Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
04:11:49

Comments

A reminder to ALL desperate posters':

Who is Christ{adjective} Jesus? the son of David... the son of Abraham...the son of God.

Jesus said, "The girl is not DEAD but ASLEEP", but they LAUGHED at Jesus.

Jesus said, "The harevest is plentiful but the workers are few."

Jesus said, "Are you still so DULL"?

Jesus said, "Be on your guard against the YEAST of the pharisees and sadducees". Jesus' disciples discussed among themselves "It is because we didn't bring any BREAD."

Jesus said, "Watch out for the YEAST of the pharisees and Herod."

John said, "Look the LAMB of God."

She answered, "Where can you get this LIVING water"?

LJC in CA


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
10:26:44

Comments

Pretty radical the thought that unless we forgive those who have trespassed against us, we cannot be forgiven. It seems radical especially in cases of abuse victims, etc. And what about forgiving people 70 x 7 times (which basically means forgiving them unlimited times)? Funny how we speak of broken trust if someone sins against us two or three times, but take for granted that God will forgive our own sins again and again.


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
10:36:02

Comments

I believe that the key to understanding this passage may lie in Jesus' message: if you have experienced God's great love in terms of total forgiveness and acceptance, you better believe that you will be able to forgive others for the sins they committed toward you. This seems to surface also in what Jesus said about the woman who washed his feet: those who have been forgiven much, have great love (Lk 7.47). --Chuck in DC


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
10:50:39

Comments

Reading this text, it occured to me (really for the first time) that Jesus seems to call his disciples again and again to change their perception of others in the triangular relationship between themselves, others and God. Ten thousand talents vs. 100 denari speaks of myself being in greater debt to God than my neighbor can ever be toward me. In another Matthew passage Jesus talks about seeing the speck in our neighbor's eye, but not seeing the log in our own (7:2). Wow!! Jesus expects us to change/widen our perception. Sounds a little post-modern to me.

--Frank in PA


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
11:27:18

Comments

A "post"modern log in my eye! That is very funny. Thank you, Frank! I think we are able to forgive people under awful circumstances the same way we are cleansed of our sins... right... it is too big a job for me, I have to hand it over to Jesus and the forgiving is done through the power of God in my heart. When an infinite savior enters my heart, even very big evils are squeezed out. DL in ME


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
13:08:22

Comments

This should be an interesting week.

Dick


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
13:16:19

Comments

I can see the growling faces already. How many times are we to forgive; Jesus said, seventy times seven. In other words always. As I look at this passage and think of what it teaches us my prayer is that when I preach it I won't see the switches being turned off in the pew. There are some people who love to hold a grudge. Maybe this throw-away society we live in has something to do with it?

I think it's interesting to note the passages that preceed this text. Becoming humble as a child, searching for the lost sheep, then how to handle someone who has sinned against us. Each of these I see in the parable of the unmerciful servant. Could it be Jesus was setting them up for this parable? I think so. The thread I see is we are to think and act from the heart not the mind. Grace is given to those who receive it and incorporate it into their being. The question is do we only have our switch on to receive and off to give? The switch must be in the on possition all the time. When we choose to use the dimmer the light of God within us, His mercy, love, His plan loses it's shine.

"Forgive them for they know not what they do."


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
17:53:56

Comments

FOR WHICH THINGS AM I UNABLE

Forgive forgive for the kingdom of heaven is like is like a king who went to settle his dis-likes

The kingdom of heaven a place for the forgiven for there cannot be any unsettled debts that require riddance

The kingdom of heaven has granted forgiveness for it has a king of mercy who cancels our debts and gives a cup of cold water when we are thirsty

There can be no greater debt than for what I am for- given therefore I am mercy bound seventy time seven

The kingdom of heaven has granted forgiveness for it has a king of mercy who cancels our debts and gives a cup of cold water when I am thirsty

In mercy I stand forgiven and I have a place in the kingdom of heaven if I only practice the same mercy more than one time of seven

Forgive forgive for that is what the heart is for for my father is king and I am the one who goes before

--Copyright c 1999 ---Matt 18:21-35 X 09/12/99


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
20:17:28

Comments

The kingdom of heaven is like ... a king who forgives a debtor and then sentences him to eternal torture when he does not forgive another?

