Grounded in heritage: Reaching out with the love of Jesus


Pastor Rosemary and Joe

Partners in Ministry

Heart Forgiveness 5, Asking Forgiveness, Forgiving Our Self October 15, 2017

October 13th, 2017

Heart Forgiveness 5

Asking Forgiveness; Forgiving Our Self

Romans 8:1-4 & Matthew 5:23-24

(Quoted Scripture is New Revised Standard Version)


Today is the last sermon in the series Heart Forgiveness, based on Desmond Tutu’s, The Forgiving Book. We’ve learned over the past 5 weeks how important it is to forgive the people who have hurt us with words or actions. We’ve learned that Jesus tells us to forgive over and over again, and he tells us this for our own good. Unforgiveness hurts us, not the one who harmed us. Desmond writes, “To forgive is grace. To forgive is a gift we give to ourselves. To forgive someone for the wrong they have done to you, takes honesty, open mindedness, and a willingness to try. To forgive another does not depend on them and it is not for them. It is for you.”

Unforgiveness causes us emotional, spiritual and even physical illness. To forgive is not a weakness, but rather a strength we pray for and receive from God. Forgiving someone who has hurt us may not be easy and it may not happen quickly, yet it is worth our effort, even if we have to do it, over and over again.

We have learned that as we proceed through trying to forgive, it is important to tell the story and name the hurt. When we tell our story to someone we trust to keep our confidence, we may discover that some of our memories have become distorted, and discovering the true facts will add clarity to the actual hurt. We may discover we had some part in what we had experienced. When we are able to forgive the person who hurt us, we then have to decide whether to seek reconciliation and renew our relationship with that person, or whether it is better to release that person and our relationship with them.

For four weeks we have been addressing the importance of forgiving others who have hurt us. Today we will address the fact there are times when we do things that hurt others, and we have to ask forgiveness from someone we have harmed. We then have to forgive ourselves, which may be very difficult. Just as forgiving others is important to our emotional, spiritual and physical health; asking forgiveness from someone we have harmed and then forgiving ourselves, is also vital to our emotional, spiritual and physical health. It is important to forgive others, be forgiven and forgive ourselves, to break the chains of unforgiveness which bind our hearts and souls; to experience the healing power of true Heart Forgiveness.

I realize this series is not for everyone here, however, there are some who have come to me and said, ‘This is exactly what I needed to heal from the pain I have experienced because I have not forgiven someone who hurt me.’ This series is also posted on the church website, just in case you may find yourself suffering from the heart and soul pain of unforgiveness, sometime in the future.

Asking for forgiveness: In The Forgiving Book we read, the three simple words, “I am sorry,” are the words which can be the bridge between spouses, siblings, parents, friends, and even acquaintances we may have hurt with our words or actions. It is important that we are courageous enough to say them, vulnerable enough to mean them, and humble enough to repeat them as many times as necessary.  When you apologize, you are restoring the dignity that you have violated in the person you have hurt. You are also acknowledging that the offense has happened. You are taking responsibility for your part in causing harm. When you apologize with humility and with true remorse for hurting another, you open a space for healing. If you are not able to say, “I am sorry” to the person because they have died, you can write them a letter that you bury or burn.

For many years my pride would prevent me from saying, ‘I am sorry’ to people I had hurt. Then I discovered when I humbled myself and said those three words, ‘I am sorry,’ and I said it from my heart, I experienced a freedom of heart and soul, I hadn’t experienced before! Do not let your pride get in the way of saying ‘I am sorry,’ to someone you have wronged. Free yourself from guilt and shame. If not for someone else, do it for you.

In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus teaches, “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that you brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”

In other words, do the right thing, before you ask God to bless you. Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of the stories Desmond related in The Forgiving Book was the story of Kelly Connor. When Kelly was seventeen, she was driving her dad’s car in Perth, Australia. It was her sister Jayne’s twelfth birthday. Jayne was with her and they were going to celebrate later in the day. Kelly writes she was going on holiday with her friends in a few weeks. Life was wonderful and she was a happy teenager. Then tragedy struck. Kelly accidentally hit and killed seventy-year old Margaret Healy as she was crossing the street.

