There is one trait within human existence which doesn’t come naturally. Well perhaps there are more then one, but the one I want to talk about today I believe tops the list. As individuals and within community we find it comes natural to hurt one another. We can hurt others through our words, our deeds, and even perhaps our prayers. We find it easy to do; whether we intended to do it or not – hurts easily happen.
However – the issue on top of my list today is that of forgiveness. It’s not natural for us to forgive one another. It doesn’t come easily to us. God proved to us his forgiveness through his son Jesus, whom humanity killed on the cross. And in his death and resurrection, we were given the chance and the choice to be reconciled with God. But, God doesn’t intend for us to be reconciled to him just on a individual basis. We care called to live in community and as a community, he has called us to accept his forgiveness and reconciliation and to live that out within the way we live with each other.
In Mark 11:24 we read about Jesus teaching his disciples about prayer. And he concludes, when you have prayed, ensure your own hearts are clean towards others and that you have forgiven them. DANG! Jesus, why can’t I hold onto my hurts and my pain and my bitterness and my anger and my un-forgiveness?
Here lays the rub. The very people we are angry with, Christ died for. The very people we are bitter towards, God is calling them to come and be reconciled with him. The very people who have hurt us -God wants to heal both our hurts and theirs. Because simple put, God is into building community. God is into restoring community. He is into restoring and rebuilding society into community. And he is calling us to be part of that communal process. And because he is calling us to that work, he is calling us to live out the restorative process of reconciling to all. And this means, we are called to forgive.
The truth is, we can’t really be about God’s business if we are refusing to forgive. And simply put, we need his help to do so. So, I ask you, have you truly forgiven any whom you hold something against so that you too are truly a part of God’s redemptive, restorative and reconciling process here on earth, the same as it is in heaven?