I read this sermon recently – actually I read two this morning on the subject of forgiveness. Both very interesting and very well done. I was not challenged by them, but I was supported in my feelings about the subject of forgiveness. I usually prefer both in a sermon – challenge and support – but I will take either when I get them! (With our current pastor here, I get both in spades!).
I was unable – rather, I made the choice to not attend church this morning because of my current bout of insomnia. I have a very hard time even sitting up for an hour, much less pay attention to what is being said. So I chose this morning (as I have quite a bit recently) to stay home, do some meditating, praying, and reading – for as much and as long as my mind would let me.
My comment on yesterday’s post included a link to a sermon on forgiveness by a Unitarian preacher. He made some excellent, though non-challenging points about forgiveness. It is very much worth reading, and won’t take you a lot of time to read, but will give you much fodder for thought on the whole business of forgiveness.
Next I read another sermon on forgiveness, this one by Dr. Mark Trotter (I believe he is a United Methodist, but I am not at all certain). Another excellent sermon, and also easy to read and absorb (believe me – in my current physical state, if I can absorb it then anyone can! 😆 ) Here is the link to that one:
Probably the most essential point made in both of these sermons is that forgiveness does not equate, demand, or require forgetting. We have gotten so used to hearing “Forgive and forget,” that we assume one comes with the other. i do not believe that is so. Think about it. If we are to grow in our relationships with one another, and if we forgot everything that created anger and enmity, and suffering, then would we not in a sense be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over? But remembering does not mean holding grudges. It means learning, and growth. The signs of refusal to forgive are shown through compounding sin – the very thing that God does not do. Once sin is forgiven it is forgiven. I do believe that God “remembers” our sins in so far as God uses our mistakes to teach us, so that we can grow closer to us, but God forgets them completely in so far as how we are taught the things we must learn.
Each time we sin we suffer a separation from God, but it is also an opportunity to turn back once again to God and discover a “still more excellent way.”The way of freely given, unconditional Love. Every time we pray the Lord’s prayer, we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses.” And many of us at one time or another fail to connect that with the next phrase, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” You see, we are asking God to forgive us only insofar as we are willing to forgive others! We are saying, “Forgive my sins, dear Heavenly Father, just like I forgive and have forgiven everyone who has ever hurt or harmed me.” Knowing that is what I am saying makes me want to forgive others instantly. I’m not saying that is easy, but I do feel that for my own well-being and spiritual health, forgiveness is required of me.
My, I have gone on. Will you all forgive me? 😆 It is hard for me, sometimes, not to search out a soapbox, and once found, to stand on it and not relinquish it I’ve said my piece. I will now, however, step down, and leave it here for any of you to step up on and share your mind and heart. I wish you all a life of unconditional love, peace, forgiveness, hope, in other words, enough. . .