On Monday afternoon a Christian man drove around the city of Atlanta hunting down and murdering Asian women. On Sunday we will gather to worship our Lord and Savior and continue to recommit our lives to the way of Jesus, which is the way of forgiveness and grace. And honestly, I thought about canceling–not worship, but the forgiveness part.
How can we talk about forgiveness in light of what has happened this week?
And yet…how can we not?
Because if the Jesus way of forgiveness and grace is inappropriate this week, then it is irrelevant every other week. If it is not appropriate to worship and dedicate ourselves to the self-giving forgiving love of Jesus because of the murderous destructive rage of the shooter, then that means we believe that hate is more powerful than love.
And we don’t believe that.
Because Jesus didn’t believe that–and he laid down his life to show us we could trust him, even in the presence of violence, sin, and hate. And after he triumphed over sin and death, he filled us with his Spirit–and then he commanded us to forgive.
Forgiveness isn’t a part of the gospel–it IS the gospel.
I hope you’ll listen in to this message as we seek to understand and worship Jesus and the way of forgiveness, on this week of all weeks.