When we think of forgiving people, we often imagine those closest to us: spouses, children, parents, intimate friends. That’s understandable since we depend so much on them and their actions affect us so deeply. We want to maintain our relationship with them.
It’s also a good idea to think of folks with whom we’ve only casual contact: grocery store clerks, cable reps, our children’s teacher, Cousin Seth, other drivers. Faith reminds us that we bring God’s forgiveness to the world. We all signed up to do this. It’s not just a priest’s job.
Forgiveness is more about relationships than rules; more about belonging than behavior. We have countless reasons to put people outside our fences. We easily find ways to say that God rejects them too. Jesus refused to let people blame their rejection on God. He let everyone into the community – because, regardless of our judgments, that’s what God does.
We can’t claim to bring God’s love to the world and refuse to let people into our hearts.
Who are we talking about? When we find ourselves thinking, to hell with him or who cares about her; I’ll be civil to him when he’s civil to me or who needs her, she makes no difference; that’s the one.
Forgiving isn’t simple. How do I welcome Johnny into my home when Johnny steals the silverware? Still, faith is the absolute: we invite everyone who will come into our community. We have to find the way to make forgiveness work. We have to forgive because loving is the Christian non-negotiable.
And we wondered what our Lenten Sacrifice would be!