Dear Church Family,
Last Sunday was the second Sunday of our latest sermon series “All In.” If you missed the sermon you can listen to it here.
The topic was what happens when Jesus is invited into our failures. What happens when we allow Jesus to create change and transformation in the areas of our lives when we know we have failed or are failing?
The last hymn we sang at the 9am Classic Service was Amazing Grace. This reminded me of what a past mentor once said to me.
When I was a recent college graduate I had a fantastic mentor in Lynne. Lynne was an Associate Pastor at the church I attended. I confided in Lynne about a hard conversation I knew I needed to have with a colleague. I wavered back and forth about whether or not I was making too big of a deal out of nothing or if I needed to show more grace to this person even though they constantly said hurtful things. Lynne then said something to me that I’ve never forgotten:
“I hear your concern that you need to be more gracious and that’s fine. But remember: Grace is hard. Grace shows forgiveness when it’s not warranted, but by doing so highlights the seriousness of our wrong doing.”
God’s grace humbles us because it highlights how unworthy we are of his forgiveness. And yet…God forgives us anyway just as Jesus forgave the adulterous woman and the experts of the Law. But it’s not as if we are simply “off the hook.” Jesus invited the woman to leave behind a life of sin. We are invited to do the same, but we are first invited to take a hard look at why we’ve failed. What or whom do we trust more than Jesus Christ? What or who takes/receives our commitment and loyalty rather than God? For the experts of the Law it was their need for power. It’s not just our sin that is the problem, but the reasons for why we may continue to make decisions that result in further distancing ourselves from God.
The good news is that we aren’t alone in taking a hard look at ourselves. Just as the adulterous woman was left standing alone with Jesus Christ, he also stands with us even when we’ve been caught in the act. He desires to free us from the sin and darkness that enslaves us and keeps us from living with him in the light. It won’t be easy and will be downright painful. But it will be worth it in the end as we will experience more deeply God’s grace and forgiveness and with that find out who we truly are: God’s children who he dearly loves and who he will never fail or abandon.
Kristine Aragon Bruce
Associate Pastor for Family Ministries