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(upbeat music) – Hello Sandals Church.
I also wanna welcome thoseof you who are joining us via Sandals Church TV.
And so it's good to behere with you today.
I don't know if youwere with us last week, but we've begun this new series called “The Cure For Loneliness.
” And Pastor Fredo kind of opened it up and presented the problem.
And that's this: That there is an epidemic of loneliness not only in our country, but across the globe.
We're seeing staggering statistics that reveal this problem ofisolation and loneliness.
In fact I was thinking about it this week.
Like when did I feel the loneliest that I've ever felt in my life? And I had been over the deepend for a couple of years in high school, partying quite a bit.
And I knew I needed to get away.
I needed to change my environment.
And so I went to college in Oklahoma and it was the first weekend of classes.
They had this special little event thing, The Last Day of Summer they called it.
And we went to this waterpark in Oklahoma City.
And before the park had opened there was this sort of side picnic area, some volleyball tables, volleyball tables, that was strange.
And we were playing thispickup game of volleyball.
And all of the sudden Istarted to get lightheaded.
Started to get dizzy.
And the world around me began to spin.
And the next thing I knew Iwoke up strapped to a stretcher getting put in an ambulance.
I had no clue what had happened.
I had to be told that just 10 minutes ago I had a grand maul seizure.
I'd never had a seizure before in my life.
As far as I knew I wasn't epileptic.
I got rushed to thehospital, ran a buncha tests and all of these kinds of things and I remember just sort ofbeing as alone as I'd ever been.
I was 1600 miles from my home, anyone or anything that I knew.
And I remember I finally criedout to God in my loneliness.
It had been awhile since I'dengaged the God that I knew.
And so I know that thatinternal experience of loneliness andisolation, even in a world where we might be around alotta people, is very common.
But it's something I wouldnever wish on my worst enemy.
And so what I love thoughis that Pastor Fredo didn't just leave us there.
He pointed us to the solution.
And that's this idea thatthe cure for loneliness is a table.
It's a table both in the literal sense that it's a space that wegather around, we share a meal, it's a space where we getto share about our days and what's going on in our lives, our frustrations, our joys.
But it's also sort of thismetaphor that we'll be using over the next several weeks that really is a metaphorfor the space within which the kind of community, the kind of humanflourishing in relationship that God wants for us, that's where this happens, at the table.
And so the idea for therest of the series though, is to actually unpack thosethings that get in the way of us getting to the table.
What are the things that keep us isolated? Relationally? Maybe you've been at the tablebut you've been displaced for one reason or another.
Maybe you've been dismissed, right? There's a circle of friends that you're just not welcome anymore.
Maybe you've dismissedyourself because you believe, man I don't know if beingat the table is worth it.
People at the table are crazy, right? And maybe you've justsorta, or you've been hurt and that's really sortof the topic for today.
Is maybe you've been wounded at the table.
And so maybe you didn't ask to be excused but you just sort of slid your chair back, hoping nobody notices andjust sort of walked away.
And so how do we get back to the table, especially when we'vebeen hurt at the table? And so before we jumpinto our message today, I'd just ask that you'dpray with us, pray with me that we would have God's help as we sort through his word together.
God we are so thankful that you have not left us to ourselves.
God that you have givenus your word as a guide and my prayer is that youwould give us ears to hear, and God that you would alsojust be with me as I deliver it, actually feeling a littlebit off physically, God, so sustain me, give mestrength and energy.
And God would we have earsto hear from your word and be changed by it today.
In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
So here's kind of the firstthing I wanna share with you.
God's original design, the plan for the table was actually this divine institution from the very beginning called the family.
That was the space that Godintended for us to be safe, to be known, to find intimaterelationship with one another.
But ever since the gardenof Eden, the family table, that space has been broken.
And so each and every one of us, even if you had a good familyenvironment growing up, maybe both of your parents were present in the way that they were supposed to be and you say yeah, actually mychildhood wasn't all that bad.
There's still some brokenness.
Every family's got it.
