“Joseph, her husband, was a man of integrity. Not wanting Mary to be disgraced, he intended to dismiss her quietly. But while he was thinking about these things . . .” — Matthew 1:19-20 Where is God in the midst of life’s unwanted developments, disruptions, crises? When we are confronted with that for which we have not asked, we are left with choices to make about how we respond. The choices are often quite difficult. Where is the good news of God’s love in such circumstances? How is God graciously giving to us at the very time when we are feeling anything but blessed? The birth narratives explore this territory. Like the initial chapter in Luke’s gospel, Matthew Chapter One is fraught with God’s disturbing, life-giving,...
God is a lover who receives everything, forgives everything. The Gospel says, “You will know the mystery of salvation through the forgiveness of sin” (Luke 1:77). “Fore-given” means being given to beforehand, before you earned it, were worthy of it, or maybe even asked for it. Forgiveness breaks down the entire world of meritocracy. –Richard Rohr, in Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
“The heart of forgiveness is not to be found in excusing harm or allowing it to go unchecked. It is found, rather, in choosing to say that although our wounds will change us, we will not allow them to forever define us. Forgiveness does not ask us to forget the wrong done to us but instead to resist the ways it seeks to get its poisonous hooks into us. Forgiveness asks us to acknowledge and reckon with the damage so that we will not live forever in its grip.” —Jan Richardson, in The Painted Prayerbook Image: Forgiving(c) Jan Richardson
When is “the time fulfilled” with forgiveness? And what is its “holy ground?” The painfully honest, deeply hopeful story of Lamont Hatton and William Little shared in the Philadelphia Daily News several weeks ago (After 20 years) offers us access for exploring these questions in some depth. It is a story to be attentively received; and pondered. Let’s examine the power at work in the lives of these two: one, a killer who after a decade in prison returned home to engage a new way of living; the other, a person who had wanted to to take revenge on his brother’s killer for more than two decades but instead confronted him with forgiveness. Must there be a specific time and place to forgive? In March of...
“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you . . . was not “Yes and No”; but in him, it is always “Yes.” For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” — 2 Corinthians 1:19-20