Friday, April 14, 2017

On Forgiveness: Two Important Things

Two thoughts on forgiveness this Easter weekend: 
1) We only can forgive those who have hurt us. We have no right to claim we forgive anyone who has not hurt us. That is a mockery of the difficulty of forgiveness for those who actually have suffered. 
2) We are commanded to forgive everyone who has hurt us in any way - but there is nothing in that statement that requires we forget. Those are two different things. Forgiving when we can't forget is a deeper form of forgiveness than when we can forget - and, sometimes, forgetting is neither healthy nor appropriate, since it can feed continued hurt by the unrepentant.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

We Are More than Just Children of a King

A friend of mine said the following today, in reference to common statements about being children of a King: 
When the Israelites in the meridian of time looked for the Messiah they looked for him to come in glory with conquering armies. He came instead as the child of a carpenter born in the most humble of circumstances.  
Are we not children of the Good Shepherd? Are we not children of the Master Healer? Are we not children of the patient teacher? Are we not the children of the "Servant of all"? 
May we follow in those footsteps as well.
Amen - and amen.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Being Nothing without Charity and "Being Worthy": How We Miss the Mark

I interpret the idea that we are nothing without charity as being a refutation of the natural tendency to value things and create measurements that make us feel better than others. So many other things we tend to value highly separate us from others by elevating us above them and making us worth more (or, interestingly, "more worthy"); charity levels the field and truly sets us as equal in worth.

Someone publicly gives away lots of money out of extreme narcicism? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else. Someone prophesies constantly but does nothing to give actual help to those who need help? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else. Someone gives phenomenal talks in church, full of poetic and inspiring imagery, but is a selfish jerk otherwise? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else. Someone serves their entire adult life in highly visible church callings but looks down on everyone else due to their pride? Fine, they have their reward, but nothing else.

Love as the foundation of all else (the glue holding everything else together) is something I like, so I am okay with statements that say everything else falls apart or crashes to the ground without that foundation. ("on this hang all the law and the prophets")

It helps that I view it as a process, not an event - a pathway, not a destination - an issue of effort, not full accomplishment. It's not that I need to be perfectly charitable right now or I'm worthless, but rather that I value charity above everything else and am trying to be charitable.