And so what happened along the way is that we got hurt, right? And so there's a reason thattherapists spend a lotta time just going back to childhood stuff.
And so the story thatwe're gonna be a part of and jump into today is actually the story of a broken family.
And it's a crazy story.
It takes up about thesecond half of Genesis.
And so before we jump into the passage I need to give a little bit of context.
There's this guy named Jacob.
He needs a wife so his familysends him to a different town to some relatives and hemeets this gal named Rachel.
And the scriptures say thatRachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face.
She was hot, right? She was fine, all right, okay? He was into her, okay? And so he approaches her dad, named Laban, this guy named Laban.
And he says “Man, I wantyour daughter, Rachel.
” And so he says, “That's fine”.
“You gotta work for me for seven years.
” And so if you're a romantic or you're into cheesy love stories like it's actually a very powerful story.
It says this, the Biblesays this about Jacob and his love for Rachel: After working for seven years, right? He loved her so much itseemed as if but a few days.
(congregation laughs) Right? And so he goes to marry her and Laban, this yahoo, he actually tricks, he dupes Jacob and onthe night of the wedding gives him actually hisolder daughter, named Leah.
Now here's what the Bible in one translation says about Leah: She didn't have asparkle in her eye, okay? Let me translate that for you.
This is the Bible's kindway of saying that Leah, she was U-G-L-Y.
U-G-L-Y, right? She had no alibi.
But he wasn't into her.
But he loved Rachel andso he ended up working a whole another seven years.
And if you thought your family was crazy, think of four moms.
Not just one pair of, one sister wives, right? But two pairs of sisters wives.
There was some maids involved too.
There were four moms thatended up having 12 sons.
In fact these were whatwe would then later know as the 12 tribes of Israel.
Because Jacob's namewas changed to Israel.
It was literally Jacob'ssons, the 12 tribes of Israel.
And so that's where we pick up our story.
And this story is one of the longestnarratives in the Bible.
It's actually from chapters 37-50.
It's a beautiful story, the story of Joseph.
And so that's where we pick up.
This is the account ofJacob and his family.
When Joseph was 17 years old, he often tended his father's flocks.
He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father'swives Bilhah and Zilpah.
You gotta love the Biblical names, right? Bilhah and Zilpah.
But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad thingshis brothers were doing.
Most of you, if you knowthe story of Joseph, you'll know that most of it is about what his brothers do to him.
But I think we forget thatit actually starts with him.
He's a punk little brother, right? He begins with tattle taling, right? He's reporting to his father the bad things his brothers had done.
I've got four sons.
So I'm very familiar with brotherhood, and the many sorts offights and different things that go on amongst ourbrothers or our sons, the four brothers.
The third one, named Asher, coincidentally it's one ofthe 12 tribes of Israel, came into my room theother day and he's giddy.
Like he's like (laughing)like dancing like, you know just a weird kind of happy.
I'm like, what is going on with you? And he begins to share with me that he got this legendarycard in this game, like this digital game, Clash Royale, if you care.
And so he got this legendarycard and I'm just like man, your excitement level, it doesn't quite match.
Like I don't understandwhat's so big about this card.
And the truth actually came out.
It wasn't so much that he washappy that he got the card.
It was that his two older brothers didn't have that card yet.
Right? It's just kinda how brotherhood works.
A punk little brother Joseph is, right? And so Jacob loved Joseph, this is the dad now, not only does that hurt his brothers, I'm sure they're not fansof the tattle taling, but then you've got thisother layer from the dad.
Jacob loved Joseph more thanany of his other children because Joseph had beenborn to him in his old age.
So one day Jacob had aspecial gift made for Joseph, a beautiful robe.
The thespians in the room might know this as the amazing technicolor dreamcoat.
Got three theater fans in the room.
Probably wasn't technicolor.
It's a beautiful robe.
A gift from his dad to his favorite.
But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved himmore than the rest of them.
So we've got another layer of hurt for the other 11 brothers, right? A dad who clearly favors his son.
