Healing Past Hurt | Sandals Church

(bright music) – Hey everybody, welcome to Sandals Church where we are all about
this vision of being real. And if you wanna dive
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about what God is doing through Sandals Church. But thanks so much for joining us today. Enjoy the message. (upbeat music) – Hello Sandals Church. I also wanna welcome those
of you who are joining us via Sandals Church TV. And so it’s good to be
here with you today. I don’t know if you
were with us last week, but we’ve begun this new series called “The Cure For Loneliness.” And Pastor Fredo kind of opened it up and presented the problem. And that’s this: That there is an epidemic of loneliness not only in our country,
but across the globe. We’re seeing staggering statistics that reveal this problem of
isolation and loneliness. In fact I was thinking about it this week. Like when did I feel the loneliest that I’ve ever felt in my life? And I had been over the deep
end for a couple of years in high school, partying quite a bit. And I knew I needed to get away. I needed to change my environment. And so I went to college in Oklahoma and it was the first weekend of classes. They had this special little event thing, The Last Day of Summer they called it. And we went to this water
park in Oklahoma City. And before the park had opened there was this sort of side picnic area, some volleyball tables, volleyball tables, that was strange. Volleyball courts. And we were playing this
pickup game of volleyball. And all of the sudden I
started to get lightheaded. Started to get dizzy. And the world around me began to spin. And the next thing I knew I
woke up strapped to a stretcher getting put in an ambulance. I had no clue what had happened. I had to be told that just 10 minutes ago I had a grand maul seizure. I’d never had a seizure before in my life. As far as I knew I wasn’t epileptic. I got rushed to the
hospital, ran a buncha tests and all of these kinds of things and I remember just sort of
being as alone as I’d ever been. I was 1600 miles from my home, anyone or anything that I knew. And I remember I finally cried
out to God in my loneliness. It had been awhile since I’d
engaged the God that I knew. And so I know that that
internal experience of loneliness and
isolation, even in a world where we might be around a
lotta people, is very common. But it’s something I would
never wish on my worst enemy. And so what I love though
is that Pastor Fredo didn’t just leave us there. He pointed us to the solution. And that’s this idea that
the cure for loneliness is a table. It’s a table both in the literal sense that it’s a space that we
gather around, we share a meal, it’s a space where we get
to share about our days and what’s going on in our lives, our frustrations, our joys. But it’s also sort of this
metaphor that we’ll be using over the next several weeks that really is a metaphor
for the space within which the kind of community, the kind of human
flourishing in relationship that God wants for us,
that’s where this happens, at the table. And so the idea for the
rest of the series though, is to actually unpack those
things that get in the way of us getting to the table. What are the things that keep us isolated? Relationally? Maybe you’ve been at the table
but you’ve been displaced for one reason or another. Maybe you’ve been dismissed, right? There’s a circle of friends that you’re just not welcome anymore. Maybe you’ve dismissed
yourself because you believe, man I don’t know if being
at the table is worth it. People at the table are crazy, right? And maybe you’ve just
sorta, or you’ve been hurt and that’s really sort
of the topic for today. Is maybe you’ve been wounded at the table. And so maybe you didn’t ask to be excused but you just sort of slid your chair back, hoping nobody notices and
just sort of walked away. And so how do we get back to the table, especially when we’ve
been hurt at the table? And so before we jump
into our message today, I’d just ask that you’d
pray with us, pray with me that we would have God’s help as we sort through his word together. God we are so thankful that you have not left us to ourselves. God that you have given
us your word as a guide and my prayer is that you
would give us ears to hear, and God that you would also
just be with me as I deliver it, actually feeling a little
bit off physically, God, so sustain me, give me
strength and energy. And God would we have ears
to hear from your word and be changed by it today. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. So here’s kind of the first
thing I wanna share with you. God’s original design,
the plan for the table was actually this divine institution from the very beginning called the family. That was the space that God
