April 11

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. Psalm 25:8

Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often shall I forgive?  As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, ”not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

God knows what is best for us when He asks us to forgive. Anger and unforgiveness toward a person or situation may not be destructive to anyone except ourselves. But that is not all, God also commands us to forgive.  As we say in the prayer that Jesus taught us, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” And we read in Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Those are hard words.  How can God ask us, command us, to love those who commit grievous sins against mankind?  If you were a parent of a murdered loved one, could you actually forgive the one who robbed you of your loved one and took away your sense of joy and peace?  And what of the atrocities that took place during the war and still take place in countries beyond our United States?

Answers do not come easily to questions like that.  But God knows that all things are possible with those that love him and want to do his will. One thing is for sure.  We must first want to forgive.

C.S. Lewis writes in his book, THE JOYFUL CHRISTIAN, that he is able to love himself even tho he knows what bad things he does sometimes. So if we truly love our neighbors as ourselves, can we then forgive their sins more easily, knowing that in our common humanity, we are all the same?

Lord God, you ask of us a hard thing. Help us to love and forgive as you have loved and forgiven us. Amen

Joan Perlich