Pastor Kelsey’s e-Letter 9-15-17

In eight years of ministry, I’ve lost count of the number of people who have come to talk to me or ask advice about a concern. But I do recall that the majority of those appointments were made at least in part to ask about one thing: forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the gate at the crossroads of any human relationship. When we are wronged or when we wrong someone else, the question of whether that relationship will continue or can be repaired hinges on one person’s ability or willingness to forgive the wrongdoing. In that sense, the ability to forgive is vital to meaningful relationships. And yet as often as we’re advised to “forgive and forget,” and as often as we are asked for forgiveness (or ask to receive it ourselves) we receive so little instruction on how to forgive. And, it turns out, forgiving can be a tough thing to do.
There’s also the question of whether forgiveness is even necessary if we decide we don’t want to continue a relationship. At that point, can we go on un-forgivingly to our heart’s content? Is there a limit to how much we are expected to forgive the same person? Are the answers to these questions different for Christians and non-Christians?
This week in The Bridge, our scripture will lead us to address all of these issues. In Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus how much we should forgive, and Jesus gives an unsettling answer. Then he tells a parable about forgiveness, inviting us to ask all of these questions and reflect for ourselves on the challenge that forgiveness poses for each one of us.
Join us this week as we set aside the simple adage “forgive and forget” to ask the deeper questions about forgiveness: how, and how often, and why we should or should not forgive. So much in our lives and in the world around us depends on the answers to these questions.
Pastor Kelsey