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Reveille United Methodist Church
Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
So far in our “Summer of Forgiveness” sermon series, we have discussed the spiritual, psychological, and physical effects of forgiving someone who has harmed us. In the second sermon, I discussed the mandate to forgive that Jesus issues where he compares what God forgives us for to an enormous debt, and how what we must forgive one another for is a much smaller debt. Both of these sermons were rooted in verses from Matthew chapter eighteen.
So to recap, forgiveness is good for us, which is important, since as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are required to do it, required to forgive.
However, as we all know, things are not as simple as this. Sin exists on a spectrum, with some sins being much, much easier for us to forgive than others. This is especially true when we consider the effects of sin. Steal from me, for example, and you can repent and give back what you took.
Yet some sins, many sins, have painful, lasting, if not permanent consequences for us. What about those things? How can we forgive the seemingly unforgivable?