Forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity
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