Kelly writes, “I was going too fast up a hill and looking in my rearview mirror. I crested the hill and I didn’t see her until it was too late. I remember her look of horror. She was old, but she tried to run. She was fighting for her life. I didn’t set out to kill her, but I took her life. It was an accident, yes, but I was responsible.”

The police at the scene recorded that Kelly was only going thirty-five miles per hour, when she was actually driving forty-five miles per hour. They gave her a break. Her mother passed an edict at home that they were never to speak of the incident again.

Kelly writes, “My name was in the paper, but I couldn’t mention my shame, my fear. I lived in terror and anxiety for years, believing the police were going to come and take me away to the cells. When I slept, I had nightmares where demons and angels did battle for my soul. I was confused about how to go on living, why I should be allowed to go on living. I felt completely alone and completely lost, disconnected from the world around me and cast out by all who were supposed to love me. I didn’t think, I was worthy of having a life because I had taken a life. There was no safe place or safe person to speak to about how I felt. It seemed as if there was no room in the world for a young girl who had done what I did and felt as I felt; shame, dread, pain, guilt. – I couldn’t ask for forgiveness nor could I forgive myself.

Kelly tried to commit suicide, was locked up in a psychiatric hospital and kept her shame and her secrets locked inside of her for decades. It took Kelly thirty years to admit the wrong and break the silence imposed on her by the police and her mother.

Almost immediately, Margaret Healy’s family forgave seventeen-year old Kelly Connor for the road accident that killed Margaret. Decades later, Kelly still struggles with forgiving herself.

Kelly writes, “My entire life was defined by that one afternoon. I know Margaret’s family forgave me. I believe Margaret herself forgives me. Most days I believe I have forgiven me. If this had happened to a friend, I would have told them, ‘Accidents happen. Forgive yourself and move on.’ I guess we are hardest on ourselves. I know I am.”’

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome about forgiving, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (vv. 1-2)

          When we ask forgiveness from Jesus Christ, we stand forgiven through His grace. Whether we have received forgiveness from the one we harmed or not; we are forgiven. 2 Corinthians 5:17, tells us, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

You have an insert in your bulletin with another ‘Prayer for our heart’ and some stone exercises to do.

I pray that this series on Heart Forgiveness has helped the people God gave it to me for. Or that this series has helped someone you know who has been suffering the debilitating pain of unforgiveness for others or for themselves.

PRAYER: Loving and powerful God, I pray that whoever this series was for has experienced true Heart Forgiveness. I did your will, Father, now it is up to those who have received this message. Soften their hearts that they would received healing and wholeness of body, mind and spirit. AMEN


Pastor Rosemary DeHut                                                                                                                                                                                      October 15, 2017



Reference: Tutu, Desmond & Mpho, (2014). The book of  forgiving; the fourfold path for healing ourselves and our world. Harper-Collins e-


Note: Because this is an e-book, I cannot reference the page numbers of the quotes. All

the ideas and some of the illustrations for this sermon series come from this book.


Prayer for Our Heart 5

from The Forgiving Book by Desmond Tutu


I am sorry

How many deaths have those words died?

They were stuck in my throat

They melted on my tongue

They suffocated before they met the air

I am sorry

The words crouch on my heart

And they weigh a ton

Could I not just get on with it, say I’m

sorry and be done?

