The challenge of forgiveness

I AM currently planning a Service for the last Sunday in June at Holy Trinity, and after some prayer, decided the theme should be ‘Forgiveness’.

It wasn’t until I started to think about this topic that I realised what a challenge it is for us to offer or receive forgiveness.

Forgiveness involves reconciliation.

It is central to Christian ministry.

We are a new creation if we are in Christ, and through Him, God has reconciled himself to us and, in turn, given us the ministry of reconciliation.

Reconciliation is about mending that which is broken, that is restoring relationships to all that they were intended to be.

In the Lord’s Prayer there is the phrase ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’.

This is really challenging and yet so essential for us to both understand and practise.

Jesus taught us to love our enemies and forgive those who hurt us.

This is both radical and counter-cultural.

Love is reconciliation in practise because there can be no reconciliation without forgiveness.

Jesus instructs us to love and forgive those who cause us pain.

Healing from the pain of the past can only come through forgiveness.

The biggest obstacle we have to forgiveness is peoples’ refusal to forgive.

If there is no forgiveness, then pain, hurt, bitterness and anger incubate in the human soul.

The prayer ‘Father, forgive us’ mentioned earlier provides a way out of this trap.

As Jesus taught us, forgiveness is the key that unlocks so much potential in the Christian life.

Forgiveness releases people who are trapped in the past, to become all they were intended to be, both now and in the future.

Out of pain and even death can come healing and reconciliation.

We know this because Jesus in his love, died that we might be reconciled to God and share in that love.

Surely that is worth learning.

Who do you need to forgive or seek forgiveness from?