True, but then there's Jesus
I need to share with you a happening to being what I believe God desires me to share with you today. It might be tough to follow and I encourage you not to jump to the end or get overwhelmed by each event but to see if you find yourself feeling the feelings I felt as I share with you what I was going through.
You see my uncle asked me to BBQ. He asked me through his Texas accent, “Billy” yes, my elder family members including early church family from my days in Union City are allowed to call me Billy. Will you BBQ this, It was a big slab of meet, ribs, huge chunks already ready to go but as I looked around there was all kinds of food everywhere. We were already eating a lot of food and he was asking me to BBQ and did I mention my Uncle is a Texan. That’s like Ms. Frances asking me to make torillas. I can’t do what experts do.
Ever get asked to do something you knew you were going to fail at by someone and totally want to back out but feel like you can’t. He said, the BBQ is all ready and I looked over and it was hot but weirdly there was a rack with coals on it that we’re already hot and I was supposed to take this other rack that the ribs were already on. He said in his drawl, “That’s how it’s done, just put er on it, and get cookin.” They left and I went to work. I had to use tongs because the coals were already hot, I could get easily burned and like I said I have never seen a BBQ set up like this but when in Texas do like the Texans. So I picked it up but I couldn’t get the stupid rack to sit right, It started to lean and caught the metal lip it was supposed to sit on. It was super heavy, Texans like their meat and everything is bigger than Texas you know. So I tried, I pulled back on my right arm, and thought I got it. I pulled up with my strength, and clank, bam, I fell back on the ground but the ribs flew into the air thowing BBQ sauce everywhere. My uncle’s little dogs came running and my uncle came walking up. I had already started attempting to clean up the BBQ sauce as it coated the counter tops to the floor. The dogs were already cleaning on the other side of the room. He looked at me with the saddest look. It wasn’t anger. It wasn’t frustration. It was despair, it was being sad but with total loss. He said, “well, we have other food.” I felt the utter complete failure of a person. I couldn’t even put ribs on. Here I was in the midst of a great family meal and I screwed up a great opportunity and my Uncle was just sad. I looked for the ribs to try and make this right, but they were gone. I got up and began to walk across the hall, back to my room, alone and began to cry.
And then I woke up.
I woke up but instead of realizing that this all a nightmare I began to think about all the people who I have failed. As a pastor there are many who I know I fail or failed, or I know they believe that when I called them they didn’t hear the right words; I wasn’t a big enough influence in their live, they actually told me how I wasn’t enough and I began to really cry.
Then I began to realize I don’t have to own those truths. God has given me a pathway through. The dream wasn’t true, did you notice the BBQ was somehow inside a house, come on dream that’s just dangerous and toxic. But the things it brought to mind right after I woke up where definitely true.
You know what it’s like though. You’ve failed. You’ve been in charge of something and broke it, lost it or just didn’t do it. We all have said the wrong thing, we all have done wrong. Sometimes purposefully and sometimes I just failed in not being excited enough for someone or showing them whatever emotion they wanted, just not being someone we are not.
There are truths from God that made me realize the hope, but we aren’t ready for them yet.
See, you ever get comforted by someone and they are telling you just nice things to make you feel better but you know it’s not true. “You’re pretty in your own way.” “We will get them next time.” What if there isn’t a next time? What if I want to be pretty in the way that the person I want likes me. These nicey’s are just talk, there is no hope there. I mean in my dream the ribs disappeared. Gone. Sometimes when we fail, there is no fixing it. It’s just gone. Another clue it was a dream. Texans BBQ brisket not ribs.
Perhaps today, you come completely aware that you failed. It’s big in your life. It is eating you up. You keep trying to be better but it isn’t going away. There is some huge failure or more likely a lifestyle.
Perhaps someone or some place in your life is reminding you over and over of how you much your life in addiction, or your bad response to hard times, the way you robbed, cheated or just went after others to get back at them.
Any adult in this room can realize that we have done wrong.
If you follow Jesus, than you aren’t going to lie to yourself and say it was ok. You aren’t going to lie to yourself and say that you were in addiction so it wasn’t your fault. You aren’t going to lie to yourself and say you just didn’t know.
I have failed. I know that.
I repented of my failures. I give my life to follow Jesus.
Then there is this
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,
No condemnation - No putting down, no judgement from God, no ripping apart. No yelling at you, no fire, no kiling off and removing things you love because of how you failed. No canceling. Nothing like others have done is from God.
