A Song of Forgiveness


Message Title: A Song of Forgiveness
Theme: Songs, Poetry, & Psalms
Season: Ordinary
Main Text: Psalm 119:137-144 OR Psalm 32:1-7
Scripture Reading: Luke 19:1-10
RCL Scripture: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; Isaiah 1:10-18; Psalm 32:1-7; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12; Luke 19:1-10
Focus: David seeks forgiveness because of conviction through God’s Word.
To consider apologies, forgiveness, and making things right with God and others.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 19:1-10 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus. Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.” Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One[a] came to seek and save the lost.”


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What is your favorite version of Cher? – yes this question assumes you enjoy SOME form of Cher. Just roll with it!
    1. Singer/performer OR Actor? Specific Era?  Las Vegas Cher? Tea with Mussolini!
  2. Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time (1989) – I was 2 when this song came out
    1. Ready for some irony? Her song about forgiveness offended people. This song is about apologies and making things right—her music video for this song offended huge groups because she performed on a Navy vessel in … less than clothing…
    1. PSA – NEXT WEEK IS DAY LIGHT SAVINGS “fall back 1 hr”

TRANSITION: Perhaps we are just as clueless as Cher’s producers planning the music video for If I Could Turn Back Time OR perhaps, we will be closer to the words of David today. Forgiveness is a difficult subject to broach, yet here we are- consider the tensions in your life where you may need to apologize or consider forgiveness. May God guide us on how to handle the hurt.


TEXT 1: Psalm 32:1-7 A maskil[a] of David. 32 The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy! The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty—in whose spirit there is no dishonesty—that one is truly happy! When I kept quiet, my bones wore out; I was groaning all day long—every day, every night!— because your hand was heavy upon me. My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought. Selah So I admitted my sin to you; I didn’t conceal my guilt. “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord, ” is what I said. Then you removed the guilt of my sin. Selah That’s why all the faithful should pray to you during troubled times,[b] so that a great flood of water won’t reach them. You are my secret hideout! You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of rescue! Selah
TEXT 2: Psalm 119:137-144 צ tsade 137 Lord, you are righteous, and your rules are right. 138 The laws you commanded are righteous, completely trustworthy. 139 Anger consumes me because my enemies have forgotten what you’ve said. 140 Your word has been tried and tested; your servant loves your word! 141 I’m insignificant and unpopular, but I don’t forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness lasts forever! Your Instruction is true! 143 Stress and strain have caught up with me, but your commandments are my joy! 144 Your laws are righteous forever. Help me understand so I can live!


  1. Psalm 32 (Offender)
    1. “maskil” – Of David, a maskil: The Sages said (Pes. 117a): Every Psalm in which “maskil” is mentioned was said through an interpreter. (Chabad.org)
    1. The Psalm does not give us any hints to the sin David is confessing-
      1. Bathsheba & Uriah? Maybe- he did confess to this after Nathan confronted him.
      1. His in action at his daughter Tamar being raped by one of his sons? No, he mourned the death of that son at the hand of another son.
  2. Psalm 119 (Offended vs 139)
    1. Another letter in Psalm 119 – continuing to praise God’s law
    1. “righteous” in Hebrew is also “justice”


  1. Regardless of WHAT David did wrong, God’s word convicted David. God wasn’t torturing David. Rather, he knew God’s character and God’s expectations and felt convicted.
  2. The beautiful thing? God forgave and freed David from his guilt. God didn’t abandon David even though David had been wrong. David admitted his guilt and God met him there.


  1. BACK TO INTRO: Cher’s song did not do a great job of acknowledging her ownership of actions that hurt someone else.
    1. Apologizing isn’t JUST saying “I’m sorry” and it definitely isn’t excusing away your words or actions.
    1. ALSO- Hurt people hurt people- however, this doesn’t excuse their actions.
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT:  Can we ponder the chain reaction of pain together?
    1. What happens when we cause an offense to God or our neighbor? How are they different?
    1. What does the healing process look like? What do consequences look like?
 God (Ps 32)Others (Ps 119)
Repentance/ApologyPrayer of confession: I’m sorry God. Forgive me. Here’s what I did wrong.How to Apologize & True Apology- SLIDES *below* 
Consequences/ForgivenessBecause of Jesus, we no longer have eternal consequences for our actions. (World’s perception & Zacheus)You may be forgiven but still pay the price of your actions- i.e. speeding ticket, parking fine, repay your friend, replace the broken item.

Acknowledging the two sides to hurt: hurting & hurt-er

  • When we need to apologize
    • We don’t get to decide when our words or actions hurt another individual. If someone says we hurt them, we did. Our intention doesn’t matter as much as the outcome. (Different than a misunderstanding).

When we receive an apology (Note: not WHEN we need to forgive)

You can choose to forgive but also not put yourself in the same situation to be hurt again.


  • Legal: if someone has embezzled money, they will not get a job handling money again.

Relationships: Abuse or Cheating or Lying

Caught in a lie- can be forgiven but not trusted with specific things until the trust has been built back up again.

CONCLUSION: learn from our wrong doings and turn back time.

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