Summary: Here is a definitive sermon on forgiveness, and why we should see it as a power way of changing our lives and everything associated with us. I mention our subconscious mind, the Garden of Eden and the last words of Jesus to explain this life changing truth.
This sermon was delivered Gordon McCulloch to the congregation at Holy Trinity in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 29th November 2019; Holy Trinity is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
“Please join me in a short prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)
Introduction, a description of a typical portratit of a king.
In the today’s liturgical calendar, we celebrate “Christ the King” and we here this morning have no problems with that title whatsoever, however I asked the kids at our school, what do you think is a true representation, or portrait of a king and I received, (after many grunts and groans) a stereotypical answer, that a king should be seen on a horse, preferably a white one riding in the lush countryside. He should be wearing neatly fitting chainmail and his hair and beard would be all neatly manicured. … He would have a large, two handed sword on one hand and a large shield with a fancy royal crest on the other. He would have a golden crown upon his head, and … should he say something, he would probably use the word “freedom” somewhere as his caption.
Yet that couldn’t be any further removed from the portrait of Jesus we read about this morning. … For a start, there was no horse, and the countryside was almost desert. He was not wearing chainmail, in fact the bible tells that nailed to a cross, he was beaten, bruised and was stripped naked. … He had no sword, but he had a crown, but a crown of thorns from which blood would flow … and instead of a shield with a royal crest, he had a sign which said, “king of the Jews”. Yet when he spoke, surprisingly, the same word freedom came into it, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”, which as I hope you will soon hear … truly means freedom.
What is and why do we need forgiveness?
What I am saying is that forgiveness gives us freedom, and a freedom in a far higher sense than any political freedom, let me explain as this subject of forgiveness has been on my mind a lot lately, and it is one of those topics that as soon as you think you have understood it, you realise there is more to this subject than you realise.
I suppose it all starts away back in Genesis 2 verse 16 where God said to Adam in the Garden of Eden, and we all know this, that “every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: … but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” … and you know what happened … Eve tempts Adam and they end up getting thrown out the Garden of Eden.
But let’s back up a bit here to the phrase, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it” … because that is the phrase I want to concentrate on, because this is the very phrase Satan picked up upon to Eve, when he said, “ye shall not surely die: … for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”, (gods there with a small “g”).
And do you know, most people when they hear this verse they focus on, “you shall be like gods”, which sounds great, but they fail to see the phrase following which says, “knowing good and evil” … which is a much more powerful phrase with the word “knowing” being a very much undervalued term … and in this context it mean an involuntary, automatic way of knowing something. … It’s true meaning in the original Hebrew is used to extend it to our sub conscious mind … meaning that our subconscious makes decisions for us … and sometimes against us, and it reacts in a far more dramatic way in order that we may be at peace within ourselves. …
Our subconscious mind is that part of us that knows and recognises, and reacts immediately and automatically, to any act that is committed to us, or committed by us to someone else. … I will give you an example … if we witness any act or action, our brain automatically thinks, was that good or was that a bad thing to happen. We cannot help it, because we are as “gods, (small g), knowing good and evil”, we cannot help it.