intended for us to be safe, to be known, to find intimate
relationship with one another. But ever since the garden
of Eden, the family table, that space has been broken. And so each and every one of us, even if you had a good family
environment growing up, maybe both of your parents were present in the way that they were supposed to be and you say yeah, actually my
childhood wasn’t all that bad. There’s still some brokenness. Every family’s got it. And so what happened along the way is that we got hurt, right? And so there’s a reason that
therapists spend a lotta time just going back to childhood stuff. Childhood stuff. And so the story that
we’re gonna be a part of and jump into today is actually the story of a broken family. And it’s a crazy story. It takes up about the
second half of Genesis. And so before we jump into the passage I need to give a little bit of context. There’s this guy named Jacob. He needs a wife so his family
sends him to a different town to some relatives and he
meets this gal named Rachel. And the scriptures say that
Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. She was hot, right? She was fine, all right, okay? He was into her, okay? And so he approaches her dad, named Laban, this guy named Laban. And he says “Man, I want
your daughter, Rachel.” And so he says, “That’s fine”. “You gotta work for me for seven years.” And so if you’re a romantic or you’re into cheesy love stories like it’s actually a very powerful story. It says this, the Bible
says this about Jacob and his love for Rachel: After working for seven years, right? He loved her so much it
seemed as if but a few days. (congregation laughs) Right? And so he goes to marry her and Laban, this yahoo, he actually tricks, he dupes Jacob and on
the night of the wedding gives him actually his
older daughter, named Leah. Now here’s what the Bible in one translation says about Leah: She didn’t have a
sparkle in her eye, okay? Let me translate that for you. This is the Bible’s kind
way of saying that Leah, she was U-G-L-Y. U-G-L-Y, right? She had no alibi. Sorry. But he wasn’t into her. But he loved Rachel and
so he ended up working a whole another seven years. And if you thought your family was crazy, think of four moms. Not just one pair of,
one sister wives, right? But two pairs of sisters wives. There was some maids involved too. There were four moms that
ended up having 12 sons. In fact these were what
we would then later know as the 12 tribes of Israel. Because Jacob’s name
was changed to Israel. It was literally Jacob’s
sons, the 12 tribes of Israel. And so that’s where we pick up our story. And this story is one of the longest
narratives in the Bible. It’s actually from chapters 37-50. It’s a beautiful story,
the story of Joseph. And so that’s where we pick up. This is the account of
Jacob and his family. When Joseph was 17 years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s
wives Bilhah and Zilpah. You gotta love the Biblical names, right? Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things
his brothers were doing. Most of you, if you know
the story of Joseph, you’ll know that most of it is about what his brothers do to him. But I think we forget that
it actually starts with him. He’s a punk little brother, right? He begins with tattle taling, right? He’s reporting to his father the bad things his brothers had done. I’ve got four sons. So I’m very familiar with brotherhood, and the many sorts of
fights and different things that go on amongst our
brothers or our sons, the four brothers. The third one, named Asher, coincidentally it’s one of
the 12 tribes of Israel, came into my room the
other day and he’s giddy. Like he’s like (laughing)
like dancing like, you know just a weird kind of happy. I’m like, what is going on with you? And he begins to share with me that he got this legendary
card in this game, like this digital game,
Clash Royale, if you care. And so he got this legendary
card and I’m just like man, your excitement level,
it doesn’t quite match. Like I don’t understand
what’s so big about this card. And the truth actually came out. It wasn’t so much that he was
happy that he got the card. It was that his two older brothers didn’t have that card yet. Right? It’s just kinda how brotherhood works. A punk little brother Joseph is, right? And so Jacob loved Joseph,
this is the dad now, not only does that hurt his brothers, I’m sure they’re not fans
of the tattle taling, but then you’ve got this
other layer from the dad. Jacob loved Joseph more than
any of his other children because Joseph had been
born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a