And we know not only thatit's that the sons that he had in his old age, but him andhis other brother, Benjamin, who he also favors, they were, those two, they were the sons of Rachel.
There's another layer there.
But this is what it developed into.
They couldn't say a kind word to him.
Like they were so offended that they couldn't say a kind word to him.
When Joseph's brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance.
As he approached, theymade plans to kill him.
That escalated kinda quickly, right? Made plans to kill himas they saw him coming.
The first point in your notes as we look at this story about this family that's displaced, this broken family table, hurt people hurt people.
Maybe you've heard that phrase before.
People who are wounded, who are hurt, it's kinda the notion of like, don't bite the hand that feeds you.
When you're wounded, when you'rehurt you tend to lash out.
In fact it's whatperpetuates the cycle of sin.
We are sinned against, we're offended, and then we sinfully respond to that.
And so goes the cycle.
You know my oldest son, he's a super sweet kid.
Well loved, we're reallyblessed to have him as a son.
And when he was a toddler he was so sweet that he went through this phase where if he bumped intosomething like the coffee table he would be like “Sorry.
” Aw, right? Yeah, crazy sweet boy.
Just loved everybody, super kind.
Until one day, as a three-year-old, he got a splinter in his hand.
And my son's not a wuss, but he gets a little dramatic with pain.
Like he just, you knowhe was freaking out.
And for whatever reason, whenever something crazyhappens at our house, when chaos is unleashed, I'm not there.
My beautiful wife gets to dealwith the crazy by herself.
We had a kitten go into seizures once.
Where was I? I was on the lake.
My kids are freaking out.
Their kitten, I know, that's kind of dark.
But there was a moment, I'm not kidding you, where a bat got into our house.
Circling our house.
And they're freaking out.
Where was I? Not there, you know? So my son gets this splinter and my wife calls me and I can't hear her because all I'm hearing is screaming, like bloody murder in thebackground, like (screams).
Like just a demon child, right? And I'm like what iswrong, like is Avery okay, is he dying, she's like”No, he has a splinter.
” It's like all right, I'm gonna come home, try and help you out.
So I get home and he's just not having it.
She hasn't even touched himwith tweezers yet or anything.
And so we're like buddy, we gotta get this out.
Da da da da.
I found out later, like wedidn't have to traumatize him in this way because it'll come out and make its way to the surface, but we were wanting toget the splinter out.
And so we're like startingto kinda restrain him or whatever and he is scream, he is like everythingthat he can muster up in his tiny little three year old body.
And then this sweet little boy, just spewed the most venomous curse that he could come up with.
He looked right into my soul.
He pointed at me, he said, “You are an ugly, ugly man.
” (congregation laughs) I was like, oh, I'm not evenyour dad anymore, right? You have to refer to me as some other man.
And I'm ugly, right, apparently Leah wasn't the only ugly one.
Like I'm like whoa okay.
We probably added insult to injury.
We laughed so hard.
We'll be paying for that therapyfor years to come I'm sure.
But the point is this, he was hurting.
Right? He was hurt.
And so he lashed out with hurt back at me, the one who was tryingto take care of him.
And so my question to you today, is have you dealt, weall have them by the way, have you dealt withthe hurts in your past? Have you dealt with yourown broken family system that displaced you from the table, the very space that wassupposed to teach you how to be in a real relationship, in true community.
Maybe you haven't yet done that because you don't know where to begin.
Maybe there's a lotthere for you to unpack.
And so maybe that'sbecause of this next point in your notes, is this, is resentment multiplies the hurt.
Resentment multiplies the hurt.
And when you hear the word resentment you can plug in a coupleof other synonyms there.
It compounds the original issue.
So as if the originaloffense wasn't enough, now this stuff starts to happen internally and it multiplies the hurt.
I was talking to my thirdson about the message and about this idea of pasthurts and how it isolates us.
And he's like, “Ohyeah, like Spider Gwen.
