The Justice of Forgiveness

My brain has been foggy lately.  It is like I have bloggers block.  I still write in my paper journal, but I feel it isn’t profound, amusing, or a struggle that will assist if it is shared.  As such, I haven’t written here in the past week.

Also, I feel disheartened because I had the lofty goal of focusing on a different aspect of justice each month for the 2015 year.  I was going to read books, volunteer like crazy, and pray up a storm.  Then I remembered pregnancy limits my body.  I am working 40 hours a week.  I don’t sleep well at night.  When I come home from doctor appointments and errands I just want to veg in front of a TV.  It sounds bad, especially during a season of Lent when we are to repent of idols or distractions that draw us from deeper worship of God.  I do drag myself out of bed in the morning and have been decently good at morning devotions.  They refresh me certainly.  Although sometimes it is feeling route, or like an obligation more than a deeply seated desire to do them.

Last night Frank and I went to an amazing Lenten series study at Christ Episcopal Church in Budd Lake.  (Now I do feel a slight hint of guilt that we are entering this community with no intention of moving from our church.  However, I want a Lent focus season and our church, being the ever liturgical weary evangelical church that it is, doesn’t have sermons or events geared towards a Lent focus.  Don’t get me wrong, I like our church and it is where we are called to commune.  I just wanted liturgy during this season.  I also like following the church calendar because it helps me to separate my days, making them feel holy and not so mundane.  We’ll be there Wednesday nights for about 4 weeks, unless our little one makes an early debut.  Then we go back to our church and don’t really plan on visiting unless there is a special service during Advent or Pentecost.  I’m slightly saddened by “intruding” on this community, but what else am I supposed to do when my heart longs for a particular devotion and our home doesn’t offer it.  Shouldn’t I travel, however briefly, to experience something that can draw me closer to God?)

Anyways, I digressed into defending my decision.  Note to self: trust God, repent of approval addiction, and finally turn from this obsession of what others think of me.

The study was EXACTLY what I want in a Bible study.  We sat around rectangular tables, arranged so you could see everyone, after enjoying a delicious potluck dinner.  Then we read a passage of Scripture, wrote in a journal what we observed in the passage (characters, themes, places, history, questions we had, etc), discussed our observations, read a reflection written by a Taize brother, meditated on the reflection and Scripture passage, then discussed what we gathered from the meditation.

The passage was about Jesus and the adulterous woman.  Scribes and Pharisees bring a woman who openly committed adultery before Jesus to find a way to trap him.  Jesus doesn’t answer their questions.  He writes in the sand.  Not being able to find a method of accusing Jesus, they walk away leaving the woman with Jesus.  He asks her if anyone condemned her.  She said no.  He then tells her that he does not condemn her either, but to go and sin no more.

Did she have any idea that he was the Savior of the world, who could forgive sin?  How must she have reacted?

Jesus loves us.  He doesn’t condemn, but he does require that if we want to live a full, abundant life that we walk in his statutes and try not to sin.  He radically forgives and we are to do that too.

We can grant such forgiveness to others in our lives when we see them as creations of God.  Rather than looking at the snapshot of anger an individual aroused in us, we can try and understand where they are coming from.  Perhaps understanding the broken pieces of a person’s past will help us to extend mercy and allow us to assist an individual in becoming whole through Christian love.  Justice will reign when we begin to live out his will on earth as it is in heaven.  When we stop trying to hone in on faults in another or defend our position and rather look through the lens of a person who has been radically forgiven than we might be able to forgive and peace will descend.  Peace will abound in our relationships when we see people as Christ sees them.  This isn’t easy and I’m not sure I have a three-step method on achieving that goal, but the start begins in looking at the cross and seeing extreme forgiveness poured out for ALL who choose to believe in Christ.

The cross is the most radical display of love.  It was very fitting to have a passage focusing on forgiveness during the “love month”.  The true justice of love is found in the wounds of a Savior’s open palm beckoning us to forgive as he has forgiven us.

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