Monday, July 25, 2011

Sacrificial Forgiveness

I was back in the pulpit Sunday with the story of Hosea. I prayed alot over this message, in part because I knew that it would be a hard story for some to take. The whole idea of sacrificing as a way to show forgiveness is radical. Hosea did it for Gomer, God did it for us, but should we be expected to do it for those who have wounded us so badly?

I think the answer is yes... but I want to say that arriving at that conclusion does not come easy.
It does not come without alot of wrestling. And I believe it takes alot of time. No one arrives at the point of sacrificial forgiveness overnight.

As I preached the message, I looked out over the congregation in both services, knowing that some people have been so hurt by others that it seems impossible that they could take the step of sacrificing for that very person. At one point, I almost broke down and cried right there, because I could see the hurt on a person's face. It is a person that I love and care for deeply. I wanted to call a time out, and just freeze the audience and tell that person, "Listen, you may never see yourself getting to that point, and I understand. But if there is ever a glimpse of you being willing to do that, seize it. Don't let it pass. Take the biggest risk and just see what God does with it."

Well, I could not freeze the audience and I know I needed to move on. But the experience reminded me that I preach to real people, and that I am a real person with real feelings. I read once that if you preach to the pain in the pew, you will always have something to say. That is what happened yesterday.

If you missed it, I would invite you to listen the 7.24 message on Hosea. I think it will challenge you. It is challenging me to think about forgiveness to the depth of God's love for us. What a message to the world we would have if we would forgive as the Lord forgave you. It's not really an option. Colossians 3:13 lays that out. It can be hard, it can take time, and it may be quite awkward. But isn't the same true of what God did for us?

It's a journey....a journey we all travel


PS. Thanks for being the kind of church that is willing to tackle the hard subjects. There are probably more to come....


Ap said...

Thank you for not running from the hard truths… you are much appreciated and loved.


Celia said...

thank you for this Charlie, God is using you in big ways and this really touched my heart more than you'll ever know