What’s Up with Forgiveness?

Worship Service for September 19, 2021

WELCOME

Good day, welcome and thanks for joining CrossPointe Community Church’s online Word worship presentation. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May They bless you this day as a result of your choosing to worship them.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SCRIPTURAL CALL TO WORSHIP

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
My faithful love promised to David. . . .

Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on them,
yes, turn to our God, for He will freely pardon.

Isaiah 55:1–3, 6–7 (NIV)

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

As We Gather

Coomes, Tom/Fay, Mike

As we gather, may Your Spirit work within us.
As we gather, may we glorify Your name.
Knowing well that as our hearts begin to worship,
We’ll be blessed because we came.
We’ll be blessed because we came.

As we gather, may Your Spirit work within us.
As we gather, may we glorify Your name.
Knowing well that as our hearts begin to worship,
We’ll be blessed because we came.
We’ll be blessed because we came.

We’ll be blessed because we came.

©1981 Maranatha! Music (admin by The Copyright Company)/
Coomesietunes (admin by The Copyright Company)
CCLI License No. 1843349

Arise

Moen, Don/Baloche, Paul

One thing we ask of You,
One thing that we desire,
That as we worship You,
Lord come and change our lives.
Arise, arise, arise, arise.
Arise, take your place.
Be enthroned on our praise.
Arise, King of kings,
Holy God, as we sing.
‘Arise, arise, arise, arise’.

One thing we ask of You,
One thing that we desire,
That as we worship You,
Lord come and change our lives.
Arise, arise, arise, arise.
Arise, take your place.
Be enthroned on our praise.
Arise, King of kings,
Holy God, as we sing.
‘Arise, arise, arise, arise’.

We lift You up,
We lift You up,
We lift You up on our praises.

We lift You up,
We lift You up,
We lift You up on our praises.

We lift You up,
We lift You up,
We lift You up on our praises.

We lift You up,
We lift You up,
We lift You up on our praises.

Arise, take your place.
Be enthroned on our praise.
Arise, King of kings,
Holy God, as we sing.
‘Arise, arise, arise, arise’.

Arise, take your place.
Be enthroned on our praise.
Arise, King of kings,
Holy God, as we sing.
‘Arise, arise, arise, arise’.
ARISE!

©2003 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

As We Seek Your Face

Bilbrough, Dave

As we seek Your face,
May we know Your heart,
Feel Your presence, acceptance,
As we seek Your face.

Move among us now.
Come reveal Your power.
Show Your presence, acceptance,
Move among us now.

At Your feet we fall,
Sov’reign Lord.
We cry, ‘Holy, holy’.
At Your feet we fall.

©1990 Kingway’s Thankyou Music
(admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, Our God, at Your feet we fall as respond to your invitation to come into Your Holy presence. We are hungry and thirsty for what You freely offer those who seek You; Your faithful love. Move among us now, reveal Your power that can bring about change in our lives so that we might more perfectly worship and adore You. Help us to truly praise You, not only with our lips, but more importantly, with our lives. For we ask this in the name of the One who came for us. His name, of course, is Jesus, our Lord, amen.

OFFERING

If you would like to send your offering through the mail, our mailing address is:

P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in worshipping and honoring God in this tangible way.

The reason that we give is because

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
He utters His voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations He has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
He burns the shields with fire.
Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Psalm 46

OFFERING/PRAYER SONG

Still

Morgan, Reuben

Hide me now… under Your wings.
Cover me, within Your mighty hand.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, You are King over the flood.
I will be still…know You are God.

Find rest my soul…in Christ alone.
Know His power…in quietness and trust.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, You are King over the flood.
I will be still…know You are God.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, You are King over the flood.
I will be still…know You are God.
I will be still…know You are God.
I will be still…know You are God.

©2002 Reuben Morgan, Hillsong Publishing
CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

Brad Winter

Dear Heavenly Father

Thank you for this beautiful morning and for the privilege and freedom of being able to gather together as a family and hear your word.