special gift made for Joseph, a beautiful robe. The thespians in the room might know this as the amazing technicolor dreamcoat. Got three theater fans in the room. Probably wasn’t technicolor. It’s a beautiful robe. A gift from his dad to his favorite. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him
more than the rest of them. So we’ve got another layer of hurt for the other 11 brothers, right? A dad who clearly favors his son. And we know not only that
it’s that the sons that he had in his old age, but him and
his other brother, Benjamin, who he also favors, they were, those two, they were the sons of Rachel. There’s another layer there. But this is what it developed into. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. Like they were so offended that they couldn’t say a kind word to him. When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they
made plans to kill him. That escalated kinda quickly, right? Made plans to kill him
as they saw him coming. The first point in your notes as we look at this story about this family that’s displaced, this broken family table, hurt people hurt people. Maybe you’ve heard that phrase before. People who are wounded, who are hurt, it’s kinda the notion of like, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. When you’re wounded, when you’re
hurt you tend to lash out. In fact it’s what
perpetuates the cycle of sin. We are sinned against, we’re offended, and then we sinfully respond to that. And so goes the cycle. You know my oldest son,
he’s a super sweet kid. Well loved, we’re really
blessed to have him as a son. And when he was a toddler he was so sweet that he went through this phase where if he bumped into
something like the coffee table he would be like “Sorry.” Aw, right? Yeah, crazy sweet boy. Just loved everybody, super kind. Until one day, as a three-year-old, he got a splinter in his hand. And my son’s not a wuss, but he gets a little dramatic with pain. Like he just, you know
he was freaking out. And for whatever reason, whenever something crazy
happens at our house, when chaos is unleashed, I’m not there. My beautiful wife gets to deal
with the crazy by herself. We had a kitten go into seizures once. Where was I? I was on the lake. My kids are freaking out. Their kitten, I know, that’s kind of dark. But there was a moment,
I’m not kidding you, where a bat got into our house. A bat. Circling our house. And they’re freaking out. Where was I? Not there, you know? So my son gets this splinter and my wife calls me and I can’t hear her because all I’m hearing is screaming, like bloody murder in the
background, like (screams). Like just a demon child, right? And I’m like what is
wrong, like is Avery okay, is he dying, she’s like
“No, he has a splinter.” It’s like all right, I’m gonna come home, try and help you out. So I get home and he’s just not having it. She hasn’t even touched him
with tweezers yet or anything. And so we’re like buddy,
we gotta get this out. Da da da da. I found out later, like we
didn’t have to traumatize him in this way because it’ll come out and make its way to the surface, but we were wanting to
get the splinter out. And so we’re like starting
to kinda restrain him or whatever and he is scream, he is like everything
that he can muster up in his tiny little three year old body. And then this sweet little boy, just spewed the most venomous curse that he could come up with. He looked right into my soul. He pointed at me, he said,
“You are an ugly, ugly man.” (congregation laughs) I was like, oh, I’m not even
your dad anymore, right? You have to refer to me as some other man. And I’m ugly, right, apparently Leah wasn’t the only ugly one. Like I’m like whoa okay. We probably added insult to injury. We laughed so hard. We’ll be paying for that therapy
for years to come I’m sure. But the point is this, he was hurting. Right? He was hurt. And so he lashed out with hurt back at me, the one who was trying
to take care of him. And so my question to you today, is have you dealt, we
all have them by the way, have you dealt with
the hurts in your past? Have you dealt with your
own broken family system that displaced you from the table, the very space that was
supposed to teach you how to be in a real relationship, in true community. Maybe you haven’t yet done that because you don’t know where to begin. Maybe there’s a lot
there for you to unpack. And so maybe that’s
because of this next point in your notes, is this, is resentment multiplies the hurt. Resentment multiplies the hurt. And when you hear the word resentment you can plug in a couple
of other synonyms there. Bitterness, unforgiveness. It compounds the original issue. So as if the original
offense wasn’t enough, now this stuff starts to happen internally and it multiplies the hurt. I was talking to my third
son about the message and about this idea of past
