I was searching all week for the perfect song that might complement the message and help us respond in praise and obedience to God's Word. Doh! Found it a day late. Chalk it up to God's will. Thanks to Susan Vivas who posted this song on her Facebook Page. It highlights nearly every point I wanted to make, did so through song, and did so in under 4 1/2 minutes (I know, I know: "If only Pastor Ryan had found this earlier vs. 35 minutes plus spilling Harquail pond water on the stage").
The song is "Forgiveness" by Matthew West. Posting it here:
- It's the hardest thing to give away...help me now do the impossible. Check.
- And the last thing on your mind today. Check. One of the major reasons I showed clip of Mike Steenkamp (Reeva Steenkamp's uncle) extending forgiveness to his niece's killer (runner Oscar Pistorius). Because of the public spotlight & universal scope of the opportunity, it was easier for him not to miss his moment. But for us (and Jesus' audience in Matthew 5), the need to extend forgiveness is often the last thing on our minds and we, thus, so easily miss our moment.
- It always goes to those who don't deserve. Check. Hey, just like each of us - who are ill-deserving of Jesus' forgiveness.
- It's the opposite of how you feel. Check. Hence, replace feelings WITH ACTIONS and the story of my friend who mowed that dude's lawn even though his first inclination was to tear him a new one. Act and feelings will often follow.
- It takes everything, you just have to say the word. Check. When Jesus talks to his disciples about the power of forgiveness that He is entrusting to them (see John 20:22-23), the application for our lives is to actually speak these particular words: "I forgive you" versus offering a "no worries" - "no big deal" - "we're cool" response.
- It'll clear the bitterness away, It can even set a prisoner free. Check. "Unforgiveness is the poison we drink hoping others will die" to quote Ken Sande formerly of Peacemakers Ministries. Letting it go frees us from the poisoning.
- Help me now to give what You gave to me. Check. Ideally forgiveness comes as a natural response or overflow from considering, meditating on, cherishing, the forgiveness Jesus extends to us through his cross. "Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive" (Colossians 3:13).
Awesome stuff. I've already bought the song to remind me of my need to forgive and then re-initiate forgiveness when total recall (the old grudge, desire for judgment) springs up when I least expect it.