We thank you for our pastor and his wife, the talented musicians and those who work so hard to make each sunday worship such a welcoming and wonderful experience.

We pray for those that are joining us for the first time that they will feel welcome by the wonderful people of CrossPointe Community Church and they will be moved by your spirit and accept you as their Lord and Savior.

We pray our faith will be strengthened with every challenge we encounter. We know you are there lord, listening and waiting to answer our prayers. Steady us on our feet and bring calm to our storm.

May each of us be empowered when we leave here today to keep our eyes open and focused forward. Not focused on the problems in the world, but focused on you and serving and loving others. Please do not let fear creep into our minds and please keep us safe.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

SCRIPTURE

When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and He stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill Him. But they were afraid of Him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.

That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city. The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.

Mark 11:15-25

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

MESSAGE

What’s Up with Forgiveness?

Randy K’Meyer

What’s up with forgiveness?

Oscar Wilde said, “Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much.” 1

In a similar vein, comedian Buddy Hackett had it: “I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge; You know why? Because while you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.” 2

Political figure, television personality and Christian author of four best sellers, Marianne Williamson said, “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” 4

But perhaps Mother Teresa said best, “If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” 5

Last week, we were reminded that forgiveness is not an option for Christians, forgiveness is hard, forgiveness is healing, and that when God enables us to forgive someone who wronged us, it’s somewhat of a miracle.

Today, to get a better handle on forgiveness, I’d like to talk about four misconceptions that can derail the process of forgiveness.

Misconception # 1: Forgiveness requires us to rebuild a relationship with the person who wronged us.

When we were in Junior High, my cousin Mark Schull nicknamed me Roon.

It wasn’t the most flattering nickname, but coming from Mark it didn’t bother me. But then one day in gym class my friend Mark Hawranick added ‘Baboon’ to it, and started making fun of me, “Roon Baboon, Roon Baboon.” Probably had something to do with me previously nicknamed him ‘Coconut Head.’

Anyway, when he called me Roon Baboon one too many times, I lost it, started a little brawl that had to be broken up by the teacher. But by the time school was over it was like nothing happened and Mark and I walked home together as we often did.

But sometimes people hurt us badly; a husband or wife cheated on us, a so-called friend repeatedly slandered us, a boss has continually abused us. And the question is does the Bible require us to rebuild a relationship with someone who has wronged us in order to say that we have forgiven them?

And the answer is: “No, we do not have to.” I could not find any scripture that indicates forgiveness must include rebuilding a relationship. To be sure, there are examples of this occurring; Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers; but it is not Biblically mandated.

There will be cases where we have been hurt so badly, that to consider rebuilding a relationship with that person who wronged us will be impossible. Paul says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Sometimes, it will not be possible. The hurt is so toxic, it would not be wise to try to reconcile.

What we need to realize is forgiveness and reconciliation are two separate processes.

And even if I wanted to be reconciled to the person who wronged me, although I can unilaterally forgive another person, it’s going to take that other person’s cooperation to effect a reconciliation.

Having said all that, I still believe that after forgiveness takes place, it does honor God to try and effect reconciliation at some point. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18).

But don’t be confused. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different processes. Forgiveness comes first. After you have forgiven the person who hurt you, then you can decide whether or not it is in your best interest to pursue reconciliation.

Misconception # 2: that forgiveness implies we have to wish to see the person who wronged us released from the consequences of their actions.

Consider a wife who divorces her husband because he has been unfaithful. She has three small children at home, and her income is insufficient to provide for their needs. Her husband is required to make child support payments, but he has been increasingly lax in that regard. He comes to her begging for mercy: “I’m sorry for the pain I caused you, but these support payments are killing me financially. If you’ve really forgiven me, don’t make me keep paying for my mistake.”

