I had agreed to lead and speak at a service somewhere - I don't want to be specific but regular readers may be able to guess where I was.
The theme of the meeting was that a fresh start was available to everyone, no matter what they'd done, a theme that was particularly applicable to the 'congregation'. At the end the person in charge stood up to thank us for going in and said, 'If there's one word that sprang out to me from this morning's service it is forgiveness.'
'But don't forget: we have to earn our right to forgiveness.'
(NOOOOOOOOO! Followed by sound of head being banged against a wall.)
So the last thing the 'congregation' will have in their minds is that forgiveness has to be earned. No, it's God's gift to us. How can we earn it? What can we do to deserve it?
Nothing. We can't earn it; we can only ask for it and accept it. It is by the grace of God that we are saved. God's grace: giving us what we don't deserve instead of what we do deserve.