Are we to understand that God is forgiving of all but unforgiveness?

And who are we in the story? To be honest, I'm one of the tattle-tales who runs to the king and then cheers when the ingrate is tortured ... how 'bout you? That, then, leaves me as ungrateful for God's mercy as the one I'm condemning, doesn't it?

And one more question, how does Jesus telling Peter to forgive countless times relate to the previous passage where the disciples are basically told to write off a sinner after three times? LaRev


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
21:22:54

Comments

LaRev: Jesus didn't say WRITE THEM OFF, Remember how HE treated tax collectors, etc...Matthew, Zacheus...and sinners like the woman caught in adultery...

As for victims of abuse...I can speak to that personally...it depends a great deal on whether the person who perpetrated the abuse is truly remorseful. My first husband was a wife-beater, on his way to being a child-beater, when I left ...never has been sorry, except that he didn't get to keep on doing it. After years of prayer, I am where I can forgive if he is ever sorry. That's the best I can do, the rest is in God's hands. Same for the second husband..the child molester. If he ever truly understands and is sorry, I will praise God for that miracle and, pray that God will forgive him and help me to forgive him too. I believe God's forgiveness is there, waiting for us, but we must repent of and turn away from our sin to fully accept that forgiveness. As a weak human, I am unable to say that forgiveness waits in my heart for this man to come and accept it, but I can pray that God's grace will allow me to forgive if/when it is appropriate. I truly feel that this is all I am called upon to do. It is not easy to get to this place, but lots of prayer and trusting in God has made a difference. Also, there is God-given knowledge that NOT forgiving, and holding the hurt and anger in my heart, makes me ill, interferes with my walk with God and my service to him, and does NOT hurt that man!

Sorry..didn't mean to go off on a tangent..

I am combining this passage with the Romans again, also using a bit from last week...continuing from the "Put on Christ" part... all this is part of the same picture, in my mind. We put on Christ by following His example in these, as in all things.

Rev Janet in NY


Date:
07 Sep 1999
Time:
23:50:12

Comments

When I was taking chaplaincy training, what seems like eons ago, I was blessed with a very savvy supervisor. She taught that the best pastoring comes from our weakness, our vulnerability, our sadness. Our 400 hours of training had to be fit around our course schedules, so our group of five was seldom in the hospital at the same time. Sadly, I seemed to get all the cases where a newborn had died, or was about to die. I had lost my first child at birth years before. Here, then, was my vulnerability, my weakness,my sadness -- all tied up together. It was no picnic....

Rev Janet, when I read your post I thought of my supervisor, and how you would be just the right pastor for those who seek you out -- those who are suffering or have suffered from such horrors. Which is not to excuse the horrors!

Relating to the scripture, but necessarily Rev Janet's tremendous burden, I want to offer a paraphrase of a gift that was given to me years ago -- reworked here, but perhaps of some avail: when we cannot forgive, it is then that we should go and pray for the desire to forgive.

When I provide pre-marital counseling (required by my church), one question I always ask is: what are you prepared to forgive? It is a startling question, because in truth, we are not prepared to forgive any but the smallest hurts. And I am not saying one should be prepared to forgive abuse, molestation or anything of that sort. But I ask us: what are we prepared to forgive?

HW in HI


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
00:05:22

Comments

Rev Janet in NY: First, thank you for rightly stating how we are to treat those who drift of the path. Jesus spent time with the gentiles and tax collectors, as you pointed out. I can feel your pain, and do not sense a great deal of anger in your words. But Jesus does say to love our enemies and forgive others. I like to look at it the way Jesus did on the cross. He took pity on the people who crucified Him. He said, "Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing." That seems to be the healthier way to view those who abused us in the past, feel sorry for them rather than being angry and hating them. Now I do believe in tough love for adults who abuse us. We need to leave them until they repent and prove they have changed their ways. But I do not see it healthy to maintain anger and hated towards anyone. My former wife abused me terribly verbally, and had an adulterous relationship for over a year. After I left her, as long as hatred ruled my heart, I was miserable. When I was able to convert that anger towards her to pity for her, I was miserable. I teach my parishioners the easiest way to forgive is to feel sorry for someone and pray for them. A doctor friend pointed out the chemical composition of we humans causes us to be sad and or even depressed when we are angry. God made us that way so we cannot stay angry and truly be happy. "Be angry, but do not sin." revup


