can we talk about forgiveness?

So for the posts on “sin” over the past couple of weeks, the next thought was always going to be on forgiveness.

Holly posted on Facebook:
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

I’ve got to believe that forgiveness is more of a mindset than it is a let-me-forgive-this-time-and-then-next-time-if-you-repent-I’ll-forgive-that-time-too. It’s part of our ministry of reconciliation, isn’t it (2 Cor 5)? If sin is something that is done outside of proper relationship, then forgiveness is a major part of restoring and maintaining that relationship.

If on the other hand, sin is just the breaking of a law or rule, then forgiveness is really only the one time response to the one time transgression. It’s also something I can withhold, something you have to earn. It’s something that isn’t guaranteed, based on what we say or how we say it or what we judge to be the motivation behind your assumed apologies and remorse.

We have the Governor of SC, who has apologized to his family and to the state for actions of infidelity and adultery, and for actions of negligence and political stupidity. You can read elsewhere for details – and frankly, it’s hard not to. The topics of sin and forgiveness are front and center all over the place here in the capitol city. I can’t help but think that we as a society would be better off if forgiveness were closer to the fore than justice, if mercy were in our collective eye more than I-told-you-so finger wagging. In this situation in particular, and in many situations generally, there’s much to be answered, many consequences to be shelled out. Forgiveness doesn’t end that – but it gives a better footing for the “what’s next” of these stories, gives us a positive to build on instead of more of the same junk that’s gotten us to this point already.

I think I’m rambling now, the victim of too much new coverage of what started, to me, as a non-story and turned into a blindsided whap upside the head. I don’t begin to know what anyone is going through, the hurt anyone is feeling, the betrayals that have come about over time in these relationships. But that’s the thing I do know – that it’s the relationships that are hurting the most, and it’s up to those in relationship to forgive, to move on, to restore what can be restored and to break off what needs to go.

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