Sunday, June 7, 2009

On Relationships and Forgiveness

We are doing a series on Sunday mornings called "Be Transformed" based on the book of Ephesians and on the principles of Celebrate Recovery. This week's sermon was entitled, "Repairing Relationships." The verse for yesterday's sermon was:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
~ Ephesians 4:31-32 (TNIV)

If you have time to listen to the sermon, please do! In the course of the sermon, a couple shares their profound and powerful testimony of how God can restore broken-beyond-repair relationships. (To listen, look down the left sidebar on the church's website and simply click the play button.) Heck, after next week I would seriously recommend you get your hands on the whole series! (I hear we've entered the age of technology and you can now download sermons from iTunes. Someone more technical than I will need to explain how to get there. Maybe just try searching "CrossRoads Church" in the iTunes store...)

If you don't have the time to listen, I'll do my best to summarize the key points.

3 Reasons why we should forgive:

1. God has forgiven us. (I will never have to forgive anyone more than God has forgiven me.)

2. Resentment doesn't work. (Not forgiving makes me angry, resentful, isolated, bitter, lonely, miserable, difficult to be around, and just plain unhappy. Unforgiveness hurts me, but it doesn't actually hurt the person I am withholding forgiveness from at all.)

3. We are going to need forgiveness in the future. (Matthew 6:14-15 (WENT) says If you forgive others for the wrong things they have done, then your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you for the wrong things you have done.)

How to forgive:

1. Reveal our hurt. (Think of the people that have hurt me, how they've hurt me, and be honest with myself about it.)

2. Release the person that hurt us. (Whether they ask for it or not, for my sake and God's I release them/ forgive them for what they've done. God cannot do all His "good stuff" in my life if I am bound up by anger and hurt.)

3. Replace our hurt with God's peace. (I need to trust God to right the wrongs and serve justice, and ask Him to fill my heart with His peace.)

This sermon really struck a chord with me. I know that healthy relationships are the foundation of a happy life. They are the manifestation of a healthy walk with Christ. They are so important that God gave us a command about them: "The most important [commandment]," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29a, 30-31, TNIV)

Nothing is more important than our relationships with God and others. Yet I find myself constantly messing them up. It's so easy to let myself be hurt by something someone does or says, then carry that hurt around with me like a badge of honour. (Maybe it has to do with hormones and emotions...)

This past week, I have been pretty much bombarded with messages about forgiveness. In The Love Dare, in Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman, encountering a messy family relationship where unforgiveness dominates, this sermon. One thing I have learned is that if God keeps sending me the same message a hundred different ways, He's trying to get my attention. I guess I better settle in for some time with Him to hear what He is saying to me...


  1. I'm finding things tough with my other half at the moment, not helped by the fact that he is not a Christian, or a church goer, or a Bible Believer. I'm struggling to be able to work things out.

  2. Smacked me right between the eyes!

    Thanks for sharing - I am going to download those.


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