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
00:08:08

Comments

Ooops. . .When I was able to convert that anger towards her to pity for her, I WAS FINALLY HAPPY! revup


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
00:39:44

Comments

The idea of our need to be forgiving in order to know forgiveness also seems to connect with the reminder in this weeks lection in Romans 14:1-12, particularly the last verse which reminds us that we will all be accountable to God. David--Stokesdale, NC.


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
00:41:16

Comments

Janet NY Forgiving self is as important as forgiving others. For you to do this your anger must leave you. Unforgiveness towards one person has a way of taking over all of our relationships, including with ourselves. It brings in bitterness and resentfulness. Unforgiveness holds us in bondage, not the one we refuse to forgive. If the slave had said I'm not worthy of forgiveness and asked to be thrown into prison, what would have taken place? Easy for me to say. I guess I haven't been in your shoes. I pray that you may be healed.


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
00:58:25

Comments

Hi. I'm preaching on Exodus but also reading this passage. That's what we do, we always read two passages. Uh . . anyone see a connection? kbc in sc


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
01:05:12

Comments

This is not so much an imperative as an indicative. God's not saying "If you don't forgive, I'm gonna get mad at you and not forgive you!" God's saying "This is how it works with forgiveness - if your heart is full of unforgiveness, there's no room in it for the forgiveness I want to give you." Well, how do I know that's what God's saying? But one of my lectionary group friends made that observation and I liked it. kbc in sc


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
01:55:29

Comments

Rev. Janet, You will be in my prayers as I prepare my sermon on forgiveness for 9/12. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I completely understand the difficulty of forgiveness as it collides with Jesus' clear message on the issue. This has been a difficult sermon for me on several levels. Three weeks ago I told my father, the abuser, I loved him. It has taken a long time, lots of prayer and lots of help from the Spirit to get there.

Well, I just got it out of my mouth and he betrayed me again a week ago. It is fairly minor and not much lasting damage but, it was another betrayal. He shared family business in an inappropriate manner. Now, once again, I am faced with 70 X 7 forgiveness Jesus says we should follow.

Without allowing sermon preparation to move too far into the psychosocial area, do we have to wait until the person who wronged us is ready to accept our forgiveness? I believe most child molesters have a problem or sickness that is out of control. Most are incapable of accepting the enormity of their acts (crimes) and would find accepting forgiveness difficult to understand. Counseling, medication and jail have little impact on these people. God's grace and peace is probably the most hope they have for a normal, non-destructive life. Ted in Columbia, SC


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
02:04:43

Comments

Perhaps this point is too subtle, but isn't the master really wanting the servant not just to forgive but also to model the behavior of the master? We all need to be reminded that the purpose of the gospel is to transform us, to make us different people from the ones who entered the chruch. I think this ties into the Genesis story of Joseph and how he wept when his brothers seemed to be afraid that he really didn't forgive them. God mercifully forgives us but we really can't believe it; therefore, we don't forgive others. Springboro Joe


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
02:21:29

Comments

I'm intrigued by the idea of our "throw away society" and it leading to grudge carrying -- thanks whoever wrote that! I'm playing around with the idea of "disposable people" -- which of course there are none, but maybe we're claiming if we refuse to forgive them. Don't know, just thoughts.


