Tommy Cash - August 20, 2017

I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sin


Forgiveness is difficult – both as an internal experience and as an external movement to restore the social relationship that’s been broken. But to be the Church is to insist on forgiveness as essential to a fully human life. The journey of forgiveness is fueled by confession – an honest accounting of where we are before God. What does it take for us to be a people who insists on forgiveness?

From Series: "Believe"

What do Christians believe? The Apostles' Creed is one of the earliest statements of Christian beliefs. How does the Creed shape our church today? How does it shape our every day lives?

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When I was younger I may have been a difficult student.  In fact, several times teachers would sit me down in my first day in their class and give me the “talk” tell me their rules and expectations, in an attempt to move me in line.  Eventually the reputation thing stuck whether it was me or not I owned it.   Eventually I lived into my reputation and started fighting back.  

One Spring day, a day I will never forget, it was Sunny 80 degrees and this fifth grader the younger version of me was able to get a hold of some fireworks.  I had bottle rockets, black cats, and wizzers.  Being me and wanting to serve my fellow students I decided one day after school I would put on a firework show.  So we used the alley, since it was protected by large pine trees, it obstructed any view of me and my accomplices.   I had it all worked out, one friend was setting up the fireworks in the agreed upon order, while another was keeping lookout at the entrance, all the while, I was dancing through them madly setting off all the fireworks.  I was like a kid in a candy store there was nothing but joy all around me.

Then the moment we dreaded came, one of our teachers was headed our way.  I immediately sprang into action setting a trap in the entrance.  The trap was a brick of blackcats that could sometimes sound like gun fire.  In Hindsight this was most likely not wise,kind, or very well thought out,  but I was merely thinking of our escape and freedom from the tyranny of the school hierarchy.  The second she stepped in the entrance I lit the blackcats and ran.  I was able to make it to the end of the alley and watch as the teacher ran, slipped, skid her knees, and was otherwise terrified running at the school screaming.  Of course I had a good laugh at the time.

But in the weeks to come, I felt so guilty. The teacher missed work, had skinned her knees running, and was rightfully terrified.

So I did what good Catholics are taught when we sin, we go to Confession,  I told the priest and it attempted to teach me why this isn’t good and why I should not have done it.  So I took my assigned prayers and I moved on.  I tried to at least, but the problem was this quilt was just weighing on me.  I carried it with me like extra weight, nervous I would be caught, worrying about consequences that never came.

The issue here is, I knew I was wrong, so I did what I was taught, but how did that make the world a better place? How did I make things right with the teacher? Confession is meant to be a transforming practice.  The confession didn’t end my guilt, for weeks and months I felt horrible. This raises a few problems if this is how forgiveness was taught to me it didn’t really change anything.  The problem is the Hail Mary’s and the lord prayers that I said did not fix the

Let’s talk about forgiveness. How we forgive and how we help others forgive. Because the reality is, you and I can’t forgive without first learning how to confess.  We are going to talk about being honest with ourselves.  This helps us experience God’s forgiveness, which in turn helps us to be conduits of  forgiveness to others.  

Because we get it backwards, today I want to walk through confessing and how we can be more forgiving.  

Join us Sunday as we learn how to find freedom in forgiving those who wrong us.

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