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.
Somebody hurt you, maybe yesterday, maybe a lifetime ago, and you can’t forget it. You didn’t deserve the hurt, but it went deep, and even today, that hurt is bothering you. So how do we follow Paul’s words in Colossians 3 that say, “Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
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.
Our life may be stained. We might be ashamed of something we did or something somebody did to us. We might feel guilty over something we did or by something somebody did to us. How do we get rid of that stain of guilt?
All of us have been hurt by somebody. Some of those wounds go very deep. We might see betrayals as being stabbed in the back. A hurt that can never be forgiven or forgotten. So as Christians how do we move on? Fortunately the Apostle Paul gives us a pathway to work through these issues.
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.
While Jesus is at a dinner with Pharisees a prostitute crashes the party. She walks into Simon’s house. He may have let out a gasp. She has perfumed ointment in her hand. Why does she come to find Jesus? Why does she bring such expensive oil? Why does she crash the party?
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.