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Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’

Once forgiven, I can still remember my sins — but God cannot!

There are several passages in the Bible that shows how deeply God’s mercy goes. Here at two:

Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Hebrews 10:17–18 says,  ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”

Obviously, God is all-knowing.

However, He chooses to not just forgive, but to forget our transgressions.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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Several years back, I was approached by my friend John “Rusty” Proctor to help him work out a problem.

You see, he had written a play titled Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama, and needed to get it ready for production. The problem: Every time Rusty tried to cut material from his play, he just added more pages.

Normally, I would’ve said no, but Rusty and I had become pretty close. In fact, I blogged about how we met earlier in the year.

The play was an amazing story about forgiveness, redemption and rebirth that followed the spiritual journey embarked on by a pastor’s wife after her husband, a man of unwavering faith and determination, received a vision to grow his church.

The rewrite took me some time, but I was finally done.

Excited, I emailed Rusty to let him know that I was taking a break, but I only had one more scene to go and that I should have a finished product ready by morning.

After taking a break, I hopped on my Macbook only to discover that the file that I was working on became “corrupted”.

I was devastated.

Somehow, I had to break the news to Rusty, who was patiently waiting to read the polished new script.

Thankfully, I remembered almost everyone of the changes that I made and emailed Rusty the changes a day late.

A few days after receiving the rewritten play, Rusty called me and asked to meet. Not only did he ask me thank me, but asked me to direct the stage play.

“I never directed anything before,” I told him.
“I never produced a play before,” he said.

Long story short, the play was a success, mainly because he and I were too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything.  Maybe that’s why, together, we took the next step.

“What do you think about turning this into a movie?” Rusty asked me as the curtains closed to applause on opening night.
“Already working on it,” I smiled.

I quickly adapted the story for the screen. Shortly after, legendary Television icon Demond Wilson came on board. Watch the video below to see what he had to say about the script.


(CLICK HERE if you have problems watching the video.)

For a while, I thought the film version of the play would never be made.

Finally, we returned to method that made the play such as success: Two dudes too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything. Rusty, the creator of the story and play, now has taken on the role of Executive Producer of Faith Ties and the movie is now in pre-production!

Check out the Faith Ties Go Fund Me promo…

(CLICK HERE is you have problems watching the video.)

The script has gone through several rewrites.

In one of the earlier versions, I wrote this sermon on Forgiveness. Like the original play, some scenes were cut while others were added. It seems, as a writer, some of your favorite scene don’t make the cut.

It’s not an easy process. But as they say in the biz, writing is re-writing.

Today, like the Extra Reel on DVD, cut scenes can now be shared. So, here’s a cut scene from the upcoming film Faith Ties. I call it “The Thing That God Forgot

I hope you enjoy it…

INT. BETHEL A.M.E. CHURCH – DAY

The Pastor preaches to the congregation from the pulpit.

                        PASTOR
In a small, secluded African community,

word quickly spread of a young girl who
believed she was talking daily to God.

Soon, members of the congregation stopped
attending Church. Instead, they would
congregate at this infant prophet’s house
to hear God’s Word straight from the
source.

News eventually reached the office of the
Bishop. Concerned that a young minister’s
congregation was no longer attending
Sunday service, the Bishop scheduled an
urgent visit.

Within days, the Bishop arrived to pay
the girl a visit with the intent of
returning the Church members to the pews.
However, before heading out, he asked the
young minister to hear his confession.

Finally, both the Bishop and the parson
arrived in the small village and entered
the young girl’s home and found her to be
just like any girl her age, playing with
her doll.

“Is it true, my child, that you speak
directly to God?” the Bishop asked.
“Yes, it is true, Your Eminence,” she
humbly replied. “He arrives the same time
everyday.”
“How convenient.”
“Oh, God is very convenient,” she glowed.
“Did you talk to God today?” the Bishop
asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Will you talk to God tomorrow?”
“If He wills it, yes,” she again
respectfully replied.
“When you talk with God tomorrow, can you
ask him one question for me?”
“Of course Your Eminence,” she submitted.
“What is the question?”
“Can you ask God for the list of sins I
confessed this morning. When I come back
tomorrow, you can tell me what God said.”

The young girl glowed and went back to
playing with her dolls.

As they returned to the rectory, the
young minister thanked the Bishop for
coming, but was confused how his short
visit will return his congregation to
return to his church.

The Bishop grinned.

“Surely, if she can’t tell me what I confessed to you
earlier today, she’s not talking to God
and YOU will again be able to tend to His
flock as you were ordained to do.”

The next day the Bishop returned.

Instead of speaking to the girl
privately, as he did the day before, he
questioned the girl publicly, for all to
hear.