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
02:25:41

Comments

Greetings to all of my fellow desperate preachers. I've been visiting for a while have not made a post. Thanks for all of your thoughtfulness (and gritichness too). I have been helped personally and as a preacher by C.S. Lewis' comments on 7 X 70 in his book on the Psalms (if I remember) that it may not be 7X70 different offenses but perhaps 7X70 for the same thing. He notes well how we may *think* we have forgiven some particular offense but that sooner or later in a vulnerable moment our minds begin to wander down that path once again and we find ourselves chewing on it (ourselves) all over again..in need of the grace to remember that we have already forgiven that offense and forgive again...Another resource on this topic that has been helpful to me is Lewis Smedes' book "Forgive and Forget" (he didn't pick the title and says its not what happens) - the subtitle is his, though, "Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve"... He says there are stages in the process of forgiveness - hate, hurt, heal are the ones I recall..He also distinguishes between forgiveness and reconciliation...we can forgive but reconciliation may not be possible if the person isn;t safe or if they are dead or otherwise absent... Finally, I've been thinking about this passage in light of an article that appeared in our local paper today about a man who shot and killed his former girlfriend and the new boyfriend she was talking to in a restaurant booth...She had broken it off and he couldn't take the rejection...the killer had felt himself injured and, unable to forgive, took two lives... this is such an important word because everything else around us says react and take vengeance...(re: last week's lections)...well, this is long but that's what happens when I sit on the sideline so long...Thanks again for all of your comments...Jennie in Flowertown.


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
02:43:34

Comments

This is my first post. I have been reading this site for a month and decided to "join in" the chat.

I am looking for one or two stories of factual cases where a person is forgiven by another, and that moment of forgiveness is the catalyst that changes their life.

I am wanted to tell the story from that perspective. So far I have not found an example that is worthy of the Scripture. You can post it here or if you prefer write to my dps e-mail at cgs@desperatepreacher.com

I will be most indebted to all who send material, even if I don't end up using it.

Grace & peace,

cgs in IL


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
02:47:28

Comments

Thanks for the clarification: forgiveness is not reconciliation. Reconciliation requires 2 or more parties reconciling. My problem with this passage (although I know it's good news and redemptive good news) is it's misperception: equating forgiveness with enduring abuse. I think a large part of forgining someone is confronting that person with the wrong, be it real or perceived.

I struggle with the good news because I don't want it to be bad news.

Mark in Virginia


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
02:48:52

Comments

And I further note that when someone cannot confront the one offending that person should get as far away from the situation as possible until able to do so (confront and sometimes it may be an impossibility).

Mark in Va.


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
04:51:01

Comments

cgs

I will keep my eyes open for a good story. In the meantime, here is a quickie from Anthony de Mello:

A former inmate of a Nazi concentration camp was visiting a friend who had shared the ordeal with him.

"Have you forgiven the Nazis?" he asked his friend.

"Yes."

"Well, I haven't. I'm still consumed with hatred for them."

"In that case," said his friend gently, "they still have you in prison."

DR


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
12:14:13

Comments

Rev Janet in NY,

There is no way that I can understand the anger or the hurt you must be experiencing. Merely thinking of how I might react if this had happened in my family brings a torrent of emotion.

I did however find a story about Corrie Ten Boom that I hope might help ease some of what you might be going through. I found it to be profoundly moving. Here it is:

Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn't sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest. "His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks." "Up in the church tower," he said, nodding out the window, "is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there's a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we've been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn't be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They're just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down." "And so it proved to be. There were a few more midnight reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my conversations, but the force -- which was my willingness in the matter -- had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at the last stopped altogether: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts."

Rick in Va


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
13:04:35

Comments

Oy...verses 34 and 35 always give me the willies!

And yet... And yet... What sort of torture is in store for me if I have been forgiven and do not pass it on? Is there a shame that comes from such behavior that makes life hell until reconciliation with my self and with my brother or sister is found? Is there disapointment that I have failed to be gracious, even as my Parent is gracious? Am I locked in a prison of resentment until forgiveness sets me free? Hmmmmmmm

The "hymnal" used by my denomination has an inclusive language version of Amazing Grace. Instead of the line "was blind, but now I see" ours reads "was bound but now I'm free!" It is amazing grace, shared with all our brothers and sisters, that sets us free from many things; that helps us find our way in a world where we so easily become lost; that takes a soul like me and recreates me in the image of a forgiving, gracious, demanding God. Alleluia!

