God’s plan to reconcile the Creation is a three way street. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, we have peace with God. God is not angry at us. At this point, a complication sets in. Now we have to figure out how to get along with each other. God and us. Us and God. Us and us. A three way street.
The Bible tells us a few things about how to get along with each other.
The first consideration is a matter of math. God’s forgiveness of us is so many times greater than the offenses we cause one another. Since God has forgiven us so much, we can afford to be a little generous in overlooking a few offenses.
The second consideration is the nature of God. God is both merciful to us and at times angry at us. The Bible says that God is most likely to be angry with us when we are unwilling to extend to others the mercy we have already received. Being forgiven, and being willing to forgive, go together.
The third consideration is the reality of sin and the need for forgiveness. When we are wronged, it is tempting to pretend that there was no offense. Avoidance doesn’t help us get along with each other. Avoidance is wishing that the person moves on and leaves you alone. Forgiveness isn’t pretending that there is no offense. Forgiveness isn’t permissiveness or condoning. Forgiveness is taking the sin seriously, taking the other person seriously, and extending the mercy that makes reconciliation possible.
In our sermon Sunday we will look at a story Jesus told, “The parable of the unforgiving servant,” and talk about how we can learn to get along with one another.