hurts and how it isolates us. And he’s like, “Oh
yeah, like Spider Gwen.” Now if you’re old like
me or you haven’t seen “Into the Spiderverse” yet
it’s the story of this girl, she’s sharing how her best
friend, Peter Parker, got shot. And she wasn’t able to save him. And so she says, “Now I end up
spending the rest of my life, “now I’m just saving everyone else.” But then she says this
one really telling line, and my son, my 11 year old
son, is sharing this story, he gets it. She said “And now I
don’t do friends anymore, “just to avoid the distractions.” You see the resentment from the loss of her
best friend being shot had kept her from being in relationship. It’s this powerful picture
of somebody who’s wounded and is actually trying to
do what’s right, right? She’s trying to do the super hero thing. But she’s not about friends. She’s not about community. So we pick up our story, but before we do that,
there’s a few chapters that have been skipped. And so what ends up happening is the brothers have
this plan to kill Joseph. They leave him in a pit. And then they say, ’cause they were like ah Dad would be really ticked at us. We don’t want that blood on our hands. And so they throw him in a pit. So the wild animals’ll
eventually get to him. But then they see some traders going by and they say well hey,
let’s profit on this deal. They sell him to some traders. He gets shipped to Egypt. He’s falsely accused and
then starts to rise to power because God’s given him this
gift of interpreting dreams. And the Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, needs some dreams interpreted. But then there’s a famine
in the land of Israel. Right? And his brothers, they are sent by Jacob, to go get food for the family. And now, now’s that
time to exact vengeance. It’s telling, the initial
response is as we read it. Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling
grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with
their faces to the ground. Which by the way, is the
fulfillment of a dream that he’d had years prior. Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger
and spoke harshly to them. “Where are you from?” he demanded. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We have come to buy food.” So right, this is the first
time he’s seeing his brothers after they’ve left him for dead. And I think often our
initial response to something is the most telling one. Clearly there’s some resentment
still there with Joseph. And it’s multiplying the hurt. Now God begins to work on Joseph’s heart after this point in the story and things begin to shift. And we’ll get there soon. But I’m just reminded of
how we can hold onto things. My oldest son, that same sweet boy, again talking about this idea,
preparing for this message. And he said, talking about past hurts, he’s like “Oh yeah, you mean that time “you forced me to go on Tower of Terror?” (congregation laughs) So if you’re California Adventure, it used to be Tower of
Terror, now it’s Guardian, it’s one of these like drop
sort of rides, you know. And we were there and I’m like, he’s probably eight years old at the time. And I was like, yeah man
you gotta go on this. And he’s like nope. Right, he’s digging his heels in, he’s like I’m “No, I’m
not doing it, too freaky, “too scared, no way.” But I was like, no, no,
no, internally, right? I’m like I know how this story line goes. Like I pressure him and pressure him and then he goes on the ride and he loves it and he
wants to do it again. So that’s what I’m gonna do. Right? Come on bud. Like it wasn’t peer pressure,
Dad pressure, whatever. And finally he succombs, right? I mean he’s like “Okay, I’ll do it. “I’ll do it for you.” Right? So he’s retelling this story. He’s like “Yeah, Dad, that’s the day “that my fear of heights began.” (congregation laughs) Like, right? And he’s actually
mentioned it a few times. And I’m like wow, like you’re
still bringing this up. And he’s kinda joking, maybe
not joking a little bit too. And so I’m starting to realize, man I need to have a conversation. I need to figure this out. I need to make some things right. He’s like “Oh yeah, and a few days later “we were playing catch and
you threw a tennis ball “and I didn’t catch it and
it hit me in the face.” I was like oh my gosh. It was a rough week for Avery. And so like we ended up
having this conversation about that. But I could tell that there was still, even if it was low level and
we could laugh a little bit there was still something there. There was still a little
bit of bitterness there that’s this thing that
I did to my own son. Unintentionally. And so I wanna actually take
a little bit of a left turn, it’s gonna feel like
that, but stick with me. Because I wanna shift to