” Now if you're old likeme or you haven't seen “Into the Spiderverse” yetit's the story of this girl, she's sharing how her bestfriend, Peter Parker, got shot.
And she wasn't able to save him.
And so she says, “Now I end upspending the rest of my life, “now I'm just saving everyone else.
” But then she says thisone really telling line, and my son, my 11 year oldson, is sharing this story, he gets it.
She said “And now Idon't do friends anymore, “just to avoid the distractions.
” You see the resentment from the loss of herbest friend being shot had kept her from being in relationship.
It's this powerful pictureof somebody who's wounded and is actually trying todo what's right, right? She's trying to do the super hero thing.
But she's not about friends.
She's not about community.
So we pick up our story, but before we do that, there's a few chapters that have been skipped.
And so what ends up happening is the brothers havethis plan to kill Joseph.
They leave him in a pit.
And then they say, 'cause they were like ah Dad would be really ticked at us.
We don't want that blood on our hands.
And so they throw him in a pit.
So the wild animals'lleventually get to him.
But then they see some traders going by and they say well hey, let's profit on this deal.
They sell him to some traders.
He gets shipped to Egypt.
He's falsely accused andthen starts to rise to power because God's given him thisgift of interpreting dreams.
And the Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, needs some dreams interpreted.
But then there's a faminein the land of Israel.
Right? And his brothers, they are sent by Jacob, to go get food for the family.
And now, now's thattime to exact vengeance.
It's telling, the initialresponse is as we read it.
Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of sellinggrain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came.
When they arrived, they bowed before him withtheir faces to the ground.
Which by the way, is thefulfillment of a dream that he'd had years prior.
Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a strangerand spoke harshly to them.
“Where are you from?” he demanded.
“From the land of Canaan, ” they replied.
“We have come to buy food.
” So right, this is the firsttime he's seeing his brothers after they've left him for dead.
And I think often ourinitial response to something is the most telling one.
Clearly there's some resentmentstill there with Joseph.
And it's multiplying the hurt.
Now God begins to work on Joseph's heart after this point in the story and things begin to shift.
And we'll get there soon.
But I'm just reminded ofhow we can hold onto things.
My oldest son, that same sweet boy, again talking about this idea, preparing for this message.
And he said, talking about past hurts, he's like “Oh yeah, you mean that time “you forced me to go on Tower of Terror?” (congregation laughs) So if you're California Adventure, it used to be Tower ofTerror, now it's Guardian, it's one of these like dropsort of rides, you know.
And we were there and I'm like, he's probably eight years old at the time.
And I was like, yeah manyou gotta go on this.
And he's like nope.
Right, he's digging his heels in, he's like I'm “No, I'mnot doing it, too freaky, “too scared, no way.
” But I was like, no, no, no, internally, right? I'm like I know how this story line goes.
Like I pressure him and pressure him and then he goes on the ride and he loves it and hewants to do it again.
So that's what I'm gonna do.
Right? Come on bud.
Like it wasn't peer pressure, Dad pressure, whatever.
And finally he succombs, right? I mean he's like “Okay, I'll do it.
“I'll do it for you.
” Right? So he's retelling this story.
He's like “Yeah, Dad, that's the day “that my fear of heights began.
” (congregation laughs) Like, right? And he's actuallymentioned it a few times.
And I'm like wow, like you'restill bringing this up.
And he's kinda joking, maybenot joking a little bit too.
And so I'm starting to realize, man I need to have a conversation.
I need to figure this out.
I need to make some things right.
He's like “Oh yeah, and a few days later “we were playing catch andyou threw a tennis ball “and I didn't catch it andit hit me in the face.
” I was like oh my gosh.
It was a rough week for Avery.
And so like we ended uphaving this conversation about that.
But I could tell that there was still, even if it was low level andwe could laugh a little bit there was still something there.
There was still a littlebit of bitterness there that's this thing thatI did to my own son.
And so I wanna actually takea little bit of a left turn, it's gonna feel likethat, but stick with me.
Because I wanna shift tosomething a bit more serious.
