Skip to main content

Throw it at the cross

Last weekend I got to preach on holding grudges at our Frederick Pike campus. I was glad my sermon was done earlier in the week since I got sick as the week wore on.

Our teens opened the teaching time with a modern-day drama of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18. I wish I could have just read the scripture and sat down. Jesus was so clear on how we should forgive others.

We invited people to write down a person who they want to forgive or at least start that journey. They crumpled it up and held onto it as we remembered how much energy we've wasted on this situation. Then I invited them to lay it at the foot of the cross as they came up for communion.

At the 9:30 service, I saw an older woman walk down front, wind up her arm and throw her crumpled paper at the cross. I could feel her pain in that action.

Many of us are clinging to pain that's lasted a life time. We keep score of how others have hurt us. We hold onto the score card because it seems fair.

Matthew 18:21-35 is annoyingly simple. God has forgiven us each an immense debt. We are to turn around and forgive others. If not, we'll be tortured through keeping score.

Hold out your hands in front of you. Clench your fists. Feel the time, energy, tears and anger you've wasted on this junk.

By the power







Anonymous said…
wow, did that ever give me goosebumps. I can just picture the woman approaching the cross and the power of that moment for her and for everyone else in the room. thank you.

Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…