Thursday, June 14, 2012

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;  for forgiveness has risen from the grave.--St. John Chrysostom - Easter sermon

Gospel Text: Mt 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother,
'Raqa,' will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, "You fool," will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

Does anyone in the world have anything against you? Do you have anything against them? If you haven't recently tried to reconcile with these people, stop reading this now and go do it...

With truth and faith in God’s plan, it becomes easier to love and forgive.  Relationships can sometimes be a struggle, and it is easy to get angry and say or think hurtful things.  But in Matthew’s Gospel, he says you will not be free until you have reconciled with your brother.  If we place our full trust in God, knowing that he has a plan for us and that his love is true, this is the first step towards forgiving our brother.  Without truly loving God, we can’t truly love a person for everything that they are—good and bad.  But it is necessary to love people that way—a truly agapic, self-giving love.  A friend once told me that even if I don’t love people’s actions at all times, I still need to love them because they are children of God.  This friend was a voice of truth in my life, reminding me of who I want to be and what it really means to love.

By grace, do the impossible. Be a Christian.

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