I wanna talk about what we'vebeen experiencing as a nation.
Many of you know lastweekend there were two more mass shootings in our country.
Leaving 31 people dead.
And so with all of the onlineand digital and social media sort of venom that gets spewed.
You know you're scared almostto like what do you say? Right? The whole idea of thoughts and prayers, like that's been criticized.
We have to act but whatcan we possibly do, right? It's a huge problem.
It's indicative of acultural rift in our country, like what do we? Okay, if we're supposed to act, what could we possibly do? Right? I'm with Pastor Matt, theidea of sending thoughts is a little strange.
What about the prayers? And I had to, I came to a point this week where I was convicted of this.
I had to ask myself the samequestion that I would ask you, because I have this personalcommitment that as a pastor I'm not gonna say I'mpraying for you if I don't.
Like it's just, we say that a lot, we throw it out and I'm wondering, has that become cliche, isthat just something we say? Or church are we on our knees? Are we actually praying? And I confess, it was about Wednesday, several days afterwards, where I finally realized, man I haven't, I haven't prayed.
And so I did and I was reminded, like man where do you even begin.
I remember Romans 8 that says this: When we don't know how to pray, the spirit intercedes with us with groans that words can't express.
And so I do believe that the church is called by God to play aprophetic role in our culture.
And by prophetic I don'tmean telling the future.
I mean reading the signs of our times and delivering God'sword, God's truth to it.
And so the first thingI wanna say is this: Is you need to know thespirit of God is grieving.
And he's praying with groansthat words cannot express.
But I wanna offer one more thing.
And it's the next point in your notes.
It's the way forward, it'sthe way back to the table.
The way back to the tableis through forgiveness.
The way back to the tableis through forgiveness.
My guess is, it's like maybeyou're a little jarred, you're like what does forgiveness have to do with a mass shooting? Forgiveness, like isn'tthat a little weak? Like gimme something with alittle more teeth, Pastor.
It was enough, forgiveness was sufficient for a community inPennsylvania 13 years ago when a lone gunman walkedinto a one room school house in, of all places, an Amish community.
Like a people of peace.
He took 10 girls hostage, ages six to 13.
Shot 10 of, excuse me, shoteight of them and five died.
What we would find out later as the investigation went on was that this man had helddeep resentment against God because nine years prior he had lost his own infant daughter.
Talk about resentmentmultiplying the hurt.
But that's not the end of the story.
And what would ensue withinhours after that shooting blew the mind of our nation.
What ended up happening within hours is that several from the Amish community, some of the elders, went to the home of the now widowed gunman'swife to extend forgiveness.
To say look, we'regrieving, we're in shock, but I gotta imagine so are you and your three young children.
Right? And it doesn't even stop there.
Their forgiveness wasmore than just verbal.
They put their money where their mouth is.
They raised a fund forthe family of the gunman, the family of the gunman.
Right? Like what? Like who does that? And some of us are evenlike man, that feels wrong to move so quickly to forgiveness.
But here's what it did: it's a powerful force relationally.
It healed the community.
This week, my wife, Shanalea and I, we were watching a movie based on it and the production value's not great, the acting's not great, but about halfway through my wife is just like bawling.
You know even at several moments, like I'm tearing up.
At one point she slaps me.
She's like “Why did youmake me watch this?” Like she's just a wreck.
You know? Like you're gonna haveto forgive me for that.
That's violent, you know? But it was powerful, this story.
The way back to the tableis through forgiveness.
And so in Genesis 50 the brothers have beentaken care of by Joseph but finally their dad, Jacob, dies.
And they're probably thinking, like man, Joseph and his kindness and his taking care ofus, it was all for Dad.
But what ends up happening is Jacob dies.
But now that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers became fearful.
“Now Joseph will show his anger “and pay us back for allthe wrong we did to him.
” He will take vengeance.
The opposite of forgiveness, right? He's gonna stick it to 'em, they said.
But Joseph replied.
Listen to this perspective.
“Don't be afraid of me.
