(Today I begin a 2 week break so we can head up north to see friends & relatives. I also have a renewal of vows to conduct for some friends & a wedding to perform. So, it’s really kind of a working vacation.)
Yesterday, I challenged our church to make this A Summer of Second Chances by going out to seek forgiveness from someone they’ve wounded, &/or to share grace by releasing someone who’s wounded them.
If you haven’t been able to worship at Restoration this summer, you can listen to the teaching from this series, called: A Summer of Second Chances in the Sermons section of this website.
If you need to ask someone for their forgiveness:
- Consider James 3:17. Go to them with pure motives—that God would be glorified (made known) by your obedience.
- Approach the person you wronged with humility; not frustration. As people of God who know His grace in Christ, we are commanded to extend forgiveness to others, but we ought to go with a humble spirit.
- Look at this as a opportunity to bear new spiritual fruit in your heart. Even if you are met confrontation with everything you’ve ever done, keep asking yourself, What do I need to hear in this tirade that’s true about myself? How can I grow from this perspective I’m getting?
- Remember: You hurt them. They may not respond well, so you will need the armor of God over you to keep you enduring in patience. And whatever is said, don’t expand the issue by defending yourself.
- Give them plenty of space to speak, own what is true & look to get the conversation to a point where you say something like, “I hear you that I’ve been _______. And I’m sorry for how I’ve hurt you. (not “if”) Will you please in Jesus’ name forgive me?”
If you need to Share Grace with someone who’s hurt you:
- You are going forward to release them of the debt they might owe you from the wrongdoing. But more often, we are probably carrying the weighter sin of bitterness in our hearts. Have you noticed how a short comment or action can lead to months or years of anger & bitterness? Even when we feel like we’re “over it.” Unresolved bitterness settles in & “love grows cold.” Sharing grace can initiate a new season.
- Remember that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Roms 5:8) This is how shows His love to us. We are mirroring that story in the most profound way when we release someone in grace who hasn’t yet repented.
- Sorry—leave your list at home. You aren’t going to make a declaration of all the wrongs they’ve done & then extend forgiveness. Jesus didn’t come to condemn (John 3:17), so neither should we. We’re going to show the immensity of grace, not the depth of their sin. Plus, listing all their trespasses always diverts the conversation by opening old wounds.
- Go forward as a peacemaker. Peace is knowing the deeper than surface joy of being unified in God’s bigger story. Going as a peacemaker calls forward God’s blessing (Matthew 5:9); his favor on your mission.
So, who’s ready to make this A Summer of Second Chances & write new stories of forgiveness & grace? Download this half sheet & share with us your story in the coming weeks.
“Go in peace, to love & serve the Lord…”