I am sorry and I am not done

I am sorry for the hurt I caused

For the doubts I inspired, for the sadness

you held

For the anger, despair, suffering, and grief

you endured, I am sorry

There is no currency with which I can

repay you for your tears

But I can make amends

And I do mean it when I say

I am sorry


I am generous to you, and miserly to me

I can banish the harm you caused me from the smallest corners of my heart

It has no root or residence in me

But the deed I have done

Fills me with shame and pain

I cannot make myself whole again

I cannot forgive myself

If my tender heart is truly there for you

It must be tender for me too

Soft and yielding

Kind and forgiving

I must allow myself to come face-to-face

With my own humanity

I can break free




Setting Down the Stone

from The Forgiving Book by Desmond Tutu


  1. For this ritual you will need a heavy stone. You want to feel its weight as burdensome. Walk with this stone some distance to a private place
  2. Admit to the stone what you have done. Then tell the stone the anguish you have caused. Then apologize to the stone and ask forgiveness. You can imagine the person you have harmed in your mind’s eye, or ask God for forgiveness
  3. Decide what you can do to make amends to the person you have harmed or how you can help others. Then set the stone down in nature
  4. In your journal write what you have done wrong. Tell the truth and list the facts of the harm you have caused
  5. Examine in your heart how your words and actions have harmed the other person. Write sentences that begin with “I am sorry for…”
  6. Write the following sentence and finish it: “I would understand if you are not able to forgive me now but I hope you will be able to forgive me someday because……”
  7. Renewing or releasing the relationship. Write ideas for how to renew the relationship, and how you will feel if the person chooses to release their relationship with you.


The Hand of Mercy


  1. Find a small stone that fits in the palm of your hand
  2. Hold it in you left hand. This is the hand of judgement
  3. For each item on your list of things you need to forgive yourself for, transfer the stone from your left hand to your right hand. This is the hand of mercy and forgiveness. Return the stone to where you found it.
  4. Write in your journal a list of all the things for which you need to forgive yourself.
  5. Write a list of all that is good about you. Look at yourself through the eyes of God, as His child.
  6. Look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and see the beautiful person you are in the eyes of God. Say to this child of God. “I love you________(Your name).








By: Ironwoodumc

October 13th, 2017

Heart Forgiveness 4, October 8, 2017

October 9th, 2017


Heart Forgiveness 4

Renewing or Releasing the Relationship

(Quoted scripture is New International Version)


Scoie Green from Texas writes in the Upper Room devotional for September 13, this about forgiving and renewing a relationship.

“Throughout my childhood I knew little more of my father than his name. One night I began to ask God for direction. As I prayed, I began to think of forgiveness and the importance of honoring my parents. I realized that my fear of rejection had robbed me of the opportunity to experience the joy of a healthy father-daughter relationship. My inability to forgive fueled by negative perceptions was preventing reconciliation.

I picked up the phone many times but never made the call. I continued to wonder whether it was the right time and worried that I would be judged for not reaching out sooner. So much time had passed, and we had both missed out on important milestones in each other’s lives. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel if one of us passed on and never got the chance to say, “I love you.” With that in mind, I called him. After 34 years of separation, I finally got to reconnect with my father.

Our relationship has improved. We communicate nearly every day. My father and I are both grateful for the opportunity to witness the power of God in our lives. This new chapter has helped me to know that God has the power to make all things new.” *

For some of us, this story could be ours.

If this story is yours, I encourage you to pick up the phone

and call the family member who did you wrong.

The saddest thing I witness at funerals, are family members who realize that what they were so angry and hurt about, becomes a very small issue when they understand they will never have a chance to see their family member again this side of heaven.

We have been doing the Heart Forgiveness series based on Desmond Tutu’s The Forgiving Book. We’ve looked at why it is important to forgive the people who hurt us, because God tells us to! Jesus told Peter in Matthew 18:22, “Do not forgive just seven times, but seventy times seven.” In other words, there is no limit to how many times we should forgive the people who hurt us.

We’ve also learned that unforgiveness when pushed deep down inside of us, causes emotional, spiritual and physical illness.

We’ve learned that when we choose to forgive, it is not a weakness but rather a strength which God will give to us if we ask.

We’ve learned forgiveness may not happen quickly, and that our forgiving someone does not mean they will not experience the consequences of their actions.

We’ve also learned that forgiving is not forgetting. Someone emailed me to say, ‘God forgives and forgets our sins, shouldn’t we do the same?’ It does say in Isaiah 41:25, ‘I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.’ Hebrews 10:17, “And their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.” I believe God will remember no more our sins when we repent, however, we are not God. I have discovered that it is easy for people to say they forgive and forget, when they’ve been hurt. It is much more difficult to actually do it. Unless they have gone through the steps of dealing with the hurt, that hurt will rear its ugly head in one way or another.

