There are more nut-cake families and fruit-cake families than angel-food-cake families in the Bible. Do you think you have a dysfunctional family? Imagine being a member of the Adam-Eve family or the Isaac-Rebekah family. Then there is Joseph, who received special treatment from his dad Jacob. The anger and hatred grew among his siblings until they decided to murder him. Fortunately, they settled on selling him into slavery instead. The day of reckoning came when the brothers needed Joseph’s help to survive.
When someone hurts us, we want to get even. But that can turn into an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The remedy is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not easy. It is difficult and painful. We wonder if there are limits on who we must forgive and how many times we forgive them. The apostle Peter thought he was bighearted when he said we must forgive seven times, but he found out that Jesus had different expectations about forgiveness.
One of the most powerful concepts of the Christian faith is forgiveness. Yet many of us struggle with it. Maybe we feel guilty over something we have done, and the feelings of shame hound us over the years. Or, possibly our relationships with others have been fractured, and people have been cut off from one another. So how do we work towards forgiveness with God, our neighbors, and our family and friends? In a four-week sermon series, we will explore the many dimensions of forgiveness.
Maybe you can’t imagine forgiving certain people in your life. Yet Jesus says that before we can fully worship God we are to be reconciled with our brother or sister. We know that forgiveness is one response to hurt and separation that we can choose but how do we work through the feelings and resistance we may have to forgive those who have hurt us deeply.
We have a fundamental need for human companionship. All this has become painfully obvious during this time of physical distancing. We are wired to need other people. This week we will look at some scriptures from Proverbs that give us clarity about the type of friendships God wants us to build.
Why did a woman with a bad reputation bring expensive perfume and anoint Jesus’ feet with it? There is a back story that Luke is not telling us. What happened earlier in the day? What encounter did Jesus have with this woman? As Pastor Fred explores this story we may find it has transformative effects in our life.
A diverse group of people were drawn to Jesus. Tax Collectors, Sinners, Pharisees and Teachers of the Law were all interested in Jesus. Some thought they were unworthy of God’s love and some thought they had earned their way into God’s love. Both these assumptions turned out to be wrong. Those who knew they were lost were on the right track and those who thought they weren’t part of the lost group were in jeopardy of being lost. In the lost and found chapter of the Bible, Jesus reaches out to both types of people.
God loves you and there is nothing you can do that will make Him love you any less.
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on January 27, 2019 by Rev. Fred A. Steinberg
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on September 18, 2016 by Rev. Fred Steinberg
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on March 13, 2016 by Rev. Fred Steinberg