The first sermon I preached at Pleasant Ridge Church was on the topic of forgiveness. I talked about the parable of the unforgiving debtor (Matthew 18:21-35). Little did I know that just a few weeks later the entire church would face a situation that would test us.
On the Saturday night before Mother’s Day, the church was broken into and vandalized. While the damage was not extensive we were forced due to the damage and investigation to move the service to another location on the property. Since we were unable to get some music, mics, and other items, last minute changes were made to the planned order of service. Bible study classes could not meet due to part of the building being closed and the relocation efforts.
First, I was amazed at the focus of the congregation in chipping in at a moment’s notice to move equipment, chairs, tables, and other things to start the service on time. Amazing! Simply amazing!
Second, those involved in planning and leading the service got to work done to modify the service plan and we were ready with time to spare.
Finally, even though we were inconvenienced, I did not hear a lot of complaining or moaning. There were a few comments where some folks wondered how someone could do what was done. Such feelings are normal and natural.
By late Sunday afternoon arrests were made. Now comes the hard part … forgiving those responsible for the damage and inconvenience they caused.
Here are my thoughts … if one of my kids broke the house rules, they were consequences for their actions AND I always loved and forgave them.
I believe the same applies here … there are consequences for ones actions AND we, the church, must forgive and love those responsible. Christ has forgiven us of every sin we’ve ever committed or will ever commit. Because He has forgiven us of so much, we must forgive in the same way (Matthew 18:33).
I can’t wait until Sunday to talk more about this …