Summary: Three tangible ways to show love and appreciation.
We’re completing the series on teamwork today with some thoughts about showing appreciation to God and others. Thursday is Thanksgiving Day and today is our church’s anniversary – so how do we display gratitude.
After all, appreciation should be more than just a feeling. We should TELL and SHOW God and others that we appreciate them. But how is this done? In what tangible ways can we demonstrate our appreciation to God and others for who they are and what they’ve done for us?
We’re looking today at something written by the Apostle Peter on this subject. Simon Peter walked and talked with Jesus and the Lord taught him ways to show love and appreciation. So he shared these principles with the early church in a letter.
In one short paragraph of Scripture there are at least three significant ways we can show appreciation. This is certainly not an exhaustive list but it’s a great start.
8 Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause many sins to be forgiven. 9 Open your homes to each other, without complaining. 10 Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. 11 Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11 (NCV)
Let’s look at each of the three ways to show appreciation this Bible paragraph addresses.
1. I show love and appreciation to others by forgiving them.
Verse 8 says, “Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause many sins to be forgiven.”
Sometimes the greatest way I can show that I appreciate people that I love is to forgive them.
This is a consistent topic in Scripture so it needs to be a consistent subject we cover in our examination and application of the Word of God. But today we especially want to see how this applies to teamwork.
Think about it. No one is perfect, not me, not the people I love. So everyone needs forgiveness. But what often happens is that relationships and community are damaged because people aren’t offering forgiveness to one another. Teamwork obviously suffers when people don’t forgive one another. People hold grudges and erect walls. Those walls have to be torn down in order for things to get done.
Let’s say someone I’m working with on a ministry team here at the church says or does something offensive to me. Or I say or do something that hurts their feelings. Even when we don’t even know we’re doing it happens. We’re all imperfect humans. We’re striving towards being more Christ-like but we still say and do dumb things sometimes.
But when the hurt occurs I have a choice. I can either hold a grudge, or I can say to myself, “You know what, I know that person well enough to know how much they love God and are trying to do the right thing. I’m going to show them that I appreciate them by forgiving them. Doesn’t matter what the issue is. It can be little or it can be big. But I’m never going to enjoy the kind of satisfying and fulfilling teamwork we’ve been talking about in this series if I don’t practice forgiveness.
This is the stumbling block for a lot of people.
This is why many don’t excel in their relationships or at teamwork, not in their marriage and family life, not on the job, and not in the church and community.
They haven’t learned the great need to forgive others.
Jesus taught us a lot about forgiveness. Even on the cross He asked His Father in heaven to forgive those who had sentenced Him to death and had nailed Him to a cross to die on Skull Hill. He taught forgiveness by His own example.
But He also said a lot about forgiveness because He knew it would be a hot topic in each of our lives.
Jesus said, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25 (NLT)
Jesus also said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37 (NLT)
And consider this exchange between Jesus and the author of today’s text: 21Peter came up to the Lord and asked, "How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?" 22Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! Matthew 18:21-22 (CEV)