Forgiveness and Sacrifice are two sides of the same coin. Christ’s one sentence prayer amidst unbearable pain has been prayed by many of his followers who have suffered the most atrocities for a long time. And here is the final uneasy truth: Forgiveness is not easy, but it is possible.
Through his life and death, Christ illustrates an uneasy truth: In an imperfect world, there is no love without forgiveness! He taught his disciples to pray for forgiveness from God but tied it inextricably to their forgiveness of others, including their enemies.
Through one of his sternest parables, he first compared forgiveness to “someone being released from a debt” and then drew attention to the fact that those who are forgiven by God cannot but forgive others who owe them. If love has to be translated, its best translation is forgiveness.
A disciple once asked Christ: How many times in a day should I forgive some who sins against me? Christ’s response: There ought to be no limits to forgiveness! The disciple complained that he did need more faith to believe. Many years later, the same disciple was to write: “Love covers a multitude of sins” He had learned over decades that our desire to love will be tested by our ability to continually forgive those who hurt us, damage us and are opposed to us.
You cannot be a follower of Christ and sidestep his command to forgive another. Those who want to be associated with the name of Christ have to get into “the habit of forgiveness”. In the words of Desmond Tutu: “When I forgive, I jettison the right to revenge and retribution”
His inspiration of course was Christ’s prayer on the cross: “Father, forgive them for them know not what they do”. Here’s the next uneasy truth: Forgiveness and Sacrifice are two sides of the same coin. Christ’s one-sentence prayer amidst unbearable pain has been prayed by many of his followers since then. Sometimes by those who have suffered the most atrocities for a long time. And here is the final uneasy truth: Forgiveness is not easy, but it is possible.
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