A few years ago, I was at an event where numerous friends had gathered to celebrate the return of a cohort from an injury. He had been involved in a car accident which nearly cost his life. You see John (not his real name) was at a party and had consumed a great deal of alcohol and, as the night came to a close, he tried to find the keys to his car, but a friend had hidden the keys knowing he would try to drive home. They had lost track of John and assumed that he took a cab or walked but that was not the case. John got into the car with another party goer. To make a long story short, they got into an accident and the driver, Steve (not his real name), came out unscathed while John ended up battling for his life with head injuries and multiple broken bones. It took almost a year of rehab for John to recover enough to go back to work and while the scars on his face would still require further surgeries the emotional pain would always be there. Steve: he disappeared and no one really knew what happened to him.
The old crew got back together again to celebrate John’s return to work. The party started off well (no alcohol was consumed) and was completely relaxed and jovial until Steve walked in the door. Many there were thinking what one of the lads shouted “what are you doing here?” You see, the group had blamed Steve for almost killing John and then when he just disappeared, they were really upset. From the back of the room we heard John holler for us to pipe down and asked us to lay off Steve. You see, Steve was arrested on the scene which none of us knew, he confessed to his mistake, did his time, and went into a recovery program immediately upon his release. What none of us knew was that Steve not only realized what he had done but he also reached out to John every day he was in jail and every day he was in recovery. Steve had, on the night of the accident, pleaded with God to spare his friend and when he found out John was expected to live, Steve dedicated his life to Jesus. John, already a man of faith, forgave Steve and their friendship grew over the year. You see, John held firm to the message in the Book of Romans.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26 NLT
John took the time to explain to us that Steve had seen the error of his ways, asked forgiveness, and was forgiven. He built the relationship with John and together, they both healed over time. John could have held Steve’s transgression over his head, but he chose to release John from the bond of his error and John asked the group to let go of their anger towards Steve as well. Holding the past over someone’s head not only hurts the other person but is an anchor that holds us from fully appreciating the freedom of the good life. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
This Sunday, we will examine the gift of forgiveness and what it means to welcome the grace of God. We would love for you to join us either in person or online Sunday at 10:30 AM MST.
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We look forward to seeing you this Sunday.
Our Mission “To live the love of Christ”