“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”–John 21:16 “Doesn’t forgiveness let people off the hook ?, ” I am regularly asked; “What will make someone accountable for their actions if they are forgiven before they actually change?” This leads to many fruitful discussions. For the purpose of this post, let me cut to the chase: It is my clear assertion that nothing in the world calls us to rise to accountability more strongly than love. By the advent of John 21, the resurrected Jesus has appeared to Simon Peter and his companions twice, as well as to Mary Magdalene. Jesus has risen, in-deed! And now it is time for Simon Peter to rise. The Galilean seashore, where the journey of discipleship began, will...
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