Sermons

Summary: Loosely based on Roger Sonnenberg's lent series of the same title, this series looks at damaged relationships using the passion of Christ. Not only advice on how to prevent damage, there is a major focus on the hope we have, that results in all relations

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Concordia Lutheran Church

Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Escalation

Phil.2:1-10;

May the grace, mercy and truth of God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and through you, impacting every relationship you are part of!

Some are simple, nothing more than a smile now and then, and a “hello” or “God Bless!” Others dominate our time, and as complex as the human body, as we interact with family and friends, and co-workers.

Either way, relationships are what define us. Our vocations, we are employees, or bosses, we are parents or children or grandparents. We are husbands and wives. We are…followers of Jesus and children of God.

As we enter lent, as we consider our sins, those sins are sins because they wreck the relationships we have, including our relationship with Jesus. Indeed, any relationship we damage, is indicative of our struggles with following Jesus, for John wrote in his first epistle,

19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. 20 If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? 21 The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both. 1 John 4:19-21 (MSG)

In this series of Lenten devotionals, we are going to look at things that get in the way of loving our neighbor. Things demonstrated in Jesus road, from the garden to the cross. We are going to look at how He loved, that we can realize how He loves us, and thereby be enabled to love as well. But we will also see how His grace heals us when we fail, and enables the relationships we wound… to be healed as well.

Tonnight, we look at something the first thing that wounds relationships. Sociologists call it,”Escalation”. This is how the author of the series we are adapting, described it.

Escalation occurs when partners respond back and forth negatively to each other, continually upping the ante so that conditions get worse and worse. Negative comments often spiral into increasing anger and frustration. As each antes up their argumentation with attacks toward the other, anger quickly becomes contempt. It may include everything from name-calling to bringing up past hurts.

Today, we call this “trash talking”, and to be good at it is a sign of… hmmm… Well people really respect those who are good at… Hmmm, ok I am not sure why it is popular, but it is!

Most of us have engaged in this from time to time. Sometimes it starts playful but escalates. As Jesus goes from the garden to the cross, his enemies continually escalate things, even to the extent of making things up.

In verse 61, they misquote him and accuse him of sinning against the temple.

In 63 they demand that he play their game, and answer their question. When he answers it truthfully, they raise the stakes again and accuse Him of blaspheming and deserves to die! In 66 it goes from just words to physical, uncontrolled attacks.


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