Does forgiveness require the woman to agree to reduce her husband’s child support payments?

Many people mistakenly would say, “Yes.”

We can see how such a misunderstanding makes many people hesitant to forgive.

However; nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that we must pair forgiveness with the release of our offender from the consequences of their actions.

On the contrary, the Bible is full of stories where forgiveness takes place, yet the person who did the wrong was held responsible for their actions. To be sure, God forgave David, (II Samuel 12:13), but speaking through the prophet Nathan, God informs David, “the sword shall never depart from your house” (12:10). Those who have ever studied the life of David know all too well that he and some of his family members endured several negative consequences that were set in motion when David sinned. (12:10-12).

However, please do not take me to imply that we who have been wronged should do all in our power to make sure the person who wronged us suffers negative consequences. That would be vengeance. And we know the Bible warns us against that kind of retaliatory behavior. Paul to the Romans (12:19): “Never take your own revenge, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’”

While we are to avoid vengeance, we are to allow justice to take its course.

So, we must guard against allowing this misconception to derail the process of forgiveness that can set us free.

Misconception # 3 Forgiveness also implies forgetting.

Let’s see a show of hands, how many of you believe that the Bible contains the adage: “Forgive and forget?”

That phrase is not to be found in the Bible!

Accepting this notion will many times derail the whole forgiveness process. Harry borrowed $1000 and has never made an attempt to repay it. Since forgiving requires me to also forget and I know that I could never forget about $1000, why knock myself out trying to forgive Harry?

Equating forgiveness with forgetting also creates doubt over whether forgiveness really took place and that brings on unnecessary guilt. “If I really have forgiven my father, why can’t I forget the hurtful words he spoke to me decades ago? Maybe, I really haven’t forgiven him.”

Accepting the idea that forgiveness implies forgetting sets up a very vicious cycle, whereby we think it’s our Christian duty to forget what so and so did, but each time we try to forget we are actually recalling the event and therefore making sure we don’t forget it.

David Augsburger explains it this way in his book Seventy Times Seven:

Just as the man with insomnia, attempting to stop the mad race of his mind, finds that the more he tries to silence his thoughts, the swifter they fly, so the person who struggles blindly to forget only sears the thought more deeply into his memory.” 6

Here’s the bottom line: Forgetting most offenses is not humanly possible. Forgiving others does not eliminate the memory of their wronging us. It is precisely because we remember, that the need for forgiveness is real.

But at the same time, allow me to point out that after genuine forgiveness takes place, time will allow the power of those memories to diminish.

There’s the great illustration of ringing a church bell and then letting go of the rope and how the bell keeps on swinging slower and slower until it stops.

The same is often true of forgiveness. In the act of forgiving we are taking our hand off the rope. But if we have been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we shouldn’t be surprised that it takes a while for them to stop ringing in our heads.

Forgive, let it go, and over time, the memories will lose their power to inflict emotional damage.

Misconception # 4 We are justified to withhold forgiveness until and unless the other party expresses some kind of repentance and/or asks to be forgiven.

60% of people agree that we should withhold forgiveness until the other repents. 7

Should we withhold forgiveness until the party who wronged us shows some kind of repentance or remorse or at least asks to be forgiven?

The Bible teaches unconditional forgiveness. Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against anyone; so that your Heavenly Father may forgive your transgressions” (Mark 11:25).

Did Jesus say to forgive only if the other person repents and/or asks to be forgiven? No, our forgiveness of others is to be unconditional.

Unconditional forgiveness is not only Biblical, it’s also practical.

If an apology or some kind of repentance is a requirement of forgiveness, then that means, unless they come to us first, which doesn’t happen very often, we must go to them. “Hey, I want to let you know that you did me wrong, you offended me. Now I’d like you to admit you were wrong, I want you to say you are sorry.”

Now there’s nothing wrong with confronting someone who has wronged us. But don’t forget that forgiveness and reconciliation are two distinct processes. Forgiveness first, and then reconciliation should you choose to do so.

