Sunday, June 8, 2008

As Far As The East is From The West

It was so great to be the the Lord's house today!  The music was awesome and the message was one that I definitely needed to hear. I was still feeling pretty miserable this morning with this sinus infection, but it is amazing how my spirits were lifted just by being in God's house with God's people!

Our message today was taken from Mark 2:1-12 and it was about forgiveness.  I have heard the story many times about the paralytic whose 4 friends brought him to Jesus, but I heard it afresh and anew today! WOW!  Can you imagine having friends like that! We would be blessed if we had ONE friend like this, but this man had FOUR such friends!  So many of us would have just turned around and gone home when we saw that there was no longer any room left in the home.  We would have just thought that we should have gotten there earlier.  But not these friends!  They climbed up on the roof and began to dismantle the roof to get their friend in to see Jesus. I don't think before today that I realized what all was involved in getting through this roof!  As the pastor pointed out today, the roofs of that day were made out of, first slats, then twigs and thatch and finally a layer of a foot or more of dirt!  It wasn't just a matter of opening up an attic door -- these guys had to really work to get their friend in to see Jesus. Not only that, they had to come prepared for this task!  The Bible says that they dug an opening to get the bed down through the roof!  It had to be a pretty wide opening to get the man's pallet down through!  We should all desire to BE that kind of friend!  And not only that, we should try to surround ourselves with those kinds of friends!

I was also reminded today of how God forgives our sins -- completely, never to be remembered again! He has removed our sin as far as the east is from the west. He has cast our sins into the depths of the sea and He remembers our sin no more.  And He has called us to forgive with that same kind of forgiveness!  That's where it really gets difficult, isn't it?

About a year ago, I had someone that I thought was my friend "unload" on me with some very hurtful things that have been very difficult to forget.  They were things that were irrelevant to what was going on at the time and that person brought up all kinds of things from the past (some completely out of context) just to be hurtful.  I believe that I reacted at the time the way Christ would have had me to -- by not attacking that person back, but just listening and trying to understand what would make someone say such hurtful things. I thought that I had forgiven that person, but after hearing the message this morning I realized that I have not forgiven that person with the same forgiveness that God has forgiven me.   Lord, I know that we forgive imperfectly, but I am asking that you help me to forgive this person with the same type of forgiveness that you forgive me.  I cannot do this in my own power.  I can only do this with your help and through Your power.

I wonder --Do any of you have someone that you need to forgive with the same forgiveness that Christ has forgiven us?  It is so difficult, but yet I am challenging you to call upon His power to help you, because He is the only One that has the power to forgive completely!  Lord, help us to be more like You!


Kristen said...

Thanks for sharing this! What a great message to start the week.
I am continuously amazed at how God forgives us!
I agree that it can be difficult to forgive completely, but I've learned that I'm only harming myself by not doing so.
I hope you start feeling better...allergies are crazier than every this year!

petrii said...

What a great reminder of God's love for us that He sent Christ for us and forgiveness is complete. Forgiving others can be difficult especially when we set in our hearts to forgive them in the same way we are forgiven - and thus remember their hurt against us no more ~~ that's a toughy. Thank you for this reminder and these thoughts. Sounds like you had a fabulous day in church!!
Have a GREAT week,

Melissa said...

I have been there too... with the forgiveness of a friend and yesterday's message really hit home and challenged me! I love it though! I want God to help me get rid of anything that does not bring honor to Him. I also want to be the kind of friend that would go to ANY length to bring my friends to the feet of Jesus. I don't know how successful I am, but it is a desire that I have. Thanks for the challenge!
Have a good day!

Faith said...

That sermon was so good, and I was especially convicted about forgiving the same way that we have been forgiven...not just to say that we've forgiven and then not want to have anything else to do with that person...thank goodness God does not do the same with us!

Heather said...

What a great post- thank you! I LOVE that story about the paralytic- we taught it to our 2-yr-old class this spring and it was so fun to see it come alive!
Praising God for His forgiveness tonight!!!