“Am I God, that I can punish you?” In other words he understandssomething very deep about forgiveness.
It's not that it just sort ofgoes away into the atmosphere.
It's actually transferringit to the ledger of God.
God will ultimately take an account.
In the Amish community, they said man, your husband is gonna standbefore a holy and just God, have mercy on his soul.
They knew that there's one seat, one who can occupy that seatof judgment who is righteous.
And we're gonna give ouroffenses, our wounds, our past hurts to him.
We're gonna allow him to deal with it.
Joseph knows whose place that is.
It says this then in the next verse.
This is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, I believe.
Especially when it comes to a picture of extending grace and forgiveness, and redemption thatcomes when that happens.
“You intended to harm me, butGod intended it all for good.
“He brought me to this position “so I could save the lives of many people.
“No, don't be afraid.
“I will continue to take careof you and your children.
” He too puts his money where his mouth is.
And then check out howit comes full circle.
I encourage you, go home and read this.
It's 14 chapters.
Comes full circle.
He says this: So he reassured them byspeaking kindly to them.
It was his brothers that couldn'tspeak a kind word to him.
And now because of this work that God does in Joseph's heart, this perspective that he's brought, allows him to forgive them and to speak kindly to them.
Ephesians 4 says this: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.
Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.
It's a brief pictureof very concise picture of what it means to be at the table.
The kind of communitythat God is creating, that Jesus is inviting us to, is one that is tenderhearted, that is kind, that is ready to forgive.
But how? Or maybe the better question is why, like why forgive? Like what's the motivation here? It comes in that next clause.
Just as God throughChrist has forgiven you.
Remember what Pastor Fredo said last week, to be at the table is to know that you are a sinnerin need of repentance.
Your ability to forgive comes from a clear understanding that you yourself are asinner, capable of doing evil, a capacity to hurtsomeone, to offend someone, even if you don't mean it.
Perhaps you've understood that you've said or done something relationally that has caused somebody elseto take off from the table.
And so what do you do but toextend that same forgiveness that you've been shown? We only have a seat at the table because Jesus has first forgiven us.
And now we have no choice if we get that to do the same for others.
So I wanna talk, I just wanna unpack for ourlast few minutes together, a little bit about what forgiveness is, what it isn't, somepractical kinds of things to clarify from God's word howyou might go out from here.
Not just a hearer of theword, but a doer of it, to be people, a church, marked by forgiveness.
I wanna give you a quick definition first.
Most of the, a lot ofthe Biblical passages about forgiveness usethe metaphor of finances.
It's actually a notion of debt, of owing someone something.
In fact in one version, onetranslation of the Lord's Prayer it says forgive us our debtsas we too forgive our debtors.
So the quick definitionI would give you is, forgiveness is about declaring that though you have wrongedme, you don't owe me anything.
You don't owe me anything.
And so I'm releasing you from that debt.
It's a radically different system than the one in the Old Testament, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
You do something to meyou have to pay me back with an equal amount.
And forgiveness here is about saying you don't owe me anything.
The political party that you're mad at, they don't owe you anything.
The oppressive system, thoughit's oppressive and evil, it doesn't owe you anything.
You're releasing that, you'resaying that's on God's hands to deal with.
And so there's a few things.
Forgiveness does notmake what happened okay.
Forgiveness does notmake what happened okay.
So as we've had a lot ofopportunities with four boys to practice making anapology and things like that, we've taught them that whenthey say they're sorry, first of all they have to name the wrong I'm sorry for.
And the more specific themore effective the apology.
Right? Not just a general, like oh I'm sorry, like my Dad's making me do this.
Right? Sometimes I really get them andI make them hug for like 10, I literally count out 10 seconds.
And so it's actuallyamazing what happens by, like they're all like rigid and whatever, and I won't start counting until they're actuallyembracing each other.
And by about six, seven or eight, as I'm counting to 10they're like laughing.
It's pretty amazing.
But what's the most commonresponse to an apology if you think about it? Somebody comes to you andthey say, “Hey I'm sorry.
