Sermon by Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: Beautiful, Week 5 – “Forgiveness…In a Sentence”
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:9-12
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[c]21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
We see this scripture modeled in the life of Jesus. If we want our relationships to be healthy, we have to be willing to lead out.
Let’s focus in on Romans 12:18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
If it is possible…The Reality Step
- Pastor Dale says that some things are just not possible, that we are to be wise in our expectations in our relationships. How do we cope with the reality that some relationships can’t be reconciled?
- Dr. Henry Cloud writes in his book “Necessary Endings”: “We have absolutely no control over another human being and their responses to us. We can construct boundaries around bad behavior, but we cannot create right behavior in someone else.” How does this inability to control others and their reactions stop us from reaching out in our relationships?
- Are there relationships in your life right now that you are trying to make another other person behave the way you want them to? What can we actually control in that circumstance?
As far as it depends on you…The Atmospheric Step
- Read Matthew 5:23-25 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
From this Pastor Dale says, “Go quickly, go first, go often.” Reconciliation means to clear up or take away any blocks to a peaceful and healthy relationship. Can you think of someone that YOU need to go to quickly, first, or frequently and try to make it right? Why is so hard to go first?
- Pastor Dale pointed out that the Apostle Paul chose the words “as far” instead of “as long as” it depends on you. What is the difference? What does going “far” look like in setting the atmosphere for reconciliation? How does Jesus’ example inspire us in going far?
- We need to take responsibility for our behavior and reactions to live in healthy relationships. We set the tone. We must be willing to go “as far” as we can with the things we can control.
With a relationship in mind that you may need to seek peace in, write one practical thing for the following questions you can do to set the atmosphere:
– What do I need to control in myself in order to increase the possibility for peace in the relationship?
– What can I do to de-escalate the tension in our relationship?
– What can I do to reestablish trust?
– “What can I do that can untie this “knot” between us?
Live at peace with everyone…The Miracle Step
Jesus spoke the truth and loved perfectly at the same time. The Apostle Paul also wrote in Ephesians 4:15-16
“speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
- Why is it hard for us to balance speaking truth and communicating love?
- Anne Lamotts sums up how living with unforgiveness feels, “Unforgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” On the contrary Jesus offers us his peace and says to forgive and you will be forgiven. Matthew 5:9, Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God. How does the forgiveness Jesus offers us, free us to forgive others in our lives?
- Share one experience where you forgave someone and how that made you feel.