July 20 2017
Mark’s on vacation. Can we make it 2 weeks without burning the place down? Well, Talitha is on vacation too so if it does burn down, it’ll be my fault. But wait, who’s preaching this Sunday? And about what? Will there be props? Who's getting called on stage this time?
Some of you may know my brother, Shane. He's 5 years younger than me, which means when we were kids he could get away with whatever he wanted to and I had to always be the bigger person.
I was never allowed to hit him, even if he hit me first. Shane also has an excellent memory, and can remember details from his childhood that I could never.
One day when we were on a family outing to downtown, Shane and I spotted something at a street-side vendor that we HAD to have. Those huge, full-body size inflatable hammers. They were only $1 each. This was around the time he was starting to get money and learn how to use it, and he had worked hard to save up a full dollar for the first time in his life. It was a very proud moment for him.
Shane saw a beautiful, awe-inspiring, well-earned toy to play with. I saw a workaround to finally be able to hit him with something.
A little later in the day after many hammer wars, I popped Shane's inflatable hammer. He obviously was devastated, it was akin to crashing someone's first brand new car.
For the next three years Shane held this over my head, insisting I pay him back for his inflatable hammer. I must have paid him $10 every year just to settle the hammer-dept. Conveniently enough, he never seemed to remember that I had paid him back for the hammer, despite his excellent memory.
For the next three years Shane allowed a bitterness to brood inside of him over my heinous crime. No matter how many times I paid back the debt. The reality was Shane wasn't caught up or stuck on the money. It wasn't what was holding him back from moving on from this traumatic experience. Shane was caught up on forgiveness.
We see over and over again in the Bible that forgiveness is a powerful force that can propel you into new levels of joy and gratitude. But when forgiveness isn't acknowledged, or withheld, it can destroy you from the inside and turn what could be a rejoicing heart into a cold, miserable heart.
This week we'll be examining how our attitude towards forgiveness causes different responses in our heart, and what that means for our relationship with God.
See you on Sunday!