Jesus was right.
That sounds strange; except, maybe, to mainliners who are still trying to figure out just how, uh, divine He was/is.
Anyway, Jesus said, in effect, grudgeholders are gravediggers; and the only graves being dug are their own.
If you're a mainliner and need some help, try Matthew 6:12, 14-15.
I thought a lot about that during the middle of this week as I returned to the site of my last adultery to preside at a memorial service.
I was overwhelmed by the genuine affection and affirmation extended to me; not only by the deceased's relatives but also by the exceeding graciousness of my successor and old friends in the church.
Truth is I could have toughed it out and stayed.
There were only a handful of reprobates who just don't get the redemptive intentions/challenges/demands of Jesus.
Yeah, I saw one of 'em.
I went over to him, hugged him, and forgave him as I asked him to forgive me.
He couldn't look me in the eyes.
I had to go and track him down because he kept trying to avoid me like those folks who feel so guilty about their irregularities towards ya that they sneak around and try to avoid ya and...
Be that as it was and is and should be, I have some regrets about my sins but no doubts about His enlightening/educating/ameliorating providence.
It's a Romans 8:28ff. thing.
My successor said some really nice things about me to me; and I realized the minority who always hate their pastors for, usually, sick transferred unchecked pathological reasons should never be confused with the majority who know their pastors ain't as good as their mommies say nor as bad as the, again, sickos advertise.
I recalled some of our family of faith's pillars who embarrassed me last Sunday while greeting folks after our third service.
She said, "Oh, Pastor Bob, I'm so thankful that you're our pastor."
He said, "You're the..."
I won't complete that last line because it was really embarrassing and would/will be misinterpreted by one or two...
You know what I mean; and if you don't, you're probably one of those...
Parenthetically, those precious moments kinda make up for the "stories" of folks who are always sweet to my face and...
Getting back to the first sentence of this section, I called a pastor who is really feeling beat up at the moment by the minority of sickos in his/His congregation.
I said, "While it's too bad that your board won't take on the ___s, you'll survive if you want to survive because the overwhelming majority of folks really like you and appreciate you being their pastor. Yeah, I know just a few fleas can make a big dog itch; but that's no reason to cut and run. And if you need some inspiration for hanging in there, think about Jesus."
I don't know if that last line was very helpful; especially considering the, uh, crucifixion.
Speaking of crucifixions, a pastor from Long Island - that's the island next to the home of this year's American League and eventual World Series Champions for folks in Boston - wrote, "What does it say about America when we proclaim that a man who got kicked out of Harvard, was known as a boozer and womanizer, was negligent for not reporting the death of a woman drowning in his car after a night of partying and porking, was an advocate for the IRA, conspired with the Soviets to defeat President Reagan, would have never been elected if his criminally wealthy family did not run the Massachusetts mafia, and would have never been elected if his three older womanizing and boozing yet smarter brothers had not died tragic deaths in service to our country was one of the most powerful and influential Senators in USA history?"
Tell me how you feel!
Ted Kennedy is dead.
While I'm put off by the shamelessness of his party that's being exposed as they use his death to promote the health deform stuff coupled with the way left's idolizations, I'm not into demonizing him either.
I've always felt he was just a guy without any real principles who had a lot of fun who also proved Massachusetts is brain dead; kinda like Pennsylvanians who keep electing that Arlen guy and mainliners who keep feeding the beast with $ that ends up being used for stuff so antithetical to Biblical Christianity.
Getting back to Jesus which is usually better than navel-gazing, I've been increasingly struck by some of His last words from the cross, "Father, forgive them! They're ignorant! They don't know what they're doing."
That's really helped me as a pastor.
That's really helped others with me; as I discovered again when I went back to the site of my last adultery.
My favorite devotional writer in Oklahoma nailed it/Him/us: "Our God is a mercy lover! He is surrounded by an emerald rainbow, a symbol of the covenant of mercy...His mercy endures forever...Sadly, many people, even Christians, pursue revenge instead of mercy. They find great difficulty in releasing the offender into the hands of God, and hold on to the offense as if holding on would give them the peace and justice they desperately seek. They haven't realized the goodness of mercy or perhaps have failed to experience the freedom mercy delivers."
She continued, "Some people, even Christians, see God as an angry God who sees our every wrong act and is ready to execute judgment...But the mercy of God is limitless and always abounding for those who have a repentant heart."
Then she delivered the TKO: "We all need mercy, and we certainly all want mercy...Mercy frees us from condemnation and liberates us to walk in the fullness of His love. Jesus offers mercy instead of judgment, forgiveness instead of condemnation, and acceptance instead of denial...Be like Him...Be a mercy lover and ask Him who showed you mercy to help you offer mercy to those who hurt your heart!"
I've really been into offering forgiveness to and asking forgiveness from folks who can't look me in the eyes or try to avoid contact with me by sneaking around because of their continuing sins against me or inability to forgive me for my sins against them or, uh, whatever.
I confess part of my deal is a Romans 12:19-21 thing.
It's kinda fun.
I'm not perfect like some who pretend what's impossible.
But, prayerfully, it's more related to the first section of this KD.
Moretheless, I'm amping up the program!
I've decided to declare a personal program of amnestia.
I've already forgiven anybody who's sinned against me here, there, or, uh, anywhere else.
Go back to those words from the cross.
But I'm sure there are people who are convinced that I've sinned against them and they need/want/expect/lust to hold me accountable.
So here's the program!
I will be on line from 7:00-11:00 a.m. on Monday (August 31) for anybody to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to level their charges and give an opportunity to me to confess to them in a repentant kinda way and ask forgiveness and vice versa.
That should work for those who don't live within a few blocks or who can't look me in the eyes or...
For those who really want to get up close/confrontational/personal, I'm gonna camp out in the chapel on Wednesday (September 2) from 5:00-6:00 p.m. for anybody to...
I feel much better already.
As a buddy in street ministry likes to say, "You can't fix what you won't face!"
I just thought of something.
I'll probably have to do this all over again a lot sooner than later.
I guess nobody gets past the need for the Savior now or then and surely in the end.
Blessings and Love!
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