Go and Mend Your FencesPastor Alisa Lasater Wailoo, January 28, 2018
Part of the Spirituality & The Twelve Steps series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
Have you ever been told to "go and mend your fences?" Well, just so happens that this old phrase originates on Capitol Hill. In the 19th century, it was a reference to a member of Congress returning to his home town to keep in touch with the voters and to look after his interests there.
As we continue our sermon series on Spirituality and the 12 Steps, we come this week to Step #9 that tells us to "make amends." And unlike mending fences, this step is not done to be political but rather for deeply personal reasons. Our gospel lesson for this sermon shows that our own spiritual connection to God is hindered or interrupted when we haven't done the interpersonal work with friends and foes.
That's a HARD word to hear from Jesus and yet a wonderful one. And have no fear, Sunday we will be real about why it matters so much, how hard it is especially when there is hurt in our own hearts, and about the pragmatics of making amends, when, how, when to, when not to, etc.
So come to this sermon ready to learn from God, the great builder, how to not simply “mend fences” (i.e. smooth things over) but to “make amends” and, in so doing, leave the possibility for true and beautiful restoration of relationships.
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2 Samuel 12:1-13
12:1 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (ESV)
11 A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
is a wise reprover to a listening ear. (ESV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (ESV)