something a bit more serious. I wanna talk about what we’ve
been experiencing as a nation. Many of you know last
weekend there were two more mass shootings in our country. Leaving 31 people dead. And so with all of the online
and digital and social media sort of venom that gets spewed. You know you’re scared almost
to like what do you say? Right? The whole idea of thoughts and prayers, like that’s been criticized. We have to act but what
can we possibly do, right? It’s a huge problem. Systemic. It’s indicative of a
cultural rift in our country, like what do we? Okay, if we’re supposed to act, what could we possibly do? Right? I’m with Pastor Matt, the
idea of sending thoughts is a little strange. What about the prayers? And I had to, I came to a point this week where I was convicted of this. I had to ask myself the same
question that I would ask you, because I have this personal
commitment that as a pastor I’m not gonna say I’m
praying for you if I don’t. Like it’s just, we say that a lot, we throw it out and I’m wondering, has that become cliche, is
that just something we say? Or church are we on our knees? Are we actually praying? And I confess, it was about Wednesday, several days afterwards, where I finally realized, man I haven’t, I haven’t prayed. And so I did and I was reminded, like man where do you even begin. I remember Romans 8 that says this: When we don’t know how to pray, the spirit intercedes with us with groans that words can’t express. And so I do believe that the church is called by God to play a
prophetic role in our culture. And by prophetic I don’t
mean telling the future. I mean reading the signs of our times and delivering God’s
word, God’s truth to it. And so the first thing
I wanna say is this: Is you need to know the
spirit of God is grieving. And he’s praying with groans
that words cannot express. But I wanna offer one more thing. And it’s the next point in your notes. It’s the way forward, it’s
the way back to the table. The way back to the table
is through forgiveness. The way back to the table
is through forgiveness. My guess is, it’s like maybe
you’re a little jarred, you’re like what does forgiveness have to do with a mass shooting? Forgiveness, like isn’t
that a little weak? Like gimme something with a
little more teeth, Pastor. It was enough, forgiveness was sufficient for a community in
Pennsylvania 13 years ago when a lone gunman walked
into a one room school house in, of all places, an Amish community. Like a people of peace. He took 10 girls hostage, ages six to 13. Shot 10 of, excuse me, shot
eight of them and five died. What we would find out later as the investigation went on was that this man had held
deep resentment against God because nine years prior he had lost his own infant daughter. Talk about resentment
multiplying the hurt. But that’s not the end of the story. And what would ensue within
hours after that shooting blew the mind of our nation. What ended up happening within hours is that several from the Amish community, some of the elders, went to the home of the now widowed gunman’s
wife to extend forgiveness. To say look, we’re
grieving, we’re in shock, but I gotta imagine so are you and your three young children. Right? And it doesn’t even stop there. Their forgiveness was
more than just verbal. They put their money where their mouth is. They raised a fund for
the family of the gunman, the family of the gunman. Right? Like what? Like who does that? And some of us are even
like man, that feels wrong to move so quickly to forgiveness. But here’s what it did: it’s a powerful force relationally. It healed the community. This week, my wife, Shanalea and I, we were watching a movie based on it and the production value’s not great, the acting’s not great,
but about halfway through my wife is just like bawling. You know even at several moments, like I’m tearing up. At one point she slaps me. She’s like “Why did you
make me watch this?” Like she’s just a wreck. You know? Like you’re gonna have
to forgive me for that. That’s violent, you know? But it was powerful, this story. The way back to the table
is through forgiveness. And so in Genesis 50 the brothers have been
taken care of by Joseph but finally their dad, Jacob, dies. And they’re probably thinking, like man, Joseph and his kindness and his taking care of
us, it was all for Dad. But what ends up happening is Jacob dies. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger “and pay us back for all
the wrong we did to him.” He will take vengeance. The opposite of forgiveness, right? He’s gonna stick it to ’em, they said. But Joseph replied. Listen to this perspective. “Don’t be afraid of me. “Am I God, that I can punish you?” In other words he understands
