Disciples are forgiving

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (Matthew 5:7 ESV)

One of my favorite questions to ask the kids at Veritas lately is "What does forgiveness look like?" It's actually a pretty deep question, in that there are several layers or degrees of response to it. On the surface, there's the simple answer "letting go of someone who wronged you." But if you dig a bit further, when you examine our relationship with God and how much he had to forgive us, and then allow that to trickle down into our relationships with each other, you get to the heart of forgiveness and you see that it's willing to go as deep as we are.

In my humble opinion, forgiveness is the most beautiful thing in the world.

In our staff bible study, we read from another piece of scripture that I found interesting:

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18 ESV)

Can you remember the moment when you realized how much you needed God's mercy, and how beautiful it was to realize it was there for you? Even if you're like me and you were baptized before you really had an opportunity to screw up, you grew up in the church, I bet there was a moment of revelation in your life. And again, if you're like me, it was beautiful. It knocked you off your feet with it's simple invitation to be loved in spite of all that you had done, in spite of your past, and in spite of your junk.

What Paul and Jesus are saying to us is that we get the awesome responsibility to hand that redemption and reconciliation to other people the same way God gave it to us. When someone wrongs you, as painful as it might be in that moment, you have a new opportunity to participate in the redemptive process. If it's done right, you can experience the joy and grace and beauty of forgiveness at your finger tips.

However, don't forget a couple of things. Mercy in fact implies that the other person doesn't deserve it. We certainly didn't deserve the treatment Christ gave us, but that didn't stop him. In fact, that's what made it so beautiful. So the trick is to go beyond forgiving the people we feel like forgiving, and forgiving the people who under no circumstances deserve or warrent our forgiveness. Jesus isn't giving us an easy thing to do to check off the list here. This is a challenge. This is a commitment to the redemptive lifestyle. This is going to be difficult.

But ask yourself: Would you want it to be any other way?

Who do you need to forgive? Right now, today, this second, can you take a few steps towards spreading the ministry of reconciliation to some other people around you? Can you share the beauty of the grace and mercy that have been given to you?

Don't wait for another second. Forgive now.

More later today possibly? Who knows!