Frederick Buechner says, “When somebody you’ve wronged forgives you, you’re spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience. When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence.”
We all need forgiveness at one time or another in our lives. Which of us have not done something to those we love that was hurtful? We all also need to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Forgiveness, however, is not easy to give or to receive. If we are not careful the lack of forgiveness both offered and received can poison our lives and our relationships. Buechner is right in reminding us that “forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside our own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence.”
When Jesus appeared to his followers in the upper room after the resurrection the first thing he said was, “Peace be with you.” What a powerful way to begin his resurrected relationship to those who forsook him and fled. By offering such peace Jesus was, in effect, saying I forgive you. As followers of the Christ we are in the redemption business. Forgiveness is at the heart and soul of the Christian message. Through the incarnation of Jesus and his death on the cross at Calvary God is in effect saying, I forgive you, and in doing so offers to each of us wholeness of heart. God is seeking to restore us into a healed and whole relationship.
This coming Sunday, April 17 we will be taking a look at forgiveness and redemption. C. S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Such forgiveness must be foundational in our expression of Christian faith. The cross of Christ stands as a powerful, visible reminder of the cost God was willing to pay to offer such forgiveness and acceptance to a rebellious and broken world. May we at St. John’s United Methodist Church be a people who forgive.
I will see you on the road,
I John 3:1