Over the past few Lenten seasons, I have been asked to write on the concept of Forgiveness…Pressing Through Forgiveness and Unconditional Forgiveness. It now seems only fitting that the question “WHY forgive?” is the next step in this ever evolving and challenging journey.
Immediate response- “Because I should. It’s the Christian thing to do. Jesus tells us so.” Is that really enough? As Christians mature in their faith, ought we have more reason to forgive? Is forgiveness about unloading a burden that we carry on our shoulders or is it really about uplifting and loving one another?
It is both.
When a perceived wrong has been done to us, we carry around anger, bitterness, and resentment. We foster the wrong and allow it to grow…perhaps, eventually, giving it permission to define who we are. If we take a chance and release that given burden, a space within us is now free to love. And isn’t this the essential teaching of Jesus, to love?
Love is a strong commandment in Christianity.
Forgiveness is the deeper charge…the foundation upon which love is built.
Over these past seasons, I have struggled with forgiveness. I wish I could say that it has become easier. Outright love has become easier but the underlying act of forgiveness itself has definitely become more of a challenge. And I don’t know why. The journey of Jesus is one of love and forgiveness. I think I will simply have to trust that while I am on my faith travels, I will get there eventually. And Jesus will be holding my hand along the way.
Friends and members of our Christ Church family have prepared these daily reflections as a means for you to consider how forgiveness informs your faith walk during this holy season. They are a richly diverse group from many different geographies around our nation and globe, formed by a wide variety of traditions.