After leading worship in the Coffee House service at North Ridge Community Church, we stayed to listen to a fantastic sermon by NRCC’s Youth Pastor Jon Kragel. What an awesome treat! This was the first time either of us had heard Pastor Jon Kragel speak and we were truly blessed by both his sermon content and delivery.
Pastor Jon was giving the second sermon (“Forgiving Others”) in a three-part series called “Only GOD Forgives – Really?” The sermon was rooted in Matthew 6:12-15 and Matthew 18:21-35. (Click here to watch Part one by Pastor Dan King “Why Can’t I Forgive Myself?”)
He began to teach the congregation about forgiving others by first outlining what forgiveness is NOT.
Pastor Jon Kragel also highlighted the fact that forgiveness is NOT the same thing as TRUST. Forgiveness is the first step towards reconciliation but is not in and of itself the same thing as reconciliation. Forgiveness must be given first, then trust can begin to be rebuilt.
He then went on to tell us what forgiveness is:
In conclusion, Pastor Jon let us know how to apply Biblical Truths to know how to forgive others:
By looking at Matthew 6:14-15, we learn that we NEED to forgive others in order that God’s forgiveness of us is ensured.For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Wow. There is no doubt the IMPORTANCE GOD PLACES ON FORGIVENESS!
This is a topic that we both feel strongly about. After all, if it weren’t for the way Jesus dealt with Jacki regarding the issue of forgiveness, we wouldn’t be married today. In fact, when we debut Living Life 180 radio show on August 24th at Noon, we’ll be focusing on love and forgiveness as we tell our story of before and after Jesus.
SO…this message seemed extremely timely for us.
One of the biggest takeaways was that God forgives us AS we forgive. We were thinking…that INCLUDES how we forgive OURSELVES for our shortcomings and sins. So it isn’t just “a good idea” to forgive ourselves…it’s actually REQUIRED of us. That’s huge!
We also had something reinforced that we were just talking about over dinner with good friends. We had a conversation about showing grace and mercy in a situation that…in our humanity…we would want to be bitter about, unforgiving, and demand what’s RIGHT. BUT what good does that do? We were talking about the fact that when we choose to forgive and show grace and mercy, we model Jesus. And that opens the door for others to SEE JESUS in us! Since you NEVER know what will be the thing that God will use to open the door to someone’s heart, that means any chance to model Jesus is a potential eternity-changing moment for someone.
Both of us also connected to the fact that Forgiveness DOES NOT equal trust. In fact, it isn’t recommended that forgiveness automatically equates to trust. This is a great point to remember.
Finally, we took away what Pastor Jon had to say about Scars:
Scars might describe your past, but they DO NOT determine your present and they DO NOT dictate your future.
Here’s the link to the full sermon on North Ridge Community Church’s website. Also, we found this little 2 minute clip of Pastor Jon Kragel preaching…enjoy!