Hawk in Ohio


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
14:19:26

Comments

R E S E N T   S O M E B O D Y

The moment you start to resent a person you become their slave. They control your dreams, absorb your digestion, rob you of peace of mind and good will, and take away the pleasure of your work. They ruin your spirituality and nullify your prayers.

You cannot take a vacation without them going along! They destroy your freedom of mind and hound you wherever you go. There is no way to escape the person you resent. They are with you when you are awake. They invade your privacy when you sleep. They are close beside you when you eat, when you drive your car, and when you are on the job.

You can never have efficiency or happiness. They influence even the tone of your voice. They require you to take medicine for indigestion, headaches and loss of energy. They even steal your last moment of consciousness before you go to sleep.

So if you want to be a slave, harbor your resentments.

(with due credit to Rev. Pat Umberger of Plover Wisconsin)

Joe from Maine


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
14:43:21

Comments

There is a connection between the Exodus passage which is about deliverance and the gospel about forgiveness. Being able to forgive is a sort of "deliverance". It also doesn't happen easily but is a process as others have pointed out. Perhaps like crossing the Red Sea there is this enemy behind us (the one who has wronged us) and going forward isn't all that easy - it takes getting your feet muddy, it takes a lot of faith, persistence and yet the knowledge that there is no other place to go but forward. God saves us or delivers us from something (an old hurt) but the saving is also a saving towards a new way of life unencumbered by the old bondage (enemy).Hope this helps for those who are connecting the two passages. Any further ideas? Nina in the North


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
14:55:04

Comments

Thanks KBC in S.C. I too like your friend's observation. For it is from the heart that flow our thoughts and actions (c.f. Matthew 15:17-20???). So it must be from the heart that is full of God's forgiveness that forgiveness can truly flow. This would seem to be one more instance where it is only in denying ourselves - our 'right' to hold grudges and getting even - that we become most like God. R.G. in Ontario


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
16:37:43

Comments

Hope this has not already been mentioned, but I only had time to scan the postings. Though ther will probably not be enough time to read the whole book, I commend "Sunflower: On the Possibilities & Limits of Forgiveness" which can be found at <http://search.borders.com/fcgi-bin/db2www/search/search.d2w/Details?&mediaType=Book&prodID=3354109> It opens up the whole question of forgiveness from a number of perspectives, which while not all Christian, probably reflect many of the thoughts of our congregants. - therevvv


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
20:18:15

Comments

After reading all your comments last week I ended up preaching the passage on "Church Discipline" as instructions on how to proceed with forgiveness. That, far from being a club to beat those who don't act correctly into submission, or out of the chuch, it is a method by which we assure ourselves the opportunity to participate in loving forgiveness and restoration of the individual within the community. Now, this week's passage seems to be an example of how screwed up things get when you don't proceed properly.

First of all, the Lord did it right: He called in the one who he had trouble with and settled the matter in private (and very graciously, I might add).

But the slave goes about it all wrong: He grabs this other slave in public (vs. 13, fellow slaves saw what happened...), in a less than loving attitude, and when he is unable to reach a settlement, does he leave and get two or three others to act as witness/arbitrators in this matter?

If he had, might they have been able to help the offending slave settle this relatively small debt? Might they have been able to convince the slave who was owed the debt to be patient for a while longer? Might they have reached any number of other solutions?????

But because they weren't invited into the process, because they haven't seen that opportunity to love and forgive modeled for them, they don't confront privately either. They don't find a solution with the slave who has now beat another of their own. Instead, they run off behind his back and tell the story to the one person they know can put the hurt on him - to see if they can cause him some serious distress - and it works! Now is everybody happy? Is everything better? No! The community begins to fall apart when we fail to take seriously our responsibility to act according to scripture/concepts that Jesus has provided us with. And when the community begins to fall apart... it can mean eternal torture for the individual - each of us.

Tom, OK


Date:
08 Sep 1999
Time:
22:27:39

Comments

Gee, you people have provoked a storm in me. Now I am truly struggling with this scripture. I had not thought about the need to forgive our spousel. Now I'm wondering about my own.

