For­give­ness is at the heart of Chris­tian­ity

Hamilton Advertiser - - CHURCH NEWS -

By Rev­erend Christo­pher Rank­ine, Hill­house Church

Through Je­sus we are as­sured of God’s love for us. God is like the fa­ther in the prodi­gal son story.

The prodi­gal son had left home and squan­dered all the fam­ily wealth. When he re­turned home, ex­cuses pre­pared, the fa­ther was wait­ing for him.

Ev­ery day the fa­ther must have set out to look down the road, hop­ing against hope, that his son would ap­pear on the hori­zon.

When the son fi­nally did ap­pear on the road he could hardly say his ex­cuses – he was smoth­ered in his fa­ther’s joy and love.

It is the same for us – when we turn to head home, the Fa­ther is wait­ing for us, ready to fetch the robe, the ring, ready to start the feast.

For­give­ness is at the heart of Chris­tian­ity. But the for­give­ness works both ways.

We in turn need to be ready to for­give and that is where it can be­come dif­fi­cult.

Peter once asked Je­sus if we should for­give some­one seven times.

Seven seems a ran­dom num­ber – why stop at seven? Seven is a holy num­ber in the Bi­ble. And so what Peter is re­ally ask­ing is this: should our for­give­ness be per­fect? Je­sus said “no!”

He says our for­give­ness should be bet­ter than per­fect – we should for­give 70 x 7 times, i.e. there is no limit on for­give­ness.

For­give­ness is at the heart of Chris­tian­ity.

The Chris­tian faith as­sures us of the for­give­ness we have re­ceived from God – but it also chal­lenges us to let go, to make amends, to for­give one an­other – and, just as hard, to al­low oth­ers to for­give us.

In many ways, for­giv­ing some­one is one of the hard­est things we can do. It is also one of the most lib­er­at­ing things we can do.

Let us then for­give one an­other, so that we can be ready for the feast that God is now pre­par­ing for us in the king­dom of heaven.

Rev Christo­pher Rank­ine

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