something very deep about forgiveness. It’s not that it just sort of
goes away into the atmosphere. It’s actually transferring
it to the ledger of God. God will ultimately take an account. In the Amish community, they said man, your husband is gonna stand
before a holy and just God, have mercy on his soul. They knew that there’s one seat, one who can occupy that seat
of judgment who is righteous. And we’re gonna give our
offenses, our wounds, our past hurts to him. We’re gonna allow him to deal with it. Joseph knows whose place that is. It says this then in the next verse. This is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, I believe. Especially when it comes to a picture of extending grace and forgiveness, and redemption that
comes when that happens. “You intended to harm me, but
God intended it all for good. “He brought me to this position “so I could save the lives of many people. “No, don’t be afraid. “I will continue to take care
of you and your children.” He too puts his money where his mouth is. And then check out how
it comes full circle. I encourage you, go home and read this. It’s 14 chapters. Comes full circle. He says this: So he reassured them by
speaking kindly to them. It was his brothers that couldn’t
speak a kind word to him. And now because of this work that God does in Joseph’s heart, this perspective that he’s brought, allows him to forgive them and to speak kindly to them. Ephesians 4 says this: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. It’s a brief picture
of very concise picture of what it means to be at the table. The kind of community
that God is creating, that Jesus is inviting us to, is one that is tenderhearted, that is kind, that is ready to forgive. But how? Or maybe the better question is why, like why forgive? Like what’s the motivation here? It comes in that next clause. Just as God through
Christ has forgiven you. Remember what Pastor Fredo said last week, to be at the table is to know that you are a sinner
in need of repentance. Your ability to forgive comes from a clear understanding that you yourself are a
sinner, capable of doing evil, a capacity to hurt
someone, to offend someone, even if you don’t mean it. Perhaps you’ve understood that you’ve said or done something relationally that has caused somebody else
to take off from the table. And so what do you do but to
extend that same forgiveness that you’ve been shown? We only have a seat at the table because Jesus has first forgiven us. And now we have no choice if we get that to do the same for others. So I wanna talk, I just wanna unpack for our
last few minutes together, a little bit about what forgiveness is, what it isn’t, some
practical kinds of things to clarify from God’s word how
you might go out from here. Not just a hearer of the
word, but a doer of it, to be people, a church,
marked by forgiveness. I wanna give you a quick definition first. Most of the, a lot of
the Biblical passages about forgiveness use
the metaphor of finances. It’s actually a notion of debt,
of owing someone something. In fact in one version, one
translation of the Lord’s Prayer it says forgive us our debts
as we too forgive our debtors. So the quick definition
I would give you is, forgiveness is about declaring that though you have wronged
me, you don’t owe me anything. You don’t owe me anything. And so I’m releasing you from that debt. It’s a radically different system than the one in the Old Testament, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. You do something to me
you have to pay me back with an equal amount. And forgiveness here is about saying you don’t owe me anything. The political party that you’re mad at, they don’t owe you anything. The oppressive system, though
it’s oppressive and evil, it doesn’t owe you anything. You’re releasing that, you’re
saying that’s on God’s hands to deal with. And so there’s a few things. Forgiveness does not
make what happened okay. Forgiveness does not
make what happened okay. So as we’ve had a lot of
opportunities with four boys to practice making an
apology and things like that, we’ve taught them that when
they say they’re sorry, first of all they have to name the wrong I’m sorry for. And the more specific the
more effective the apology. Right? Not just a general, like oh I’m sorry, like my Dad’s making me do this. Right? Sometimes I really get them and
I make them hug for like 10, I literally count out 10 seconds. And so it’s actually
amazing what happens by, like they’re all like rigid and whatever, and I won’t start counting until they’re actually
embracing each other. And by about six, seven or eight, as I’m counting to 10
they’re like laughing. It’s pretty amazing. But what’s the most common
response to an apology if you think about it? Somebody comes to you and
