Two children playing happily in the back yard when suddenly an ear-shattering scream is heard followed closely by another and two kids come running around the corner of the house, both in tears, both trying to get the story out before the other. I am sure there are those out there who know this scenario or who live it on a daily basis. There are as many ways to deal with this as there are parents and grandparents on this planet. For some, they separate the two combatants, go calm down the one and then go to the other, calm them down and proceed with a negotiated settlement that sees them return to a state of play. When my brother and I acted out, we were sent to our rooms to think about it and not come out until we were allowed. One thing was very common in that we were told to say sorry for what we did. There were also times when our sorry was as heartfelt as saying thank you for that scratchy wool sweater at Christmas. Now before I get a bunch of emails saying they liked that scratchy sweater at Christmas let me say this – you were one of the few. So, to continue, my parents would make me say it over if they felt it was not heartfelt. There is sorry, then there is sorry (I am going to be grounded for a month if I don’t choke this out) and then there is the heartfelt “I AM SOOOOOO SORRY” that also includes ugly cry and those hiccup sobs.
Let’s bring this back to church. How many times have you been hurt at church and the pain is so bad you leave and then blame the church for it? For the sake of honesty, I can admit that there are times when it happens to me, and I feel like just walking away. Happened just before I was supposed to preach, and I had to leave. I did come back in time to speak (the subject was joy) and, while the person that caused me to burst into tears was absolutely oblivious to what they had done, I was crushed. Later, a friend who had noticed what happened, and realized the effects of the treatment, made mention and they were told that is not what was meant. The apology came a few days later (I was not expecting it) and went something like this; “I am sorry you took it the wrong way but...”. Where am I going with this? Glad you asked. Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive others who trespass against me. I did change it slightly to personalize it but here is the truth. Forgive like you have been forgiven and do so with an open heart. Ask forgiveness with that gut wrenching, ugly cry, deep down hiccup sob request and on the flip side, forgive with tears of joy and full-on heart embrace that says, “it's all good”. You see, relationships can be destroyed because our own pride gets in the way of seeing past the faults of others. I am not perfect, and I can upset other people. It is the last thing I want to do but it does happen and the best thing I can do is to ask forgiveness and not find a way to deepen the chasm with the word “but”. Why not forgive as you have been forgiven? What is the outcome of all this? A deeper relationship within our community and a blessing of Peace.
The Main Avenue service will be broadcast online (see links below), or you are more than welcome to join us in person at 402 Main Ave. W in Sundre, AB.
Our Mission “To live the love of Christ”