For those in Jesus. When I accepted the love Jesus has for me, that He, God himself, came to us, lived showing the way to actually love God and love others, and showed us that He loves us so much that he died on the cross for my sins, and then he rose again. I know that and I chose to follow His call on my life, because of that all of that anxiety, all of that past is a forgiven. Not because of me but because of Him.
My brain was lying to me in my sleep about a silly failure that never ever happened, and then brought up all the people who blame me and those I really did fail. I am sure your brain can do it to you too, but you know what,
If you believe in the Lord Jesus there is no God who is seeking to punish you.
People may have opinions about me, but they don’t know me. They don’t know you, they don’t know why you did what you did. But God does, God knows exactly why you did it. How much responsibility you actually hold with it.
And God actually says to you, I chose to remember it no more. There is no condemnation for you.
Yet, you might feel that everyone is like that, people are often quick to forgive their own sins. That is true. They minimize sin. Say it wasn’t all their fault. Point to how much worse other people are.
Right, wrong, good, bad, the fact that you are horrible. I have friends who say, “I know right from wrong.” To define right and wrong takes something bigger than just what people say. It takes a government, or parents saying that is right and that is wrong. Parents can fail and all call wrong, right. But even governments can set up laws that are wrong. People know this, we recognize something like slavery is wrong, but laws said for a long time that it was ok. Because we know it’s wrong and we come to know it’s wrong means there is a God. A God who actually knows what is right, what is wrong. A God who knows the punishment that is coming.
Ever tried to tell a child or maybe even an adult friend to not make a bad decision. You knew that if they went with those friends, or start dating that person, took that drink, or talked that way, it was going to be completely and totally awful for them? Then the friend actually chooses to do it. You see the falling apart of their life?
God sees that with all of us, God is there when it all goes to failure, and God chose to come to us and put a stop to the punishment. God chose to pay the price for our sins. God chose to come and make it right.
We know there is a God because we know that we know there is a right and a wrong, we know that we did the wrong, because He told and showed us what is the right, and then amazingly, when all the punishment should actually be ours, God stated that if we believe
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
It comes down to belief. Faith, is not just rooting. I think the Chiefs will win this years Super Bowl but I won’t be betting on them. Nothing will cost me if I lose. Some teasing maybe, but who cares.
Since I have faith in God, I could wake up from that ridiculous nightmare and even the reality of all those who I have disappointed and say Jesus did it. I’m not condemned. I will not own what others have said to me. I will own what God has for me.
This is work. This is hard work, because accepting by faith, not just the idea that Jesus died on the cross for my sins but the actually implications, what that actually does in the real world is a much bigger deal.
1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. 2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. 3 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. 4 And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
If you believe Jesus! Than you are forgiven. If you believe Jesus than the years that you failed your family and friends is forgiven in Jesus. Will you accept that forgiveness. You can’t make it right, it’s already gone but God can. God did. It is done.
But some of you might feel a barrier, you can’t quite grasp the forgiveness God has for you. Jesus told us why
14 “For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.
Forgiveness is available to those who believe on the Lord Jesus and then we too can grant the same type of forgiveness to others.
It isn’t the only place
32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
My brothers and sisters Jesus as much as we love being forgiven by God. We are called on to forgive others in the same way.
In the same way. I already told you that the things I was reminded of at the end of my dream, the things from real life, they really happened and they were bad. The stuff you did was really bad. God never says they are ok.
You don’t have to say the things that happened to you are ok. Forgiveness is giving this pain to God. it’s letting God take care of it.
I love hiring someone to take fix something for me that I can’t fix. I got a new radio in my pickup truck because my old one stopped working. I could have broke everything trying to fix my old radio but I love it because I took the truck in to someone who could put in the radio. Now it’s done. It’s fixed. In the mean time I was doing things with my family, enjoying a great dinner and even for you my church family as I got things ready. Then the guy called, and it was done. I love when it’s done. it’s such a relief.
My friend’s God wants to do that with all the resentment, the anger, the pain, the energy you put into winning, God wants You to know He already fixed it. He can take all of that from us, We can trust Him to take the real wrong others did to us, when reminded we can just say that pain was for giving to God. I’m done with it.
He’s Got it and then we can own the overwhelming forgiveness of all the ways that we have failed others. We can own that God is not ashamed of us, but thrilled with us. We can have the strength to even go and ask forgiveness from others.