they say, “Hey I’m sorry.” Most of us say, it’s okay. No. That cheapens the forgiveness. What happened isn’t okay. I didn’t list all of
the Bible verses there. My hope is that you’d go home
and unpack some of those. The one that you see under
this point is Isaiah 5:20. It says woe and not like whoa, but like Biblical woe, like
woe, like bad things upon you. Right? Who call something that’s evil good. But we’re not asking of you,
what God isn’t saying is to forgive is to call
something that was wrong, good or right or true. And especially, there’s
a spectrum of offenses. There’s sorta the petty every day stuff and I’ll speak to those in just a minute. But then on the other end of the spectrum there’s some pretty deep level wounds that some of us are carrying, some hurts. Those of us, for instance,
who’ve been abused. Emotionally, verbally, sexually,
maybe all of the above. And so what we’re not saying is that what happened to you is okay. Far from it. So what if the other person though, doesn’t acknowledge the wrong? You say you don’t owe me
anything, it’s forgiveness. But don’t they at least owe me an apology? How many of us are still
waiting on that apology? That’s probably never gonna happen. And so does forgiveness
make sense in that context? Where we don’t even know if the person who wronged us
knows that they wronged us. Forgiveness can also be one
way, that’s the next point. Forgiveness can be one way. Now when it’s wise, or when it’s safe, there’s another layer
that the Bible speaks to called reconciliation. It takes two to tango with that. There has to reciprocity for
relationship to be restored. Right? But with forgiveness it can be one way, because here’s the deal. As you’ve been hurt and you’re trying to make
your way back to the table, you may not be coming back to the table with the people who hurt you. You’re trying to get back to the table because you need community,
it’s how we’re designed to live. And so forgiveness can be one way. I know that because the
most profound picture of forgiveness we have
is Jesus on the cross. And one of his last words is this: “Father, forgive them, they
know not what they do.” The people who were crucifying Jesus and theologically by the way, that’s me and you and everyone else. They didn’t know what they were doing. He didn’t wait on an apology to ask his father in heaven to forgive. Forgiveness can be one way. Also forgiveness is costly when it’s a death to self. Like we have to choose to not hold onto what’s rightfully ours, it costs us something
to sort of absorb that or to release that. But it’s not optional Matthew 18 tells a story about this guy who owes an unpayable debt, like think millions and
millions of dollars. And he’s about to get
in some serious trouble ’cause he can’t pay. I think he’s about to
get throw into prison. And so he’s begging for
mercy from this king, from this master, this
lord who he owed money. And finally the king has mercy on him, the one who’s owed the money, and he says, yeah actually,
I’m gonna just forgive this. You don’t owe me anything. And he walks out and the same
guy who was just forgiven sees some other knucklehead on the street who owes him a fraction of
what he was just forgiven. He’s starting to like choke the fool out, trying to get his money back. He just came from being forgiven, right? That’s a picture of me and you. We’ve been forgiven and so we don’t, it’s not optional as a Christian. Should I forgive or not? It’s just what we do. And I know that that’s
a hard word to receive. But ultimately it frees you. It heals you, it allows you
to come back to the table where there are people who are safe, who maybe won’t wound you
as you’ve been wounded. Finally I’m not naive. I know that even though there’s a moment where we choose by our will to forgive, and I wanna emphasize that really quickly, don’t wait ’til you feel it. I’m finally feeling like forgiving. It probably isn’t gonna happen. Most things that God calls us to are acts of our will. And we pray that the feelings follow. Right? But it’s a process. One of Jesus’s disciples says
“How many times do I forgive?” And if you know this story, Jesus says, “70 times seven.” Some of the mathematicians are like 490. Some of you are like my
husband’s long past 491. I don’t have to forgive any more. No. It’s not the point, right? The idea is just to be a
Christian, to follow Jesus in this way is to forgive and
to forgive and to forgive. Indefinitely, as long as it takes. The last point in your notes is this. Forgiveness moves us from
victimhood to victory. From victimhood to
victory because some of us are real victims. We’ve been hurt. And yet the victory is when we can be
restored to relationship, when we are able to deal
with that and heal from that in such a way that we