My wife does not abuse me verbally or physically. But she is indifferent to my needs. When I share with her my wishes and needs, she tells me I watch too much TV or that no one's marriage works that way.

How do I forgive her when I know the situation will not change. Can one forgive a spouse even while one is depressed about that marriage?

I'm going to feel like a hypocrite if I preach on this without resolving this issue in my life.

AL


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
00:21:47

Comments

What do we make an unforgiving spirit? Is there any hope in such a person - closed in on self, not letting others get in, a living death! What is the role of the faith community with people like this?

tom in ga


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
02:13:48

Comments

TO ALL DESPERATE POSTERS' ON THIS SITE!!!

YOU have all heard of AMAZING GRACE? yes/no???

This parable is all about AMAZING MERCY...

Come forth you songwriters' and give us the words and music for AMAZING MERCY...and capture us like AMAZING GRACE has done...please please

LJC in CA


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
03:45:20

Comments

Although we may sometimes struggle with forgiveness we are to always act with mercy, for that is God's way of dealing with us.

Wolfgang Schrage in the "The Ethics of the NT" [I don't know how to underline on this program] notes: "The conduct of the governor – who is guilty of no injustice but is only demanding his rights! – is reprehensible only because he acts without mercy after receiving mercy. The experience of God’s mercy is therefore the prerequisite, the basis, and the reason for merciful conduct toward others. God’s mercy lays the foundation for God’s demands – as well as for God’s judgments, should this mercy fail to produce results in spite of its incomprehensible freedom from limitations. What God does demands above all corresponding actions on our part. God does not show kindness in order to maintain his superiority, but in order that our kindness may reflect his. Our conduct must aim at love and kindness (38-39).

Mark in Virginia


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
07:40:19

Comments

Friends...

First, my prayers go out to those who have discussed their past/present abusive relationships, as well as those who have quietly read from the sidelines. God weeps when her children are abused.

In abuse, the abuser takes power, and abuses to maintain power, as in the case of the first debtor to the second. The point may be that while we still feel helpless, like the second debtor, forgiveness is difficult/impossible.

Any good social worker will tell you, the first order of business in abuse cases is to assure safety. When the victim no longer feels at the mercy of the attacker, then you can work on accountability, moving everybody to health, and maybe, just maybe, forgiveness. But only when the "power equation" is balanced.

Perhaps this is why the initial meaning of "forgiveness" in this case meant "casting away" or "letting go". If I let go of the power that the wrong-doer has over my life, then I might eventually come to health again, and as several of you have indicated, end the hell that comes from allowing that person to continue hurting me long after the initial events are over.

We are angry at what we fear, we fear what will hurt us, so we will continue to struggle with giving up the anger until we no longer feel we can be hurt. Christ gives us the power to overturn the inequity of abuse by claiming something that no one can take away, God's love for each one of us. Pilate couldn't take it from Jesus, Roman lions couldn't tear it from the martyrs, and now, with God's help, we can claim that strength as well.

Forgiveness then becomes an active, almost radical act, of claiming the strength to let go of the power anger has over our lives, and to claim the love that makes us accountable to God and each other. It is not a "get out of jail free" card for the one who abuses, but it does start us on the road to recovery.

Whew. Sorry that was so long. Don't know how it might preach, but it just felt like it needed to be said.

Blessings, Rick in Sikeston, MO


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
07:41:29

Comments

Friends...

First, my prayers go out to those who have discussed their past/present abusive relationships, as well as those who have quietly read from the sidelines. God weeps when her children are abused.

In abuse, the abuser takes power, and abuses to maintain power, as in the case of the first debtor to the second. The point may be that while we still feel helpless, like the second debtor, forgiveness is difficult/impossible.

Any good social worker will tell you, the first order of business in abuse cases is to assure safety. When the victim no longer feels at the mercy of the attacker, then you can work on accountability, moving everybody to health, and maybe, just maybe, forgiveness. But only when the "power equation" is balanced.

Perhaps this is why the initial meaning of "forgiveness" in this case meant "casting away" or "letting go". If I let go of the power that the wrong-doer has over my life, then I might eventually come to health again, and as several of you have indicated, end the hell that comes from allowing that person to continue hurting me long after the initial events are over.

