Summary: A holistic examination of forgiveness and three areas where it is essential in our lives: God’s forgiveness of us, our forgiveness of others, and the importance of forgiving ourselves.
I normally like to begin my sermons with a good story to grab your attention. Recently that has meant sharing some story from my childhood that we all laugh at. I do want to tell you a story today, but in my opinion it isn’t very funny. It begins on October the 10th, just shy of a month ago. My wife Jen sent me an instant message during the day with a question about dinner. We were supposed to being having tacos, but we needed a few things from the store. So we decided we would go to the gym before dinner and stop at Kroger’s on the way home to grab what we needed. I came home from work; we changed clothes to go work out and were at the gym by 4:45 in the afternoon. I normally don’t take my wallet when we go to the gym, with the exception of those times we are going to stop for groceries on the way home. So on October the 10th, I had my wallet with me and I placed it in the center console of my car before we pulled out of the garage.
I like to park kind of far away from the entrance because I don’t want other people to ding my car when they open their doors. As we came out of the gym around 5:30, we didn’t have any idea what had already started. We unsuspectingly made the walk out to my car. I had already unlocked it with my remote when the glint of broken glass caught my eye. I thought to myself, I didn’t see that before or else I wouldn’t have parked over top of it. I was right, I hadn’t seen it before and the reason was because it wasn’t there before. My eyes moved from the ground to the rear drivers’ side door where the window had been shattered. The shards of glass I found on the ground I also found in my back seat.
My mind began to quickly process the whole situation. I looked in my backseat which previously held a book bag and some dress clothes bound for the drycleaners. It was now empty except for shattered glass. I turned my eyes toward the front of the car only to find the center console open and missing one wallet. I opened the drivers’ door, opened the cup holder and to my relief my cell phone was still there. I grabbed it and my first call was to VISA customer support. (Let me suggest putting your credit card customer support numbers in your cell phone. Those numbers don’t do you much good at home in a drawer.) VISA asked for my credit card number which over the years I had memorized. But before I could even deactivate the card it had already been used several times.
As Jennifer went inside to get the number for the police, I called Asist, a medical interpreting agency I work for. You see for the last year I have had a bag just like this one in my back seat. Never did it occur to me that someone might think it contained something of value, but obviously on that day someone thought it was worth the risk. In reality it contained a bilingual medical dictionary, forms I use to interpret, ID badges that gain access to different hospitals, and a record of my mileage for the past year, both pastoral and interpreting. And so I called my agency because I wanted them to know my ID badges had been stolen.
Jennifer returned with the phone number for the police and I called and spoke to a recording. Lovely don’t you think? Where is CSI when you need them, come out here and fingerprint my car. I guess that’s only on TV and at Gatorland in Florida. So, this machine asked me a series of questions about the crime, I left all of the answers and Jen and I drove home where we could continue to make the appropriate calls. For the record we didn’t have tacos, we were surprisingly not hungry. As we drove I slowly realized all of the contents of my wallet:
• 2 Personal credit cards
• 2 Tarjetas de crédito personales
• Drivers license
• Licencia para manejar
• 1 Church credit card
• 1 Tarjeta de crédito de la iglesia
• 1 church debit card
• 1 Tarjeta de débito de la iglesia
• 1 church SAMS club credit card
• 1 Tarjeta de credito de SAMS Club
• 1 copy of my passport
• 1 copia de mi pasaporte
• 1 card naming my banking institution and checking account number
• 1 tarjeta con el nombre de mi banco y el numero de mi cuenta bancaria