Forgiveness – living in the face of Injustice
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Living as a disciple or committed follower of Jesus Christ is a high calling. There may still be people willing to call themselves Christians as part of a cultural or national identity, but this is not the same thing. To walk the way of Christ will involve sacrifice and that can sometimes be a hard thing to accept and even harder to do. Applying this high calling to forgiveness, especially when we face injustice will test all of our human resources.
A non-Christian acquaintance told me of an encounter he had with a young woman on a trip to Rwanda a few years ago. Engraved on his mind was the peace that enveloped her despite the experience of watching her family slaughtered before her eyes. She described to him the peace she experienced as Jesus. He said to me, “I wouldn’t have forgiven them.” But had she forgiven the unrepentant murderers? Did her expression of peace automatically mean she granted them forgiveness? Of course, I am not privileged to know what went on in her heart but what he described demonstrates the wonder of her position before the Father in heaven and her clear comprehension of it. Assuming that she would be prepared to forgive the murderers if they genuinely repented, it may also be the case that carrying around the gift-wrapped box of forgiveness was too heavy for her; too much to bear. Might she have turned to her Lord and Saviour and asked him to carry it for her?
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
The Lord will have lightened her load and wrapped her in his love.
Very few of us will have experienced such atrocity in our own lives, but this is not to diminish other forms of injustice we have had to endure. Betrayal, manipulation, sexual abuse, physical abuse and so on. Recently in the US and UK there has been exposure of vile abuses committed by so called respected Christian leaders. Survivors of these abuses are rightly seeking redress. Accountability is after all, part of justice. But what if responsibility is denied? What if the offender dies or simply turns his back on it all? Apart from being left doubting the authenticity of their faith in the first place, we turn to our heavenly Father and ask him to hold the gift-wrapped box of forgiveness for us. In our pain, it may be too much for us to carry. After all, it may never be requested of us.
In the meantime, we keep the cross of Christ in our line of sight. We, along with the young Rwandan woman might walk with an emotional ‘limp’ and need the support of others including counselling and this is nothing to be ashamed of. The high calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ keeps us moving forward, even if at a crawl. Let us make every effort to grow in the fruit of the spirit for, “if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(2 Peter 1:8)
Pray with us today's prayer request:
In the Anglican Church in Brazil, they have a system for recruiting the next generation for ministry. It is rooted in the local church with various levels of testing a person's call before they can be trained and ordained. Thank God for the good numbers who are already called and approved for Anglican ministry. Pray for God's wisdom for all involved in this discernment process.
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