Love, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation

Love, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation

PROBLEM

  • All of us can choose to forgive or not. If you were hurt you can choose to forgive everyone or no one. You can choose if you’ll be a victim or a victor.
  • There is a story of a father and 3 siblings. They resented their father for being so indifferent to them. One day as the father was dying he told the son that he gave his children a better life than he had. His father would punish him in a closet. He never did anything like that to him. He thought he was a great dad. He just never became better.
  • Story of the music box with the bird and a broken wing.

BIBLE

Forgiveness is essential to our lives. Without it, no marriage can survive, no family can stay together, and no society can be sustained. It is a necessary part of lasting friendships and work relationships. The reason lies in an inescapable fact of human nature: we are bound to hurt others, and others are bound to hurt us.

Adam Hamilton
Luke 10:25-35
Story of the Good Samaritan
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Luke 10:36-37
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The Samaritan saw value in the Jew. He did not hesitate because of his race. He cared for his wounds.

APPLICATION

  • Love + Forgiveness is what’s missing in our world. People and groups of people have become so angry, hateful, hostile, vicious. It’s destroying the society we all live in.
  • William Sangster. His wife said, “you’re not sending this guy a card, are you? Remember what he did at that meeting?” Sangster replied, “Yes, but I’ve remembered to forget.” And he mailed the card.
  • Pope Pius IV: “He never forgot a slight done to him, and that was his fundamental weakness. He might appear to bury the hatchet, but he always marked where that hatchet was buried.” – James Broderick in his book The Progress of the Jesuits

VISION

There was a much-loved priest in the Philippines who carried the burden of a secret sin he had committed many years earlier. Although he had led many to the mercy of Christ, he struggled with his own transgression. He had repented, but he couldn’t accept that God had forgiven him. For decades afterward, he felt no peace. A woman in his parish who loved God deeply claimed to have regular dreams and visions in which she spoke with Christ and he with her. People from all over the islands came to speak with her, bringing questions for her to take to the Lord and then waiting for the answers she brought back. The priest was skeptical, but he dared to hope just a little. He decided to put her to the test. One day he went to her and said, “When I was back in seminary, I did something wrong. No one else knows anything about it. The next time you talk to Jesus, I would like you to ask him what that sin was. If he tells you, I’ll know you were really talking to him.” Although he presented it as a test, what the priest really hoped was that this woman might say something that would relieve the awful guilt he’d carried for all these years. The hours turned to days and the days into nearly two weeks when finally the woman came to him again. “Well,” he said, “did you have any of your visions? Did you speak with Jesus?” “Yes, I did,” she said. “Did you talk to him . . . about my question?” There was no hiding his agitation. “Yes,” she said, “I did.” “Did he answer you?” “Yes, as a matter of fact, he did,” she said. By now his heart was pounding and beads of sweat were forming at his temples. “Well, what did he say?” “I told him, ‘My priest committed a sin when he was in seminary,’” she said. “‘He is still burdened by it. He wants to know if you know what that sin was.’ Jesus looked right at me and he said, ‘Ah, yes. Your priest’s sin. Funny thing, I just don’t remember it anymore’”