Summary: We are given the gift of relationships. What steps need to be taken to restore fractured, broken relationships, restoring them to where God intends them to be?
- Sibling rivalries as children! Somewhat funny looking back
- Healthy rivalries – hockey! (Toronto and Montreal)
- Tragic when sibling rivalries end up with broken homes and families. They can live within miles of each other but behave as if there is a continent between them.
- Deeper lesson of reconciliation in rivalries is today’s Bible reading.
1st – Our point of reference influences our choices
- Jesus opens this section with a comparative analysis. Verse 21 begins with “you have heard” while verse 22 starts with “But I say to you”.
- Jesus was like grit in the well-oiled legal and religious systems which oppressed people with judgment and criticism. Jesus punched the wind out of society’s flawed processes and said “there’s a better way.” They couldn’t handle that.
- Video images – mirage. It’s all about what you see. Many people “got it” (what Jesus was saying) but many others couldn’t figure him out at all.
- Our point of reference affects our perceptions and choices.
- Options! – Settle things the way the world settles it or seek God’s heart to respond His way!
2nd – Reconciling rivalries is key to healthy relationships
- (v 23-24)
This is a very difficult posture to assume because as our text suggests the person resolving the problem is not always the one who created the problem. While it is often true that we may search someone out to ask their forgiveness for some wrong we have committed against them, this text boldly offers that we are to search out and offer forgiveness to those who have committed some wrong against us.
- Exactly what Jesus did in coming to earth, to fix a rivalry between God and us. Our pride and disobedience separated us from God and God chose to forgive us.
- Invitation to not hold a grudge
Corrie Ten Boon – Holocaust survivor during the Hitler regime. Her family did not. They were Dutch Christians arresting by the Nazis for hiding Jews in their home. She watched the horrors of the genocide from Ravensbrueck, and barely survived. Following the war, she became famous for her book "The Hiding Place," which shared the story of her family. She embarked on speaking engagements sharing her faith with thousands of people. One night she spoke about the reality of Christ forgiving us. Afterwards a man came forward to speak to her. She recognised him as a guard from Ravensbrueck. She instinctively felt all of the hatred and pain from the horror those years of persecution.
He said he had been moved by her talk on forgiveness and, crying, he asked if he might receive the forgiveness of Christ of which she had spoken. In herself she could not offer that forgiveness. The Lord had put his finger on something which was preventing her from becoming more ’Christ Like.’ She remembered the command of Christ to love your enemy and to forgive seventy times seven the person who has wronged you. As Corrie Ten Boon prayed that Jesus would give her the strength to forgive the man, she felt a sensation begin in her heart and flow through her hand as it touched his. Then she heard herself saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I forgive you."