can be back at the table. And I mean let’s be honest for a moment. Most of like the offenses in our lives, not to minimize the stuff on
this side of the spectrum, that’s very serious and it’s
very real, that’s very deep. But most of the offenses are
like the day to day stuff are really kinda petty, right? It’s almost in our culture, like we’re just waiting to be offended. The other day, yesterday actually, I was in a parking lot, busy parking lot. I was in a hurry. And the rest of the world apparently didn’t know I was in a hurry. And this guy, there was an open spot and I’m like it’s kinda
close to where I’m going. And so he jumps in ahead of me. And then if like that
wasn’t enough, right? He added the insult to injury and decided he wanted to
do like the back in thing, facing forward. And then he didn’t get his angle right, so it wasn’t just like a three point turn but where it’s like this
guy doesn’t care about it. And then I’m like oh
there’s the guy behind him that’s gonna take my other spot, right? And I’m all offended. You know? I’m like oh my gosh, you know, just this morning I went
to go to the refrigerator, to grab my wife her Half &
Half, her cream for her coffee. And she thought I was
like getting in the way and it’s like 6:30 a.m., right? And neither of us have got our coffee and we are not even loving
Jesus at this point. (congregation laughs) And she is like, I open
the refrigerator door and it like cuts her off and she’s like, gives me kinda just this like
stink eye look or whatever. And I’m like I felt it,
like I’m so offended. I’m here to serve you, like
I’m getting your cream, girl. (congregation laughs) Offended, right? What if what we brought to the table was an olive branch? The olive branch is a
symbol, Biblical symbol for relational peace, for the extension of
grace and forgiveness. What if this was just in our back pocket? Right? And I’m in community group and I share something and it’s
vulnerable and I perceive, like you didn’t handle my heart
well, it’s just ready to go. Because ultimately it’s not about me, it’s about the table. It’s about this space,
it’s about this community. And so what I love is these elements for the next several weeks
are gonna stay on the table. I love that we started last week with the two glasses of wine and bread that’s actually not wine, we’re Baptists. It’s grape juice. But it’s the symbolic presence of Christ. And it’s the centerpiece. It’s that which all
else around it revolves. It’s what makes the table possible for us. And so we’ve gotta get used
to bringing forgiveness, relational peace, we gotta make allowance for each others’ faults. I’ve already accounted
for it, you’re good. I forgive you. I’m just quick to move there. So that the table doesn’t get disrupted. Because here’s the beautiful
thing about the table. Is that this is practice for a forever table of Jesus. Do you know that the Bible
speaks of our future hope as a big party, as a banquet, as a feast. There’s a table and it’s really big and here’s why I know it’s
really big because in Matthew 8 it says that people from
all around the world, from the East and the West, people very different from me and you are gonna sit around this table
and share a meal together. United by Christ. Marked by forgiveness. Would you pray with me? God I wanna pray a prayer that your son Jesus taught us to pray. Forgive us God, of our sins. As we forgive those who
have sinned against us. God would we be a people united by Christ, invited and sitting at the table because we’ve been forgiven
and therefore we’re ready with the olive branch,
we’re ready to forgive. It’s our first move. And so God we do pray that
we would leave from here, not just having heard your word, but doing it as a church that people would look at Sandals Church and be like what grace, what
mercy, what forgiveness. I wanna sit at that table. And that we would invite
them to this understanding that they will one day,
if they choose you, to sit at a table that will last forever with people from all
nations, tribes, languages. Enjoying the feast that is ours in Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. – Here at Sandals Church
we really do believe that this vision of being
real can change the world. Because Sandals Church is a nonprofit that operates from donations
from people like you. Because when you donate your
money goes to creating places for people to be real all over this world. So man, I would love for
you to be a part of that and you can make a donation today by clicking the link on this video or going to donate.sc. So join us, and join what God is doing through this vision of being real and have a great day. (bright music)


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