Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I have been a bit overwhelmed the past few weeks. There is so much going on with the summer and everything and it is exponentially worse with a bunch of other things that are happening in the church and my life. In the middle of that God chooses to teach my some amazing lessons about forgiveness. A couple weeks ago I preached a sermon on forgiveness. It was youth night and I used the parable of the unmerciful servant. I need to get caught up on the backlog of CDs so I can upload it.

I have been trying to get internet down in my youth building for sometime now and recently purchased a wireless adapter for the computer down there. I setup a wireless router in a more accessible location and made a couple of parabolic range extenders. With all that in place I had a pretty good signal but was having some trouble getting the router to tie into the existing network. I did get it working once and did some updates on the computer before I lost my connection.

On Sunday I tried getting online during drama practice to find a song but it didn't work so I had to run to my office and get the song. Sometime after that and Tuesday afternoon my wireless adapter grew a pair of legs. I have limited the keys to the building and so my drama students and the worship band were the only ones in the building. I hate stealing and I hate lying. I don't have a budget to speak of so pretty much everything that wasn't covered by fundraisers I have paid for out of my pocket. It is a pretty large chunk of change and much of it has been for the drama team and the worship band. This offended me in a very profound way and I told them as much.

I still hope that the person that took it returns it. I personally think it is one of two people who were in the sound booth (where the computer is) on Sunday. Means, motive and opportunity being what they are makes them the most likely culprits.

The drama team is working super hard to get a human video ready for tonight and the student leader has been overwhelmed by her life lately. Last night the girls had a sleep over at her house and she ended up skipping out with one of her friends at some point in the evening.

When they got there for practice everyone was beyond tired and at maximum meltdown levels. My student leader wouldn't even look at me. I talked with one of my students about some things she was going through and later found out that the other girls led her to Christ last night. I honestly wanted to have a party right then and there. I mean fatted calf bbq and loud music kinda party.

Anyways, with the exhaustion and meltdowns I decided practice was over so they could get some rest. My student leader seemed mad at me so I pulled her aside and asked. She responded "who told you?" Next she seemed to realize I didn't say what she though and clammed up. I finally got it out of her that she got stoned and pretty much the entire drama team saw. She didn't want to tell me but I sat her down and let her pour it all out.

The whole time my heart broke for her. My heart broke not because of what she did but because of how much she was beating herself up. She kept say "I'm sorry" over and over. When she was done I had her look at me and I told her I forgive her.

I think that is powerful. So often people say they are sorry and we just say, "no big" or something like that. We need to stop brushing apologies off and honestly forgive one another.

Confession is powerful but grace and forgiveness is more powerful.

Maybe I should have made her pay for her transgression. She is a leader and those she should be leading saw her in that failure, but I think they needed to see grace more than anything else right then.

After a bit I brought her up before everyone else. She had already told them she was sorry but she felt like they all hated her. In her heart she would receive forgiveness, but we all learned something amazing today I think. I let her say she was sorry again and they collectively said, "There is nothing to forgive" or something to that effect. I stopped them right there and explained that forgiveness is very important and that they were wronged. Just brushing it off is not forgiveness. I told them that the only way to forgive her is to say "yes you failed me but I accept your apology and forgive you."

Maybe I'm too literal on this, but I think we need to stop pretending that offenses didn't happen. We need to take it for what it is and then apply grace that says, "you did wrong by me and I'm not going to make you pay me back, instead I will cancel the debt you owe me."

Anyways, we had a great talk about these things after and I believe that I learned as much if not more. As angry as I was with this group for wronging me, and as painful as that was it didn't compare to how my heart broke when one of my girls sat sobbing about failing me and everyone else.

I wonder if that isn't how God sees us. We hurt Him over and over but when we sit there sobbing over our failure He wants nothing more than to pick us up out of the mud and make us smile again.


Lianne said...

I know you will be blessed for extending God's unfailing grace and mercy to that girl. I hope she will learn her lesson.

Blessings to you!

jasonS said...

I like that. It's intentional on both parts- the one who needs forgiveness and the one who forgives. If we were more intentional and purposeful with forgiving, maybe this stuff wouldn't come back up later to cause problems.

Very good!

Lanette said...

So glad that you resonded this way, our kids need people like you! Thanks for loving them.

Kevin Cassidy said...

Your post said something deep that has been on my heart lately, that of how to offer forgiveness. In a culture that only sees self-righteousness and never righteousness, in a culture of faded-jeans-casual, it is very hard to truly offer forgiveness without either coming across as above the sinner (as if!) or come across as overly officious and formal. It looks like you are working towards getting both of them. Write the book for the rest of us when you do. :)

Praise be to God for how He puts these things on your heart and how He uses you to reach His youth.

Nick the Geek said...

Thanks, I learned something and I hope that the others learned something too.

I think we have made so much of our life disconnected and shallow. Ever notice that we say, "how are you" but really mean, "Hi/bye." I knew a guy that always answered, "Life could suck more but thanks for asking." He was shocked when I responded by asking what was going on. He said everything was fine but he just said that since no one paid attention. Most people, he said, respond, "that's nice," or, "Good, I'm fine too." Now apply that to pretty much everything else in life and it becomes clear why we have so many problems coming back and biting us in the butt.

Thanks. I think we all need more people who listen and we all need to listen more.

Kevin Cassidy,
I have been wrestling with "confess your sins to one another." I still don't know how to make it work right, but it seems like we prefer to hide our brokeness and so are never real. James seems to indicate that this is integral to our prayer life and seeing miracles. I think it is about community and family. Sharing faith and all that. So far I'm not in the book writing club though.

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