We’ve also learned that forgiving is not easy, we may have to really work at it; and the importance of telling our story and naming the hurt. In the actual telling of the story to someone we trust, we may find that some of the memories have become distorted, and telling the true facts will add clarity to the actual hurt. We may even discover we had some part in what we have experienced.

Today we will learn how important it is to grant forgiveness and decide whether to renew the relationship with the one who did us harm, or release that relationship.

Desmond writes in The Forgiving Book, “We choose forgiveness because it is how we find freedom and keep from remaining trapped in an endless loop of telling our stories and naming our hurts. It is how we move from victim to hero. A victim is in a position of weakness and subject to the whims of others. Heroes are people who determine their own fate and their own future. A victim has nothing to give and no choice to make. A hero has the strength and ability to be generous and forgiving, and the power and freedom that come from being able to make the choice to grant forgiveness.”

He goes on to write, “We are able to forgive because we are able to recognize our shared humanity. We are able to recognize that we are all fragile, vulnerable, flawed human beings capable of thoughtlessness and cruelty. We also recognize that no one is born evil and that we are all more than the worst thing we have done in our lives. A human life is a great mixture of goodness, beauty, cruelty, heartbreak, indifference, love, and so much more. We want to divide the good from the bad, the saints from the sinners, but we cannot. All of us share the core qualities of our human nature, and so sometimes we are generous and sometimes selfish. Sometimes we are thoughtful and other times thoughtless, sometimes we are kind and sometimes cruel. This is not a belief. This is a fact.”

One of the best examples of our humanness and the ability to be good or bad, is the example of Peter, Jesus’ disciple. Jesus is with his disciples around the table at the Last Supper, the meal we base our communion on. He has shared that he is going to leave them. Peter declares he wants to go with Jesus, that he is willing to lay down his life for him.

John 13:38, Jesus says to Peter, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” The first denial came to a servant girl who asked Peter if he were one of Jesus’ disciples. Then in John 18:25-27, “As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” Again, Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.”

At that time Jesus chose to be the victim. Later Jesus would choose to become the hero.

Jesus chooses to forgive Peter for denying him, and in John 21 we find the resurrected Jesus cooking breakfast for his disciples on the beach. After breakfast Jesus takes Peter aside and asks him, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again, Jesus said, “Simon son of John do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Some say that Peter’s declaring his love for Jesus three times, was to nullify denying him three times. I see here a beautiful beginning of a new relationship between Jesus and Peter. Peter’s declaration of love for Jesus, and his belief in Jesus being the Son of the one true God, became the rock on which the Christian church was built.

What does it mean to grant forgiveness and to renew or release a relationship? Are we able to go from victim to hero as Jesus did?

When we are bound by the chains for unforgiveness, we are still in a relationship with the person who hurt us. Think about it. When someone has hurt you with words or actions, when you think about that person, do you not feel anger? Does the memory of that person bring up feelings you thought you had dealt with and tie your stomach in a knot?

Desmond writes, “The decision to renew or release (the relationship) is a personal choice that only you can make. Obviously, it is easier to choose to renew a relationship when it is a close connection, such as a spouse, parent, sibling, or close friend. With these intimates it is much harder to release the relationship completely, as the threads of memory and intimacy that bind you are strong. It is easier to release a relationship with an acquaintance, neighbor or stranger, because these people often do not hold as much of your heart. —The preference is always toward renewal or reconciliation, except in cases where safety is an issue. When we choose to release a relationship, that person walks off with a piece of our heart and a piece of our history.”
If our choice is to release the relationship, it should happen only after we have chosen to forgive this person. We come to a place of no longer wanting to retaliate for what they’ve done to us. We come to a place of true Heart Forgiveness. Releasing a relationship is refusing to let that person occupy space in our head and our heart any longer.

