Collaboration is more effective when our words and actions are in harmony. This Sunday, Pastor Josh challenged us to be ambassador's for Christ's forgiveness to the world. We are freely forgiven so that we can live out Christ's forgiveness to the world. There is too much hurt and despair in the world for us to play religious games. We are here to invade the kingdom of darkness.
Forgiveness Sets Us Free // Josh Neuroth
Without divine forgiveness, Christianity is a religious doctrine; a game of rules. What sets Christianity apart, what makes it unique and powerful, and what literally gives us access to God and everlasting life, is forgiveness. Regardless of the conditions into which we are born and the mistakes that we make along the way, Jesus comes and offers us new life. Our old identities can pass away; a new life is offered to us. The whole point of everything is that we are forgiven.
For me, the hardest form of forgiveness is forgiving myself. Even though I strive to be a moral, upright person, there are things that I don't like about my personality or how I live my life. It's not that I'm trying to forgive myself for breaking one of God's specific commandments – rather, I'm trying to forgive myself for not being perfect. Not being perfect at relationships. Not being perfect at work. Not being cooler. Trying to forgive myself for not being someone more people desire to be.
This "not being perfect" adds up to a huge burden that constantly weighs me down. All this striving and not living up to expectations of perfection begin to destroy my ability to do anything at all. My inability to forgive myself for falling short of perfection becomes a virus that paralyses who I am.
Jesus breaks this pattern of paralysis:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” - Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
By accepting His forgiveness, the old me dies. I am no longer concerned with my failures or inabilities –trying to constantly strive to overcome my lack. Rather, I am free to become a new person, living by the rhythms of grace. I am now free to be who I was always made to be: a son.