” Most of us say, it's okay.
That cheapens the forgiveness.
What happened isn't okay.
I didn't list all ofthe Bible verses there.
My hope is that you'd go homeand unpack some of those.
The one that you see underthis point is Isaiah 5:20.
It says woe and not like whoa, but like Biblical woe, likewoe, like bad things upon you.
Right? Who call something that's evil good.
But we're not asking of you, what God isn't saying is to forgive is to callsomething that was wrong, good or right or true.
And especially, there'sa spectrum of offenses.
There's sorta the petty every day stuff and I'll speak to those in just a minute.
But then on the other end of the spectrum there's some pretty deep level wounds that some of us are carrying, some hurts.
Those of us, for instance, who've been abused.
Emotionally, verbally, sexually, maybe all of the above.
And so what we're not saying is that what happened to you is okay.
Far from it.
So what if the other person though, doesn't acknowledge the wrong? You say you don't owe meanything, it's forgiveness.
But don't they at least owe me an apology? How many of us are stillwaiting on that apology? That's probably never gonna happen.
And so does forgivenessmake sense in that context? Where we don't even know if the person who wronged usknows that they wronged us.
Forgiveness can also be oneway, that's the next point.
Forgiveness can be one way.
Now when it's wise, or when it's safe, there's another layerthat the Bible speaks to called reconciliation.
It takes two to tango with that.
There has to reciprocity forrelationship to be restored.
Right? But with forgiveness it can be one way, because here's the deal.
As you've been hurt and you're trying to makeyour way back to the table, you may not be coming back to the table with the people who hurt you.
You're trying to get back to the table because you need community, it's how we're designed to live.
And so forgiveness can be one way.
I know that because themost profound picture of forgiveness we haveis Jesus on the cross.
And one of his last words is this: “Father, forgive them, theyknow not what they do.
” The people who were crucifying Jesus and theologically by the way, that's me and you and everyone else.
They didn't know what they were doing.
He didn't wait on an apology to ask his father in heaven to forgive.
Forgiveness can be one way.
Also forgiveness is costly when it's a death to self.
Like we have to choose to not hold onto what's rightfully ours, it costs us somethingto sort of absorb that or to release that.
But it's not optional Matthew 18 tells a story about this guy who owes an unpayable debt, like think millions andmillions of dollars.
And he's about to getin some serious trouble 'cause he can't pay.
I think he's about toget throw into prison.
And so he's begging formercy from this king, from this master, thislord who he owed money.
And finally the king has mercy on him, the one who's owed the money, and he says, yeah actually, I'm gonna just forgive this.
You don't owe me anything.
And he walks out and the sameguy who was just forgiven sees some other knucklehead on the street who owes him a fraction ofwhat he was just forgiven.
He's starting to like choke the fool out, trying to get his money back.
He just came from being forgiven, right? That's a picture of me and you.
We've been forgiven and so we don't, it's not optional as a Christian.
Should I forgive or not? It's just what we do.
And I know that that'sa hard word to receive.
But ultimately it frees you.
It heals you, it allows youto come back to the table where there are people who are safe, who maybe won't wound youas you've been wounded.
Finally I'm not naive.
I know that even though there's a moment where we choose by our will to forgive, and I wanna emphasize that really quickly, don't wait 'til you feel it.
I'm finally feeling like forgiving.
It probably isn't gonna happen.
Most things that God calls us to are acts of our will.
And we pray that the feelings follow.
Right? But it's a process.
One of Jesus's disciples says”How many times do I forgive?” And if you know this story, Jesus says, “70 times seven.
” Some of the mathematicians are like 490.
Some of you are like myhusband's long past 491.
I don't have to forgive any more.
It's not the point, right? The idea is just to be aChristian, to follow Jesus in this way is to forgive andto forgive and to forgive.
Indefinitely, as long as it takes.
The last point in your notes is this.
Forgiveness moves us fromvictimhood to victory.
From victimhood tovictory because some of us are real victims.
We've been hurt.