If our choice is to renew the relationship, we create a new relationship out of our hurt and pain, and it is often stronger than it was before the offense occurred. Peter’s relationship with Jesus, became stronger and more intimate when Jesus chose to forgive Peter and renew his relationship with him. Desmond writes, “Our renewed relationships are often deeper because we have faced the truth, recognized our shared humanity, and now tell a new story of a relationship transformed.”

We have been dealing with the importance of forgiving others who have hurt us. Next week we will conclude our series of Heart Forgiveness with recognizing that we have hurt others at times, and we need to ask forgiveness from people we have harmed. We also must learn how to forgive ourselves. Just as forgiving others is vital to our emotional, spiritual and physical health; forgiving ourselves is also vital to our emotional, spiritual, and physical health. It is important to forgive others and ourselves, in order to break the chains of unforgiveness which bind our hearts and souls; to experience the healing power of true Heart Forgiveness.


PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help us to make something beautiful out of the hurt we have experienced. Grant us the courage to say ‘I forgive you.’ Give us the wisdom to know whether to renew or to release the relationship with the person who did us wrong. We believe that all things are possible with you. Amen


Pastor Rosemary DeHut                                                                               October 8, 2017








References: *The Upper Room/Volume 83/ Issue Number   4, September 13, page 19

Tutu, Desmond & Mpho, (2014). The book of forgiving; the fourfold path for healing ourselves and our world. Harper-Collins e-books.

Note: Because this is an e-book, I cannot reference the page numbers of the quotes. All the ideas and some of the illustrations for this sermon series                               come from this book.




Heart Prayer 4

From The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu


I can draw you as a cypher (a person of no importance)

So unlike me

I can make you less than human

I can erase your story

Then I will have no work to do

And nothing to forgive

But there is this pile of pain waiting for me

And I cannot remove it without facing

your story

There is a pile of pain waiting for me

And to clear it away

I must admit our common humanity

We cannot begin again

We cannot make a new start as though the

past has not passed

But we can plant something new

In the burnt ground

In time we will harvest a new story of who

we are

We will

Build a relationship that is tempered by

the fire of our history

You are a person who has hurt me

I am a person who could hurt you

And knowing those truths we choose to

make something new

Forgiveness is my back bent to clear away

the dead tangle of hurt and recrimination

And make a space, a field fit for planting

When I stand to survey this place I can

choose to invite you to sow seeds for a

different harvest

Or I can choose to let you go

And let that field lie fallow



Washing the Stone

from The Forgiving Book by Desmond Tutu


  1. Take your stone, which has been with you through this journey along the path. You have spoken to it, you have clenched it, and now you will cleanse it.
  2. Get a bowl of water or go to a body of water. Dip you stone in the water three times. Each time you dip the stone say, “I forgive you.”
  3. Write in your journal the story of the person who hurt you. What do you know about this person. If you do not know them, what can you find about them? What do you have in common? In what ways are you similar?
  4. What have you lost by not being able to forgive? Has this inability to forgive harmed you and the ones you love?



Renewing or Releasing the Stone

from The Forgiving Book by Desmond Tutu


  1. Decide whether you will turn your stone into a new thing of beauty or release it back into nature.
  2. If you have chosen to renew the stone, decide how you will paint it or decorate it. You may also choose to turn it into something useful in your home or garden.
  3. If you have chosen to release your stone, take it back to where you found it, or take it to a place in nature that is meaningful to you.
  4. Was it possible to make something beautiful from your stone?
  5. If you decided to release your stone, how did it feel to let it go?










By: Ironwoodumc

October 9th, 2017

Heart Forgiveness 3, Tell the Story, Name the Hurt October 1, 2017

October 6th, 2017

Heart Forgiveness 3

Tell the Story, Name the Hurt

(Quoted Scripture is New Revised Standard Version)


You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”’

(Psalm 91:1-2.)

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.’ (Psalm 91:14-15)

These verses from Psalm 91 are just a few of many I would turn to as I struggled with the marital problems Joe and I were experiencing about 18 years ago. I would turn to God again and again, knowing that I could trust Him to be my refuge and my fortress. I knew God was with both of us, as we struggled with the problems we were facing. I loved God, and I knew God would provide what I needed to either stay with Joe or have the strength to leave.

