As I reflected on one silver lining of this deadly pandemic, my ability to work remotely, I decided to explore the other blessing which has emerged in the last 5 months for me: The Atlanta ministry of Rev. Damon P. Williams, Ph.D. Having attended his mid-week, Zoom Bible Study for months -virtually from NC- I’d never heard him preach a sermon. I stumbled onto a video of an anointed Sermon he delivered on relationships. Oh my God! It dovetails very well with his May 5th Bible Study, which I showcased in my last post – “Forgivemess: Hold Your Peace, Don’t Hold A Grudge”.
In this post I will excerpt ten powerful points made in Rev. Williams’ March 21st sermon. Relationships are not easy. After studying the importance of Christians forgiving others unconditionally (Matthew 6:14-15, Revelations 18:1 – 10), the challenging nature of relationships seemed self-evident. Along with my 10 excerpts of the March sermon, a video of the Sermon in it’s entirety will be shared.
- Sermon / March 21, 2021 / “Relationships Aren’t Easy”
- Jeremiah 31: 33 -34
- Senior Pastor: Rev. Damon P. Williams (bio)
- Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Atlanta GA
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 NRSV
When I first listened to this Sermon, a smile came to my face. The title of his sermon says it all: Relationships Aren’t Easy. There are six (6) points which stood out as key takeaways.
- “Sometimes we want from people things that God never intended for them to be able to provide”.
- People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. “If it is a relationship that God has called you to be in… trust that God will give you what you need for you to change“.
- “If you want to do relationships as God intended, you’ve got to be a [spiritually mature] adult, because relationships are for grownups”.
- “You and I don’t hold up the covenant [with God], because we are too busy accessing the quality and quantity of our needs being met, rather than meeting other’s needs”.
- “Relationships aren’t easy for people of faith, because oftentimes we look for reciprocity, rather than looking for responsibility”.
- “Relationships aren’t easy because we won’t own our responsibility for the forgiveness of the iniquities of other people”.
There are four other points that I gleaned from Rev. Williams’ sermon. They focus on:
- A Christian’s covenant with the Lord.
- The essential role of forgiving others.
- “[We must] recognize our covenant with God, to be formed to the image of God … to do that we must forgive”.
- “Brothers and sisters, this is not about what they are doing, it is not about what they aren’t doing, it really is about are you forgiving. Are you wiping the slate clean? Are you moving beyond the behavior? Are you moving past what has been said? Are you moving beyond what has been done? I acknowledge that you’ve got damaged emotions! I acknowledge you’ve got hurt feelings!”
- “Rather than taking on the [I will] posture of God, we end up assessing what the other person is doing – and saying I won’t”.
- Citing some of the things the world teaches, Rev. Williams went on to say: “But the Bible taught you that you should have never been on this Earth seeking a human being to do those types of things, because God said, ‘I will supply all of your needs’”.
Be it a marriage or a friendship, a Christian’s faith should affect how they relate to others. However, relationships can be hard at times. Like expecting an apology when someone has hurt you, expecting too much -even when you haven’t been hurt- is part of why relating is often challenging. For example, expecting a person in your life for a (limited) reason to be a ‘lifetime person’ is a recipe for frustration. For relationships that God has called you to be in, he will equip you to handle them – if you trust him.
- I now have a relationship with 2 churches and a job in the Midwest. Residing in Greensboro NC, I attend Bible Study in Atlanta GA (led by Rev. Williams), attend Sunday worship (virtual, New Jerusalem M.B. Church) in Winston Salem NC, & work for a firm in the Cleveland OH area. I’ve been divinely equipped!
Hopefully, my excerpts from Rev. Williams’ sermon, along with the video of his entire sermon, are food for thought – as you relate and forgive.
To God be the glory.
Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way