We are angry at what we fear, we fear what will hurt us, so we will continue to struggle with giving up the anger until we no longer feel we can be hurt. Christ gives us the power to overturn the inequity of abuse by claiming something that no one can take away, God's love for each one of us. Pilate couldn't take it from Jesus, Roman lions couldn't tear it from the martyrs, and now, with God's help, we can claim that strength as well.

Forgiveness then becomes an active, almost radical act, of claiming the strength to let go of the power anger has over our lives, and to claim the love that makes us accountable to God and each other. It is not a "get out of jail free" card for the one who abuses, but it does start us on the road to recovery.

Whew. Sorry that was so long. Don't know how it might preach, but it just felt like it needed to be said.

Blessings, Rick in Sikeston, MO


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
12:46:15

Comments

Revup,

Fantastic story on forgiveness you found and posted on the sermon site.

Thanks,

Rick in Va


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
13:23:15

Comments

Janet in NY - Thanks for sharing your very personal and well thoughtout approach to forgiveness. May the Lord Bless you.

cgs in IL - There is a story told by Corrie Ten Boom, (I tried to find the source, but part of my library is still in boxes)about speaking in a German church shortly after the war. She was speaking about forgiveness and reconcilation, topics she thought important to the German people at that time.


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
13:23:18

Comments

Janet in NY - Thanks for sharing your very personal and well thoughtout approach to forgiveness. May the Lord Bless you.

cgs in IL - There is a story told by Corrie Ten Boom, (I tried to find the source, but part of my library is still in boxes)about speaking in a German church shortly after the war. She was speaking about forgiveness and reconcilation, topics she thought important to the German people at that time.


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
13:30:24

Comments

from "DOC on the plains" -sorry my first time to post I hit something and it submitted before I was finished. Corrie Ten Boom had finished her address and people were coming forward to speak personally, when she saw in the line a man who she knew had been on of the prison guards. She doubted that he recognized her but she was sure about him. he reached out his hand to shake hers explaining that he had been a concentration camp guard, "could he be forgiven?" was his question. Corrie writes about standing there for an eternity (she felt)holding his had as thoughts of her prison experiences rushed through her mind. Finally, she looked him in the eye and said, "God forgives you, and so do I." cgs in IL - Hope this helps you.

DOC on the plains


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
13:44:22

Comments

To Rick in Sikeston, MO: Intersting, isn't it how the "Power Equation" you spoke about means God adds great power to the side of the abused? I once took an abused woman to a shelter when her live-in boyfriend threatened to kill me AND MY WHOLE FAMILY. One of the hardest things I ever did was to forgive that man when he gave up and submitted to psychological counseling. Eventually, it wound up in transformation, leading to premarital counseling, a marriage and later a baby. revup (and yes, forgiveness is tough)


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
18:18:08

Comments

Rick in MO -- thank you so much -- you have helped me put together the theology with the real life.

For AL - I just want to share with you a few thoughts. One is your need and difficulty with forgiving your spouse probably means you can preach it just fine -- the wounded healer and all. You know 'where its at." Another is an observation made by my spouse: marriages are made of the hard times. You can have good times with absolutely anybody, but it is the person you stick with and stand by and with whom you see things through -- that is the person with whom you have a marriage. Sounds like you're in the hard times just now. You probably already know this, but as pastors we are a bit isolated, a bit limited from allowing ourselves regular vulnerability. Somebody to talk with -- counselor, spiritual advisor -- somebody, -- might help. You will be in my prayers.

Aloha,

HW in HI


Date:
09 Sep 1999
Time:
18:36:17

Comments

Rick in MO: You wrote" Christ gives us the power to overturn the inequity of abuse by claiming something that no one can take away, God's love for each one of us. Pilate couldn't take it from Jesus, Roman lions couldn't tear it from the martyrs, and now, with God's help, we can claim that strength as well. " Wow, I like that- can I quote you on Sunday from the pulpit?

Peace and Grace, Debbie in ME