God did provide everything we needed. Someone gave me the name of a Christian Counselor, and I called and made an appointment. I put her information on the refrigerator and told Joe I was going, giving him the option to call and make an appointment if he chose.

As I counseled with this Christian counselor, she encouraged me to tell my story, to acknowledge the hurt I was feeling, to bring things to the light that I had hidden deep inside of me. I discovered that I had been blaming everything on Joe, and through telling the story and naming the hurt, I began to see that I was to blame as well! How could that be? You mean everything was not his fault!

I began to pray Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”  Joe and I continued our Christian Counseling until we arrived at the place where we could engage in a conversation of healing. We renewed our marriage vows on July 29, 2000, reaffirmed our baptismal vows by immersion in Lake Superior and have been partners in ministry since then.

We’ve been doing a series on Heart Forgiveness, using Desmond Tutu’s The Forgiving Book as our guide. I understand that not everyone needs this teaching, yet as we progress through this series, I’m finding out there are many who have discovered it is unforgiveness that has been causing their spiritual, emotional and often physical ill health.

Today we address the issue of telling the story and naming the hurt. Why is it important to tell our story? Neuroscientists tell us we have two kinds of memories, explicit and implicit. The explicit memories are those we remember about the event. That’s what most of us think memory is. Implicit memories are those we bury deep inside, refusing to acknowledge them, often denying they even happened.

In his book, Desmond used the illustration of his granddaughter being attacked by a pair of Dobermans when she was four. For years his granddaughter would flinch whenever a dog approached her. She didn’t have the explicit memory of being bitten, yet she had the implicit memory that caused the reaction. When she was able to bring the implicit memory to the surface, she began to heal from the trauma.

When we begin to tell the story, we must start with the true facts. As we begin telling the story we put together one memory at a time, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Often when we have kept our hurts inside, our memories become distorted, revealing the true facts is important.

To whom do you tell your story? Ideally if you could tell your story to the person who hurt you, and they would be receptive and ask forgiveness, this would be the quickest way to begin the healing process. However, in most situations, this is not going to happen. Many people who hurt others will not acknowledge they have done wrong, and some do not even know they have hurt you. Remember Desmond writes, “To forgive another does not depend on them and it is not for them. It is for you.”

Find someone you trust with your deepest secrets and hurts. Someone you are confident will keep your story to them self. A Pastor, a close friend, or family member, a Christian counselor. It should be someone who will not question the facts or make you feel as if you are under cross examination. Someone who is willing to listen and not judge, someone you feel safe with, and who will empathize with your pain. Once you’ve found someone, the next step to true Heart Forgiveness and healing, is to name the hurt.

Desmond writes, “Often it can seem easier or safer to dismiss a hurt, stuff it down, push it away, pretend it didn’t happen, or rationalize it, telling ourselves we really shouldn’t feel the way we do. But a hurt is a hurt. A loss is a loss. And a harm felt but denied will always find a way to express itself.”

In The Forgiving Book we read that neuroscientist have shown that a psychological wound, such as being excluded, stimulates the same part of the brain that is stimulated when there is a physical wound. In other words, our brains process and feel these injuries in the same way. They do not distinguish one type of hurt from another. This finding dispels the old children’s rhyme that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Words do hurt us. They can cut us to the quick.

As you begin to name the hurt you are feeling, know that no feeling is wrong. Each of us is the sum of all our life experiences, and what we are feeling is true for us. In The Forgiving Book, Father Lapsley is quoted as saying from his book, Redeeming the Past, “People must be encouraged to feel to the fullest, no matter how uncomfortable…. People need space to be weak and vulnerable for a time before they can become strong”

If someone is telling you how you should feel, find another person with whom you can share your story and name your hurt.

