Summary: #4 in a series focused on the foundational biblical truths found in The Peace Prayer of St. Francis: Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
This week, we are going to look at: Where there is injury, pardon.
Have you ever been injured by someone?
Have you ever caused injury to someone?
Injury: Words spoken. Failed relationships. Life circumstances – minimal to horrific.
Injury is everywhere.
In the church, in the world. At work. In marriages. In families.
It is very easy to take offense and to cause offense.
We don’t easily let go of our offenses.
We keep that someone in jail so to speak.
The incident locked tight in our heart.
Injury is common, pardoning is not.
Here are a few common responses when we have been injured.
Where there is injury let me – have at it.
Where there is injury, let me pardon and then let them pay.
Where there is injury, let me major on the minors.
Where there is injury, let me always have the last word.
Where there is injury, let me always be right.
Knowing that these responses are not very Jesus – like:
What does Jesus have to say about this?
Mt.6: 9-15 “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10) your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11) Give us today our daily bread. 12) Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15) But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
We are asking in this prayer for Jesus to pardon us just as much as we choose to pardon those who have injured us. No more. No less.
For us it is about settling accounts. Being right.
For Jesus it is about pardoning. Being reconciled.
Mt.18: 21-22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’
Seventy-seven means times without number. No limit on how many times we are to pardon, forgive those who have injured us.
It is clear that Jesus means business. There is no wiggle room when it comes to pardoning. The cool part about that challenge is that Jesus didn’t just tell us to do it but He modeled it for us.
The ultimate act of forgiveness was going to the cross for all of us. The ultimate pardon. When He hung on the cross, He said, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
My Story (Sandy):
Book: Introvert Advantage.
Learning a lot. One of the things I am learning about myself is that I am quick to judge people and situations. Lord is teaching me, showing me this part of my personality and changing me.
One of those arenas where I have battled this judging thing is when people have left the church under dumb circumstances.
I could write a pamplet on the Top Ten Funny Reasons to Leave a Church.
I know their decisions are based on shaky reasoning and feel the results of their leaving aren’t going to be good for them. I would rather be right on this and say back to them “I told you so.” Rather than be reconciling. blessing them, pardoning them.
I have assessed the situation but hold on to an offense because I know I am right. And I may be right. However, Jesus’ model and His spoken words about this tells me that we must pardon, reconcile rather than be right.
Your story? So What About You?
Is it more important to you to be right than to reconcile? Is it more important to you to hold onto your grudges and injuries than it is to be pardoning? To hold on to your offenses rather than pardon? To hold that person in the jail of your heart?
We have Jesus’ spoken word about pardoning as well as His model and yet as we stand here today with our injuries and the memories of injuries that we have afflicted on others we may end up looking like the elder son in the Prodigal story.