And yet the victory is when we can berestored to relationship, when we are able to dealwith that and heal from that in such a way that wecan be back at the table.
And I mean let's be honest for a moment.
Most of like the offenses in our lives, not to minimize the stuff onthis side of the spectrum, that's very serious and it'svery real, that's very deep.
But most of the offenses arelike the day to day stuff are really kinda petty, right? It's almost in our culture, like we're just waiting to be offended.
The other day, yesterday actually, I was in a parking lot, busy parking lot.
I was in a hurry.
And the rest of the world apparently didn't know I was in a hurry.
And this guy, there was an open spot and I'm like it's kindaclose to where I'm going.
And so he jumps in ahead of me.
And then if like thatwasn't enough, right? He added the insult to injury and decided he wanted todo like the back in thing, facing forward.
And then he didn't get his angle right, so it wasn't just like a three point turn but where it's like thisguy doesn't care about it.
And then I'm like ohthere's the guy behind him that's gonna take my other spot, right? And I'm all offended.
You know? I'm like oh my gosh, you know, just this morning I wentto go to the refrigerator, to grab my wife her Half &Half, her cream for her coffee.
And she thought I waslike getting in the way and it's like 6:30 a.
, right? And neither of us have got our coffee and we are not even lovingJesus at this point.
(congregation laughs) And she is like, I openthe refrigerator door and it like cuts her off and she's like, gives me kinda just this likestink eye look or whatever.
And I'm like I felt it, like I'm so offended.
I'm here to serve you, likeI'm getting your cream, girl.
(congregation laughs) Offended, right? What if what we brought to the table was an olive branch? The olive branch is asymbol, Biblical symbol for relational peace, for the extension ofgrace and forgiveness.
What if this was just in our back pocket? Right? And I'm in community group and I share something and it'svulnerable and I perceive, like you didn't handle my heartwell, it's just ready to go.
Because ultimately it's not about me, it's about the table.
It's about this space, it's about this community.
And so what I love is these elements for the next several weeksare gonna stay on the table.
I love that we started last week with the two glasses of wine and bread that's actually not wine, we're Baptists.
It's grape juice.
But it's the symbolic presence of Christ.
And it's the centerpiece.
It's that which allelse around it revolves.
It's what makes the table possible for us.
And so we've gotta get usedto bringing forgiveness, relational peace, we gotta make allowance for each others' faults.
I've already accountedfor it, you're good.
I forgive you.
I'm just quick to move there.
So that the table doesn't get disrupted.
Because here's the beautifulthing about the table.
Is that this is practice for a forever table of Jesus.
Do you know that the Biblespeaks of our future hope as a big party, as a banquet, as a feast.
There's a table and it's really big and here's why I know it'sreally big because in Matthew 8 it says that people fromall around the world, from the East and the West, people very different from me and you are gonna sit around this tableand share a meal together.
United by Christ.
Marked by forgiveness.
Would you pray with me? God I wanna pray a prayer that your son Jesus taught us to pray.
Forgive us God, of our sins.
As we forgive those whohave sinned against us.
God would we be a people united by Christ, invited and sitting at the table because we've been forgivenand therefore we're ready with the olive branch, we're ready to forgive.
It's our first move.
And so God we do pray thatwe would leave from here, not just having heard your word, but doing it as a church that people would look at Sandals Church and be like what grace, whatmercy, what forgiveness.
I wanna sit at that table.
And that we would invitethem to this understanding that they will one day, if they choose you, to sit at a table that will last forever with people from allnations, tribes, languages.
Enjoying the feast that is ours in Christ.
In Jesus' name we pray.
– Here at Sandals Churchwe really do believe that this vision of beingreal can change the world.
Because Sandals Church is a nonprofit that operates from donationsfrom people like you.
Because when you donate yourmoney goes to creating places for people to be real all over this world.
So man, I would love foryou to be a part of that and you can make a donation today by clicking the link on this video or going to donate.
So join us, and join what God is doing through this vision of being real and have a great day.