Summary: You see, forgiveness is one of those areas where we often say that we believe in God, but live as if He doesn’t exist or hasn’t spoken specifically on the matter.
This sermon is based off of a few ideas in Craig Groeshel’s book “The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist.” Zondervan, 2010. ISBN: 9780310332220
CHRISTIAN ATHEIST: FORGIVENESS
INTRODUCTION… This is (p)
This is Regina. She is 17 and just broke up with her long distance boyfriend whom she met on the internet. She is heartbroken because she feels like this was the first real relationship she ever had. Regina cried her eyes out for a week and in the midst of her sobs she confided in her mother to get advice. After they were done talking, she asked her mom not to tell anyone. Her mom promised. Later than night, she saw on her mother’s facebook page a comment about “my daughter’s broken heart over her lost internet boyfriend.” Regina was devastated and felt utterly betrayed by her mother.
This is Tony. He had a super idea for a business and got together three of his friends to talk about the idea. He wanted some feedback. He wanted to know if they thought he should pursue it. After talking it over, Tony and his three friends decided to get together, pool their money, and make a go of the new store. They would all make a killing. Tony had the most money available and was willing put down all the non-refundable deposits to get things moving. A week after he paid the deposits, they had another meeting to finalize their plans. All three friends backed out at the last minute. Tony had now spent all his savings and even charged some things on his credit cards for a promising business deal and a venture that would never happen. Tony left the meeting cheated, bitter, angry, and friendless.
This is Tom and Kate; they met on a cruise their families had taken. It was love at first sight. Once they met, they spent every waking moment together. It was true love. They shared all about their lives and shared every secret. It was like to halves of a perfect heart coming together. Eight weeks after they met they were engaged. They excitedly went together to get their marriage license before their wedding the next month. They stood in line gazing lovingly at each other, holding hands, and prompting several people in line to jest “get a room.” Once to the counter, the employee puts down the form for them to sign and Kate starts crying and weeping. She looks at Tom and almost becomes unhinged with betrayal. She points at the license which states Tom had been married twice before and listed a woman named Mimi and another woman named Nicole. This had never come up. Kate ran out of the courthouse crushed.
This is Juan, a senior in high school, who is more than excited because he just got his acceptance letter to college. His parents told him that if he worked hard that they would pay his way through college. Juan sacrificed and worked hard and put in hours of studying and it all paid off. He got into his #1 choice for college. He was ecstatic. Then his parents sat him down. They sat Juan down and explained that they were getting a divorce and they had to take his college fund and divide it among them so they could have separate houses and cars and he was just out of luck. They didn’t love each other anymore. Sorry. Juan sat there stunned. Not only were his parents being selfish, but his plans and hard work seem to be blowing up in his face.
This is you. This is the part of the sermon where you insert your story of heart break, hurt, anger, frustration, or deep resentment. We all have those episodes and stories in our lives:
Some of us have hurts that can lead to bitterness.
Some of us have rage at being abused or mistreated by those we felt we should have been able to trust.
Some of us deal with anger at decisions we have made that tanked and ruined our lives.
Some of us endure arguments that break friendships and family relationships that end up as open wounds.
Some of us have been on the receiving end of slander, lies, or unfortunate events that were unfair.
Some of us feel malice towards someone who betrayed our trust.
Some of us are still angry at a person who died and left us alone.
When you think about bitterness, rage, anger, arguing, malice, I do not know exactly what story or memory is conjured in your mind and in your heart, but I know something is there because you are a normal human being. Life is difficult and these hurts exists. On the other side of these hurts (which is where we are spending most of our time today) is the festering process of forgiveness.