Rev. Brian Johnson

Scripture: Romans 6:5-11; Psalm 32:1-5

Forgiveness is a gift that is offered by God to everyone.  That means we are called to be mediators of forgiveness – offering words of grace and forgiveness to a world desperate to hear them – and that forgiveness is for us too.  Think of the thing you’ve done that feels unforgiveable – God offers you forgiveness for that thing.  And, part of being a mediator of forgiveness is that, as forgiven people, we are invited to be in the business of making things right – as Jesus makes things right through the cross.  If we’ve been racist in the past and are seeking God’s forgiveness for that, maybe that looks like working for racial justice.  If we’ve been hateful to someone, maybe that looks like reaching out to be kind to them.  Not to earn forgiveness – forgiveness is a free gift – but to begin to heal the broken relationship and join in the work of restoring love and community.

Combination of two sermons.  Notes from first: Forgive others so that you might be forgiven. This is not a gift to hold back on, but one to share fully and abundantly. As the old saying goes, “Holding onto anger is like drinking rat poison and expecting the other person to die.” The situations, circumstances, and people we hold onto end up hurting us the most. Forgiving isn’t saying what you did is ok or even that I’m ok with you now; however, it is saying, “I’m letting go of this because we both deserve so much more.” How could forgiving someone else show God’s love, to both her and you? Notes from second: How do we feel about the idea that we could be the mediators of forgiveness? That the greatness and fullness of God’s forgiveness for us is something we could possibly withhold from another or even ourselves. The reality is that God has accomplished the work of forgiveness and given it to us freely. Why would we ever choose to hold that back from or for someone else? We’ll think in this message about the ways we have experienced forgiveness in our own lives, and what it might take for us to offer another this most precious gift. Furthermore, in this closing message, we’ll ask “why wait on forgiveness”? Forgiveness puts us in the most royal of palaces. It permits us to stand next to God. It restores relationships, heals wounds, and establishes new vision. So what is there left to do? What are you waiting on? Go. Forgive as you have been forgiven, and discover the life that God has prepared for you.