Thinking Aloud - Jan 2019
Thinking Aloud . . .
I recently met a woman who had not spoken to her sister in more than thirty years.
Several years ago I preached at a church where (I was told) two men were members and attended regularly but because of a long ago difference of opinion had started sitting on different sides of the sanctuary and stopped greeting each other altogether. They even used different doors.
Perhaps you know someone who refuses to greet or even to look at a person who they are convinced offended them; or perhaps you know a parent who will not allow you to mention the name of a son or daughter who committed some long ago misdeed that reflected badly on the family name.
Maybe you offended someone who no longer sends you a birthday card or calls to see how you are doing. Your calls go unreturned, your notes unacknowledged, your efforts at reconciliation rebuffed.
You see it on the newscast every week. People are leaving a courthouse and the reporter pushes a microphone in front of a group of family members. Someone they love has been injured. And now the family wants “justice”, they say.
This is David Thomas just thinking aloud that Jesus said, “Forgive one another as I have forgiven you.” “If a man takes your garment, give him your coat. If he hits you on one cheek, give him your other.”
The words sound so strong, so unreasonable. Where is the justice? "I deserve more respect!"
I can hear someone saying, “Forgive? When hell freezes over!”
Justice, indeed. Jesus knew that mostly what we seek is vengeance and that “vengeance is mine” says the Lord God. When we have been injured, we are better advised to leave justice to someone else, and to reach deep within ourselves and by the grace of God offer forgiveness.
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3.13).
An unforgiving spirit, someone cleverer than I am once said, is like drinking poison and then hoping someone else will die.
It’s the New Year and time for a new chapter, a new page, a new beginning. Someone you know needs to be forgiven. And you need what happens when you forgive.