As Christians, how do we understand obedience in the context of forgiveness? Our world can be a cruel place.
If we are honest, we know we have all been victims and perpetrators of self-interest. People have wounded us, but we have also been the authors of hurt.
The line from one Smashing Pumpkins’ song says it well, “The world is a vampire sent to drain.” But humans, that is to say you and I, are the world.
If Solzhenitsyn is correct, if the line that divides good and evil cuts through the heart of every man, what is the solution? Better asked, who is the solution?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3:16-17
But what about our enemies, what about forgiveness?
Jesus teaches us to not only forgive our enemies but to pray for them, too. Do we? Has your Church ever prayed for our enemies?
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. - Matthew 5:43-44
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. - Luke 6:37
One day I was sitting in a local coffee shop, The Daily Grind, the smell of coffee lifting up to my nose, and I had a thought. – What if the body of Christ, the Church, made 9/11 a national day of prayer? A day we gather to pray for the well being and to bless those who make us their enemies? Would that be obedient to our Lord’s command?
Forgiveness is an act of the will, it is also an act of obedience. It unchains us from past wounds, but it costs us something.
However, it does not cost us as much as our forgiveness cost our Father in heaven.
That act of forgiveness cost Him, His son.