I want to talk about forgiveness this morning focusing on Jesus last words on the cross, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” I am getting some of my inspiration today from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book, Strength to Love. I will try and give credit when I am using his thoughts, but may forget at times. If you hear me using words like “nullification” and “interposition” you can be pretty certain the words did not come from me. I want to share with you an incredible story about a 24-year-old young man. It's a story of forgiveness, redemption and hope. It's a story that connects us with the essence of life. What this story reminded me of, is that though the life of this young man was marked by unspeakable violence and terrible loss, his life is also an inspiring story of hope, resilience, and strength.
Today I want to talk about gently and humbly bringing our brother or sister back to the right path not being judgmental, but out of a caring attitude or “care-fronting”. I am not sure that this is a real word, but it is a word used by David Augsburger in his book Caring Enough to Confront. When I was in V.S. we were required to read this book, though at that time it’s title was, The Love Fight. At the yearly V.S. retreat, David Augsburger was the guest speaker. He endeavored to help us have more healthy V.S. units; by helping us get to the bottom of issues and work toward reconciliation, rather than fracturing over disagreements. Ignoring issues that came up as twenty year olds shared the same house, was not healthy in the long run, but neither was becoming judgmental. How do you work through differences or shortcomings in a healthy way. Paul in Galatians would say that we start by gently and humbly addressing our brother or sister’s falleness recognizing how easily it could be us in their shoes. The goal here is compassionately restoring our brother or sister, not judging them.