12 October 2009

Obedience Revisited

If you do not love your enemies then you do not know God. - St. Silouan

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.


  1. It has been my experience that praying for a person breaks down any of my lingering feelings of animosity. There are a number of people I don't particularly like, or with whom I might avoid contact for their harmful influence on my small children. But I can honestly say that I count no person my enemy. There's no one with whom I've had conflict that I wouldn't work to make peace.

    "In me nothing good dwells." (Romans 7:18)

    All of what I just said is not something I'm able to do on my own. This is the power of prayer. This is the power of God.

    When a man's ways please the LORD,
    He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

    (Proverbs 16:7)

  2. This is a big struggle for me. I believe what you are saying is 100% true...

    Time for me to stop thinking about it and actually do something about it..Thanks you!

  3. Anne: What came to mind while reading your post is that when we are in God's will, pride stays out of the mix, which is always a good thing. It is much easier to love and forgive when wounded pride is not being defended... :-)

    Bridget: Hey! Forgiving myself has been one of my biggest struggles in the past. We can pray for each other... :-)

  4. It costs even more not to forgive.

  5. S. Etole: That is so true!

  6. Jerry RuffinoOctober 14, 2009

    What most of us look for when think of forgiving someone for an offence is having a "feeling" of forgivness. The feeling is rarly there. What we must rememeber that real forgivness is an act of will not an emotion.
    Difficult to do but not impossible. I hope anyway.

  7. And unforgiveness is like a gallon jug of water....the longer you hold on to it...the heavier it is...glad God gave it up for me.