Culture is the sum product of the behaviors that a given people value. If a group of people value hospitality, then their behavior will be marked by the many ways they express their hospitality towards others. If a people value generosity, then it will be obvious to all by the way they give of their time and talent and treasure to those in need. A culture will be known by their behaviors, and by their behaviors, the values of that people will be known.
January 12th, we will publicly launch Redemption Church. We will be a church that will be guided by our statement of faith, by our beliefs and values. But odd as it may seem, it is not primarily our values that we will be known for. People will primarily know us through our behavior, how we live alongside them and interact with others.
In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells a parable about an unmerciful servant. The servant was forgiven a great debt by his master- and he was incredibly grateful for that. But though he valued being forgiven, he strangely did not appreciate the value of forgiving others. Jesus minces no words here about how we are to respond when others wound us, when others offend us:
But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:28-35
Redemption Church will be a church that is made up of broken sinful people that will do broken and sinful things. But we will also be a people that bear the mark of redemption on our hearts, because Jesus has forgiven our sins. We should always be grateful for the grace and forgiveness He has given to us.
It is my prayer that the culture of Redemption Church be known the extravagant grace and forgiveness we show for one another, as that shown for us through Jesus. It is my prayer that the spoken values in worship gatherings and small groups manifest themselves by the way we live in relationship with one another, by the way we forgive one another. It is my prayer that God impress on our hearts and minds this constant reminder: we have been forgiven greatly. By God’s grace, may we be a people that surrenders offenses, that forgives greatly because we have been greatly forgiven.
This post was written by Chris Gray, Associate Pastor at Redemption Church.
–January 12th is a very big day for Redemption Church! Thank you for praying with us! For more information about the launch of Redemption Church and how you can pray for us, please click here.