You don’t have to reconcile to forgive

Part 2 on FORGIVENESS

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

The word forgiveness or illustrations of the act appear in the Old and New Testament repeatedly. It’s at the heart of the gospel.

God loves us completely but in His perfectness, He will not allow sin in his presence and instead, will punish it. Our sin separates us from God but He wants us with Him. That’s why He sent Jesus to die and take the punishment meant for our sin so that, through faith in Christ and repentance of our sin, there is a way to be forgiven and allowed in the Father’s presence. When we truly understand what Jesus did for us, the instructions from that verse in Ephesians becomes very powerful.

We’re to forgive others the way Jesus forgave us. That’s not saying we have to give our lives for someone; it’s saying those who have become Christians have to be willing to forgive others whether we think they deserve it or not. We’ve been forgiven for sins and there’s nothing we’re expected to do to make up for it other than put our trust in Jesus. It’s freely given to us no matter what it is we did wrong. So we are asked to forgive others.

The rodeo judge who always marks you at least a point lower because he didn’t like when we argued with him once two years ago about his judging. Yes, he’s in the wrong, but that’s sin he needs to deal with through repentance and Jesus. Our job is to forgive.

You leave money in your wallet on a bucket in your trailer that goes missing. You find out it was another team roper that stole it while you were warming up your horse. It isn’t wrong to get the money back and it isn’t wrong to call the law if that’s what you think needs to be done, but our job is to forgive.

You’re suspicious about some marks on your horse’s flank that the trainer explains away. You don’t buy it, get there early the next time and catch him beating your problem horse with a board. Of course you’re going to be angry, but as you haul your horse away, you forgive.

When we’re forgiven of our sins through Jesus, we’re reconciled with God. There can be consequences for our sins here on the Earth but God no longer holds it against us or punishes us.

Reconciliation isn’t being required in Ephesians, just forgiveness. While reconciliation is important and taught in scripture, it isn’t a necessary part of forgiveness to maintain a connection with the person who sinned against us.

When you catch the trainer abusing your horse, you must forgive him but why on earth would you ever let him touch your horse again? You don’t forget what he did, but you forgive, let it go, and move on as best you can.

New devotions every other Thursday

Cowboys of the Cross

Welcome to Cowboys of the Cross: your resource for Christian cowboys. Cowboys of the Cross has been providing cowboy church for the rodeo and cowboy community for more than 15 years. The website is your source for stories of faith and encouragement as well as devotions and news and information affecting cowboys of faith. Cowboys of the Cross leads cowboy church at rodeos and bull ridings in both Ontario, Canada and across the north and southeastern United States. 

A rodeo dog

We can cause conflict or make peace

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God. — Jesus’s words from Matthew 5:9 in what is known as his Sermon on the Mount, a powerful set of teachings he left with us.
We can cause conflict, we can avoid conflict, or we can try to create peace. Jesus is making it clear that making peace is the approach that draws us close to God, not causing conflict and disunity.
From what we understand about God, our disunity with him, our separation, is caused by sin and that all of us sin. All of us are separated from God by sin that God will not allow in His presence and that God will punish. But, He sent Jesus to die on the cross to take the punishment meant for our sins. Jesus suffered horribly so that we all could find peace with God by believing in Jesus was Son of God, died for our sins and rose again to live in Heaven with God. Once we believe this, we must repent of our sins and ask to be forgiven. THEN, we are reconciled with God. He will no longer condemn us for our sins. Instead, He welcomes us home to a perfect life where all are at peace with one another.
Until then, we live here where we work through the disunity and conflict and hate and anger and outrage that has so many of us divided and we try to bring about peace by presenting them with the gospel–the message of Jesus and how we can all one day be at peace with one another in a perfect life in Heaven where there is no disunity or conflict or hate or anger or outrage. The image of a cowboy may not always be that of a peacemaker but from the Texas Rangers to a mining town sheriff, there are images of peacemakers from the cowboy culture that we can take inspiration from but our greatest inspiration must always come from Jesus Christ.

 

Where to find us

While many events are canceled into the near future, Scott and others on the team are posting video sermons and devotions to social media as well as the regularly updated content here to the website.

Oct 24, Jonesborough, TN with Triple T Bulls staff and contestants leading service.

Scott/Cowboys of the Cross can be found at Spur’n S Rodeos with the National Cowboy Association and he serves as the Chaplain for the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association, often found at their sanctioned events.  He can also be found at PBR Velocity Tour events, International Professional Rodeo Association events  and others. Keith is found at SEBRA and other rodeo and bull riding events in the midwest.

In all your ways...

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths — Proverbs 3:6
A Cowboy of the Cross believes God comes first and strive to follow His leading from a desire that comes from the knowledge of the cost of our salvation, paid for by Jesus Christ through is death on the cross. Through a saving and repentant faith in Jesus and the knowledge of his resurrection, we know God has forgiven our sins and will take us home to Heaven when our time here is done. Through God’s grace, we’ll get through the mistakes we make and grow more like Christ with study of Scripture, time in prayer and learning to hear God and following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Meet our Teachers / Preachers and Site Contributors

Keith Miller

Keith Miller

Keith Miller grew up in a strict Amish home in Indiana until discovering the freedom of an independent relationship with Jesus Christ. As a bull rider, he met his wife Natalie and together, they have a daughter Gracelyn and have settled in Westport, Indiana. Keith...

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Scott Hilgendorff

Scott Hilgendorff

Scott heads up Cowboys of the Cross, a ministry dedicated to bringing cowboy church to rodeos and bull ridings across North America but with a focus on discipleship. The ministry evolved out of Riding for Christ Ministries, the name which Scott operated under for more...

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James and Jenn Douma

James and Jenn Douma

Hey everyone, my name is James Douma. I have been involved with the rodeo for the past several years. I am a full time firefighter in Ontario during the week and ride bucking horses on the weekend. I am married to an amazing woman named Jenn and together we have a...

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Josh McCarthy

Josh McCarthy

Howdy! My name’s Josh McCarthy and I compete in saddle bronc riding in the PRCA and I’m the youngest of five from northeastern Wisconsin.  I grew up in a Christian home and went to church every Sunday. I accepted Christ into my life when I was little but I didn’t...

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Jim Bull

Jim Bull

I grew up always praying before meals and hearing that our friends that passed were in heaven. However, I never felt I knew who God was and definitely didn't have a relationship with Him. I lived my life thinking if I seemed like a good person, then I must be a good...

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Jesse Horton

Jesse Horton

I was 'raised Christian.' I can't remember a time before I was 10 years old that I wasn't a church-goer, though I remember several years of my teens where my family didn't attend church. I confessed my sin and my need for Christ when I was eight years old, but I do...

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Email: Scott@cowboysofthecross.com 

 

Mail: Cowboys of the Cross, 3710 Warden Branch Lane, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738

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