Day Four at TeenStreet (TS) was all about forgiveness being an important part of our relationship with God and others. God’s forgiveness enables us to forgive others and ask for forgiveness ourselves.
“Imagine a throne on a remote island somewhere in the open sea that is 3,000 km away from the mainland. You want to get to this throne, but you can’t use a plane and it’s too far to swim. It’s impossible to reach the throne. This is a picture of our situation before God,” Rachel began.
“The Bible tells us that we aren’t perfect, and we do things wrong. Sin is a barrier like the ocean that keeps us from this perfect awesome God. But thankfully the story doesn’t end there. That’s why Jesus came, so we can be reconciled with the Father.”
This story shows how crucial forgiveness is for us and our relationship with God. It’s also for our own good.
“As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” - Colossians 3:13 (ESV)
Forgiveness is so important for us because it is so important to God. “It is about being released and releasing others to live life in freedom. It’s breaking the power something or someone has over you,” Ron explained.
But what can releasing someone look like practically?
Through a personal story from his life, Rich shared that forgiveness is a process: “You can’t forgive today and not do it tomorrow… It can be really hard sometimes because in that situation I thought, ‘If I forgive this person, it means it just erases it all. That it doesn’t matter anymore.’ But it is not our place to keep the burden. When we trust the Father with this, we can live in freedom.”
He encouraged the teens: “The Father wants to take it. He is strong enough to take it. He is gracious enough and willing enough to take it and release us so we can live freely in His grace.”
Ron explained that forgiveness is a kingdom principle, and by giving our pain to the Father and forgiving people again and again, it breaks down the wall of resentment brick by brick.
During NET time the teens looked at three different ways forgiveness can be experienced:
For Moni and Jana from Switzerland forgiving means to lay down all the hurts before God and letting go over and over again. Lara added, “For me, it means that I don’t let the negative feelings control how I think about the person that hurt me.”
For Karson (17) from the US, “Forgiveness means to overcome myself.” Peighton (14) said, “Forgiveness is a way to grow spiritually and a way to grow CLOSER to God. It is a process of really trusting Him. It doesn’t matter if the people that hurt you care or feel bad, it is about releasing that hurt.”
Two teens (both 17) from Ireland shared what struck them in Main Hall today:
Ciaran said, “What hit me was the concept of understanding why this perfect God forgives us and why He is SO loving that He forgives us even we don’t deserve it.”
Alex shared, “What stood out to me was the fact that He has forgiven us first so that we are able forgive. If we’re not releasing people, it can create a barrier between you and God.”