And practically speaking, let’s say we confront the person, make our hurt known, and they respond with an excuse, or try to defend themselves, or offer what is in our mind a weak apology or no apology? That places us in the position of having to judge whether or not they have repented enough to warrant our forgiveness.

And practically speaking, what happens if we have lost track of the person who has offended us? Are we automatically sentenced to a life of bitterness because so and so left no forwarding address?

And how many of us desperately desire to hear the words, “I’m sorry, please forgive me?” but death has rendered that person incapable of ever demonstrating remorse or repentance.

Do you see how the gift of unconditional forgiveness provides a way we can let go of the wounds of the past inflicted by those who are incapable of repentance?

Forgiveness is about our attitude, not their action.

In conclusion, Sue Monk Kidd writes, “I learned a long time ago that some people would rather die than forgive. It’s a strange truth, but forgiveness is a painful and difficult process. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s an evolution of the heart.”

Do you know what it’s going to take to pull it off? In a word: vulnerability. Being vulnerable enough to put yourself in a position where we forgive unconditionally, where we take the first step by granting forgiveness.

Richard Moore of Derry, Northern Ireland, was just ten years old when blinded by a British soldier who fired a rubber bullet at him at point-blank range while he was walking home from school. For 30 years, Richard wanted to meet that soldier to give him a piece of his mind. And then one day Ricard went to church where he came to grips with the fact that even though he was unfairly blinded, he too was a sinner in need of the forgiveness that God through Jesus provides. He bowed the knee to Christ and became a Christian.

When he later heard Ephesians 4:32: “Be ye kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ has forgiven you” he decided it was time. After discovering who the soldier was and where he lived, Richard wrote to him to get permission to visit, and then he met with him face-to-face, offering his personal, heartfelt forgiveness.

Here’s what Richard later said about the experience:

Something peculiar and wonderful happened. Something inside me changed, something paradoxical. I began to realize that the gift of forgiveness I thought I was bestowing on the soldier who shot me was actually a gift from God to me. It didn’t even matter whether the soldier wanted or needed forgiveness; the gift freed me, leaving me with a sense of serenity and blessedness. All through my boyhood my mother had wanted the impossible for me; that I would be given back my sight. I even woke up one night to find my dear mother on her knees, next to my bed, pleading with God for that to happen. Well, when I met the soldier and forgave him, my mother’s prayers were answered. I was given a new vision, and my real wound, the one that needed healing more than my eyes, was healed.” 8

In a similar manner, may the healing begin today.

CLOSING PRAYER

I encourage you to pray as you feel led by the Spirit of God.

CLOSING SONG

Freely, Freely

Owens, Carol

God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name,
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name;
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share His love as He told me to.

He said, ‘Freely, freely,
You have received;
Freely, freely give.
Go in My name,
And because you believe,
Others will know that I live.

All pow’r is giv’n in Jesus’ name,
In earth and heav’n in Jesus’ name;
And in Jesus’ name I come to you
To share His pow’r as He told me to.

He said, ‘Freely, freely,
You have received;
Freely, freely give.
Go in My name,
And because you believe,
Others will know that I live.

©1972 Bud John Songs, Inc.
(a div. of EMI Christian Music Publishing)
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

II Corinthians 13:11

1 https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/forgiveness-quotes

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 David W. Augsburger, The Freedom of Forgiveness: Seventy Times Seven,
[Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishers, © 1970], Page 129.

7 Survey of Love and Forgiveness in American Society
Fetzer Institute, October 2010
https://fetzer.org/sites/default/files/images/resources/attachment/%5Bcurrent-date%3Atiny%5D/Survey%20of%20Love%20and%20Forgiveness%20in%20American%20Society%20Report.pdf

8 Richard Moore, interview by Pat Coyle, https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2007/april/1041607.html

Randy K'Meyer

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