There are people who attend the same church I do who I went to high school with. That’s not a big deal in and of itself.
But some of them didn’t treat me very nicely in high school. And I’m sure I didn’t treat others as nicely as I should have either.
There is a church not too far from us that we like to visit. It’s a consciously diverse church –racially but also in many other ways. The senior pastor has said, a number of times when we’ve been there, from the pulpit,
“We’re all sinners saved by grace.” “I’m just a sinner telling you what God told me.”
It’s a really awesome concept to believe in. We as a church are a group of sinners. We don’t have to be perfect.
Because we won’t be. Not one of us. There’s too much pain, suffering, anger, lying and you name it to be perfect.
But God, through Jesus, forgave us all. God, through Jesus, forgave all that we have done and ever will do.
As long as we believe in Him, we’ve got a clean slate.
Because we’re part of God’s church.
And that, my friends, is a reason to celebrate.
But it’s also a reason to talk to others – the hurting, the homeless, the people who feel they have made too many mistakes.
And tell them that they can be part of God’s church too.
And no number of mistakes is too many. Not if the heart is changed.
But that also presents another challenge for God’s church. We need to be prepared and willing to welcome the “wounded” and the “weary” and the battle scarred into our churches. We need to be willing to welcome them into our families and give them the clean slate that God does.
And that’s tough.
But that’s “forgiveness of our sins…….”