness is not easy. How about for you? Is it easy or challenging to forgive? And if it is challenging, what gets in the way of being able to forgive? What helps you be able to forgive?
It can be helpful to think of forgiveness as a spiritual practice. While it is not an easy spiritual practice, but the more often we forgive the easier it gets. Why do you think that is?
Often when forgiving another person, we think about the impact our action might have on the person we are forgiving. But forgiveness impacts the forgiver as well. How has forgiveness impacted your life?
Jesus taught us about the importance of forgiving other people. It is not always easy, but it is good!
God bless you,
Podcast & Sermon Video Links
“Forgiveness” Sermon Video