“Did you talk with God this morning,
Child?” the Bishop queried.
“Yes, I did Your Eminence.”
“Could God tell you my list of sins?”
The girl paused and lowered her gaze to
the floor. “Sorry, Your Eminence, He
could not.”

The grin of the Bishop grew as the town
people returned to the young priest for
guidance.

“Please, Child, tell everyone listening
why could God NOT recall the sins I
confessed yesterday?” the Bishop probed.
“Because…”
“Because why?!”
“He already forgot them.”

The pastor pauses, then looks out at his parishioners.

                        PASTOR
He already forgot them!
(a beat)
Was this young girl truly talking to God
or not? I don’t know. But I do
recognize the wisdom in her final words.

God’s forgiveness is limitless! Clear!
Complete! And forever! Amen.

                   PARISHIONERS
Amen!

The CHOIR kicks into song. Pastor moves from the pulpit
to his chair as the MUSIC RISES and FOCUS on the
CROSS.

The moment after you faithfully say these three simple words: “I am sorry,” God forgets your sins — every single one of them.

That’s the thing that God forgets.

 

“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.”

Isaiah 43:25

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

If you like to know more about the movie Faith Ties, go to FaithTies.com.

Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama.

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Crossed hands with USA flag painted on fingers. Prayer for America.

Crossed hands with USA flag painted on fingers. Prayer for America.

I have to come clean.  The title to this piece is not solely my idea.

The first person I heard making the suggestion to stop saying the Lord’s Prayer, was my favorite theological apologist. If you know me, you know who I’m talking about.

His words hit a responsive chord.  Since hearing this surprising suggestion, I haven’t been able to let it go.

You see, most of us know the Lord’s Prayer, aka the Our Father, by heart.

We say it every Sunday in my Church. All gathered reverently stand. My family huddles closer together, hold hands, and lean into each other. A pew appropriate group hug, if you will.

Others reverently lower their heads, while some lifts their eyes towards Heaven, or hold their hands palm-to-palm, Dürer Betende Hände, or pray orans, with their hands extended.

But do we say it with heart?

Regardless of your posture, it appears that reciting the Lord’s Prayer has become kind of routine. Maybe too routine.

As I look across the landscape of America, I wonder if we, the nation’s congregant, are actually listening to the words we recite weekly?

If we were, I would expect more earnest appeal on bended knees and less people rejoicing and exceedingly glad.

Why?  Well, let’s consider these words:

… and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

In other words: Forgive me, Lord, in the same manner I forgive others.

That’s a pretty serious request.  One a person should not make lightly.

Sadly, most of us do without giving it much though.  Maybe it’s because most people today believe that God’s forgiveness is like His Love — unconditional.  Once saved always saved, to steal a line from my Evangelical brothers and sisters.

I’m about to tell you that it is not!

Yes, Christ gave many example of forgiveness. Heck, he was scourged, humiliated, betrayed, stripped naked, crowned with a diadem of thorns, and nailed to a cross — and still was able to forgive those who rebuked and reviled Him.   However, Jesus also gave clear examples how Our Father will forgive us on our Judgment Day.

Two parables quickly come to mind.

In Matthew, after telling Peter that we must forgive those who do us wrong seventy times seven, Jesus gave the frightening image of the kingdom of heaven with the parable of The Master and the Unforgiving Servant (Mt 18:23-35)  And in Luke’s gospel, Jesus again warned us about the consequences of being unforgiving with the parable of the Barren Fig Tree (Lk 13:6-9).

Let’s face it America. We don’t forgive jack! Retaliation is the new normal.

Don’t believe me? Go on facebook and twitter and post something positive on Trump or Hillary – and wait for the expletives fly!

Trust me, I am the furthest thing from being the poster child for forgiveness.  Maybe that’s why this unprecedented proposal made so much sense to me when it was first suggested that I stop saying The Lord’s Prayer.

So, America, please, I beg you, stop saying The Lord’s Prayer!

If you can’t, at least, try to stay silent when you come to the words “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

… Or better still: Start listening to the sacred words you are reciting and make a more earnest appeal.  I guarantee if you do, you will soon find yourself, on bended knee, in Paradise.

Yes, we are called to Love one another first.

But the truth is: We are all humans and we all make mistakes. That’s why we are also called to forgive.

Forgive not seven wrongs, but seventy times seven – and do so without keeping a tally.

If this suggestion hit a responsive chord in your heart, as it did mine, then let me make another suggestion.  One with more power and grace.

The next time someone cuts you off or post something that gets your goat, before you flip the bird or toss an F-Bomb, recite these six words: forgive those who trespass against us — and then truly forgive!

Together, let’s make forgiveness #theNewFWord! Pass it on.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

P.S. Listen to this rendition of the Our Father in Jesus’s native tongue
 

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