Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 2:1-11
Rick Warren says, “Relationships are always worth restoring”. The life that our Lord lived, and which He urges us to follow, is that of Love. Love is best expressed within the context of relationships. And for this, Jesus valued relationship while on earth, and He desires for us to value it too. It was for the restoration of the lost relationship between God and man that Jesus suffered and died.
Broken relationships hinders love, and offence is what breaks relationships. Jesus pronounced woe on the one through which the offence that breaks relationship comes from: “It would have been better if a mill stone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea…” (Luke17:1-14) However, He turned sternly to the offended and warned: “But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you the wrongs you have done.”( Matt. 6:14-15)
What does forgiveness entail? According to Matt DeHaan, forgiveness involves, “To set free, release, and in other contest, to wipe away. It means, to release the desire to get even, or the right to require another to pay for what he has done. To forgive is to say, ‘You are free, your debt is paid.’” But as DeHaan observed, forgiveness in our time has become little more than a therapeutic way of detaching ourselves from those who have harmed us.
Beloved, oftentimes, when we claim we have forgiven others, we never really free them in our hearts, we keep them prisoners making them serve endless time for their offenses. We distance ourselves from them, and create boundaries. But this is not the form of forgiveness God gives to us. He releases us, wipes away our offenses, and then restores us to friendship with Him. Beloved, unless we learn to forgive the way our Lord Jesus set the standard, we will never be free before God. It is difficult to truly let go of those who have deeply hurt you by either their betrayal, wrong actions, false accusation, defaming gossips, or other such terrible sins.
Yet beloved, as we commemorate the worst form of betrayal, the highest show of injustice, the most undeserved of sufferings and the coldest murder ever, we are compelled by the Heart that loved despite all, and forgave all, to let go of whatever pain others have inflicted on us.
MASS: VIOLET Ezk 37: 21-28; Ps Jer 31:10. 11-12ab. 13 (R.10d); Accl. Ezk 18:31; Jn 11: 45-57
Lord, thank You for Your mercies and forgiveness.
Help me to let go of the offense of others.