Sorry: Repairing Relationships with God (2018-1021)

. 4 min read

Oct 2018, Christ Mountain Top
the Psalm, Psalm 130
John 13.1-15
2 Corinthians 5.14-21
First week
      Initiative to apologize
      Initiative to start a difficult
conversation, even when not at fault
week, repairing relationships with those we love
Don’t count individual offenses and generalize a pattern
from them.
Give each other space in our comfort zone before pushing a
difficult conversation.
Remember your first love. Repent and do the things you did
at first.
with God
      Sin (our focus)
      Stuff (honorable mention)
first thing to notice is that, just as Jesus urges us to “first go and
reconcile,” even so Jesus does the same thing. He practices what he preaches.
      Washing the disciples’ feet
      “Unless I wash you, you have no part with
      “You are clean.”
declares Peter clean even BEFORE his denial that evening, three times, that he
even KNOWS Jesus.

after the resurrection, Jesus takes time to seek out Peter and have a private
conversation with him, a conversation that allows Peter to relocate himself in
the love he has for Jesus, a conversation that NEVER makes mention of Peter’s
wonder the apostle Paul declares, “There is now no condemnation for those who
are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8.1). This is the reason we quote Romans 5.8 in
our routine “assurance of pardon”: Hear the Good News. Christ Jesus died for us
while we were still sinners. This proves God’s love toward us.
too often, I hear people talk about coming to God by their own righteousness.
It is a conventional, common, and self-centered thing. “I hope I’m good enough
to get in.” “I think I’ve been a pretty good person.” It is self-centered in
our salvation, self-centered in our relationship with God. It all depends on
      The fact is that if you have failed once
you are forever a failure. If you have sinned once you are forever a sinner.
There is nothing we can do to wipe the record clean, nothing we can do to
expunge our guilt and shame. There is only one deeper, older, and
incontrovertible fact: We are God’s beloved.
      Far too often, I hear the other
self-centered explanation for our relationships with God: “God could never
forgive me for what I’ve done.” Maybe you have done something amazingly unique,
never before done in the history of the world, but I doubt it. Maybe you fear that
everyone in your class of sinners and failures is likewise condemned. But only
the devil’s schemes claim that our sin is greater than God’s love. And our
experience with other people who refuse to forgive us for comparatively petty
slights convinces us that God will behave in a similarly petty manner. But God
is NOT petty. God is love!
our main reading,
Corinthians 5:14-17
 For the love of
Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all;
therefore all have died.  15
And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for
themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.  16 From now on, therefore, we
regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from
a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.  17 So if anyone is in Christ,
there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has
become new!
once looked at Jesus from a human point of view, that is, we expected of him
the same petty behavior, the same grudge keeping, the same bitterness of
spirit, that we have experienced from others – whether an estranged family
member, a spiteful boss, an ex. They hold our failures over us, and everything
is our fault. That is not God’s way. God takes the initiative to reconcile us,
“not counting [our] trespasses against [us],” and God invites us to join God in
“the ministry of reconciliation.”
is why Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who
sin against us” (Luke 11.4). This is why Jesus tells the story of the king who
was settling accounts (a financial activity that is also known as reconciling) with
his servants. $10K versus $10B. (Matthew 18.21-35)
      When people refuse to forgive us, it is
far too easy for us to conclude that God behaves the same way.
      When we refuse to forgive others, we short
circuit God’s grace, even in our own lives. Living in reconciliation with God means
that we live in reconciliation with others. Yes, it takes two to reconcile, but
let us not be the one who is holding out.
… and stuff.
evils that we need to address in our relationship with God are not directly
connected to our sin. They are just evil, present and at work in this broken
world. They are the bad things that happen – the cancer diagnosis, the death of
a loved one, the unforeseen catastrophe, the end of a marriage or other
significant relationship. Every one of us has a list, and it may well run to
several pages. This week I was struck by an old one right out of the blue.
      Miscarriage. Lydia Rose.
to deal with God is like Peter’s initial protest: “Lord, you will never wash my
feet.” It closes us off to grace. It stops love in its tracks. Yes, we hurt.
And what we need most is the love and grace of God.
      For that matter, refusing to forgive
others, refusing to accept God’s forgiveness, works just like Peter’s protest:
“Lord, you will never wash my feet.”  
the love of Christ urges us on.… We entreat you on behalf of Christ: be
reconciled to God. Let’s get beyond our purely human view of others – as
friends or enemies. Let’s get beyond our purely human view of God – What have
you done for me lately? A pettiness in us, and in God, that simply has no
Come to the water and do your business with God.