Thursday, May 21, 2009
a boxing pastor? (updated)
Updated: I’ve just been informed by the radio station that this turned out to be the most popular Quick Word in months, with emails requesting the MP3!
“If you give up being a pastor, you get always take up a career as a boxer. You don’t pull any punches.” A comment upon hearing my latest “A Quick Word” on radio.
Which wasn’t my intention, I simply pulled a piece from a recent (3 part) sermon series I did on forgiveness, then massaged it a bit to make it stand alone. I hoped it would be Bible centred and thought provoking.
So here is it – entering the ring – Steve the boxer! (Does it “box”? If it does, does it matter? Should communication “box”?
I’m Steve Taylor and I want to offer a quick word about forgiveness.
Those times when we hurt people.
Those times when we are hurt by people.
When words cut deep and actions rub us raw.
And a quote I read a few weeks ago: “[Christian] forgiveness [works] not be forgetting or ignoring it, but by embracing the sinner in a way that heals the broken relationships through infinite loyalty.” from a book called Faces of forgiveness.
We’ve all heard that awful cliche “forgive and forget.” And yet it’s the total opposite when Jesus, meets Peter, after the resurrection.
Before Jesus crucixifion, Peter has hurt Jesus. The words have cut deep and the actions rubbed raw, as Peter publicly denies Jesus 3 times.
Your best friend, ignoring you when the going get’s tough.
So after the resurrection, Jesus goes looking for Peter. Now that’s not forgive and forget. Me, I tend to want to forget the people who’ve hurt me. Jesus goes looking.
In John 21, Jesus finds Peter. Three times Jesus asks Peter a question: Peter, do you love me?
The third time is the real stinger: John 21:17 Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”
I grew up with this image of gentle Jesus, meek and mild.
Yet here, Jesus hurts Peter. That’s forgiveness. Neither forget, nor ignore, but having the guts to go back to the event, to face the facts, feel the feelings.
Jesus, refusing to pretend that this never happened in their relationship. Hence that quote: “[Christian] forgiveness [works] not be forgetting or ignoring it, but by embracing the sinner in a way that heals the broken relationships through infinite loyalty.”
By taking Peter back, Jesus is taking Peter forward.
That shame and pain are never the end of story. Not with Jesus. Rather shame and pain are just a beginning.
That by not forgetting, Peter can find a new purpose, ministry as a wounded healer.
We all carry hurt. We all need to grow up. To find the guts, to never forget, nor ignore, but embrace the sinner in a way that heals the broken relationships through infinite loyalty. I’m Steve Taylor and that’s a quick word.
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