So, this forgiveness thing… I am pretty sure I know why Jesus put it in the prayer, you know the Lord’s prayer.
We don’t do it so well, but forgiveness is at the heart of every relationship we are involved in.
There is that part of us though, that doesn’t like this idea of forgiveness, well we like it for ourselves, but others? Well, lets just say, we much prefer to bust people, we like shows like COPS etc… that catch the bad guys in the act… the phrase caught red handed makes our inner judge grin. We like people to get what they have coming to them.
The book of faith 40 day Lenten journey devotions remind us that we all need forgiveness everyday… just like we need our daily bread. And like daily bread we are called to share this forgiveness with others.
I love the Galatians passage: “My friends,* if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.” 6:1 But our devotions didn’t have that last line printed. I think that is vital.
Ok, sure we don’t often restore people with a spirit of gentleness, and we in Christ we are called to do just that. But one of the reasons we should is that last line… or as The Message states the same passage: “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.” Way to go Eugene…. nailed it right on the head!
The key here is not to bust people, but to restore them. It isn’t about punishment, it is about gentleness. Yes forgiveness is a two way street, the other may not grow in that forgiveness, but that is not your call. You can’t make someone love, just as you can’t truly make them forgive unless they really want to! The key here is we are asked to forgive as we first have been forgiven.
Blessings… Worship tomorrow at St. John Ev. Lutheran Church Reedsburg, WI… I’d love to see you!