When we deny our pain, it festers inside of us and will grow bigger until it destroys our heath, our families, our jobs, our friendships, our faith and our ability to feel joy. Desmond writes, “We must do everything possible to dig the hurt out at the very roots. We are not responsible for what breaks us, but we can be responsible for what puts us back together again. Naming the hurt is how we begin to repair our broken parts.”

If you have been suffering from the bonds of unforgiveness, I pray this series of Heart Forgiveness is helping you to heal.

If you are sharing this with someone you know who is suffering from unforgiveness, and you are wondering how you can be a trusted listener for them, Desmond’s book lists way you can help.

Listen, without trying to fix the pain. Do not minimize what they are telling you, and do not offer advice. Do not respond to their story with a story of your own.  Keep confidentially. Offer your love and your caring.

Empathize with them and offer comfort.

It may not be easy to listen to the painful feelings of people we love and care about, yet if we are to help them, we must do so from a place of love and caring.

Today we have learned that to move ahead to true Heart Forgiveness, we must tell our story to someone we trust, learning what the true facts are and identifying our feelings and naming the hurt. We have to come to a place of vulnerability, so we can move forward in our healing.

You have another prayer insert in your bulletin and some homework to do with your stone. We continue to learn how to break the chains of un-forgiveness that bind our hearts and souls, and experience freedom through true Heart Forgiveness.

PRAYER: God of grace, give me the courage to continue on my quest for true Heart Forgiveness. Create is me a clean heart and put a new and right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) Amen


Pastor Rosemary DeHut                                                                                                                                                                               October 1, 2017


Heart Prayer

from The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu


To whom shall I tell my story?

Who will hear my truth

Who can open the space that my words want to fill

Who will hold open the space for the words

that tumble out in fast cutting shards

And the words that stumble hesitantly

into the world unsure of their welcome

Can you hold that space open for me?

Can you keep your questions and suggestions

and judgments at bay

Can you wait with me for the truths that

stay hidden behind my sadness, my fear

my forgetting, and my pain

Can you just hold open a space for me

to tell my story?


Meet me here, Speak my name

I am not your enemy, I am your teacher

I may even be your friend

Let us tell our truth together, you and I

My name is anger: I say you have been wronged

My name is shame: my story is your hidden pain

My name is fear: my story is vulnerability

My name is resentment: I say things should have been different

My name is grief, My name is depression

My name is heartache, My name is anxiety

I have many names and many lessons

I am not your enemy,

I am your teacher


Whispering to the Stone

from The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu


  1. Pick up your stone and tell the story of what happened in as much detail as you can. Remember to speak the truth, as much of it as you can remember. Speaking to the stone can be an emotionally safe way to prepare for speaking your story to another person
  2. Open your journal and write your story. Fill as many pages as you need.
  3. Writing is a very powerful way to tell your story. As you write, you may remember details you did not recall when you were speaking.
  4. If you feel safe or more comfortable, you can read what you have written to a person you love and trust



Clenching the Stone

from The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu


  1. Take your stone in your dominant hand.
  2. Name out loud a hurt you are feeling. As you name it, clench the stone in your hand
  3. Open your hand. As you release your fist, release the hurt.
  4. Clench and release the stone again as you name each of your hurts
  5. Write in your journal all the things you have lost: someone you love, your trust, your dignity, something you cherished, your sense of being safe
  6. Name the feelings that accompany these losses. I am angry. I am sad. I am heartbroken. I am afraid. Use your own words. What does your heart tell you? Name it so you can heal it.


Reference: Tutu, Desmond & Mpho, (2014). The book of forgiving; the fourfold path for healing ourselves and our world. Harper-Collins e-books.

Note: Because this is an e-book, I cannot reference the page numbers of the quotes. All the ideas and some of the illustrations for this sermon series come from this book.

By: Ironwoodumc

October 6th, 2017

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~~ For the renewal of the church Spirit of promise, Spirit of unity, We thank you that you are also a Spirit of renewal. Renew in the whole Church That passionate desire for the coming of your kingdom Which will unite all Christians in one mission to the world. May we all grow up together into him who is our head, The Savior of the world. Amen. ~~