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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

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There’s no denying it, autumn is over and done with and we are deep in the heart of winter. There’s ice on the river, you dare not leave home without mittens and hat, and the eagles have returned, hoping for a meal.

We’ve been watching the eagles from our window. You’d think if you were at the top of the food chain, life would be a bowl of cherries – or fish, in this case – but it’s not. The poor birds are harassed from sun-up to sun-down, by every other flying creature along the river. The crows and gulls are almost like shadows, following them where ever they fly, in the hope one of the big guys will drop that fish they’re trying to swallow in mid-air.

None of us are very good at imagining what life is like for someone else. In the press of living our own lives, we forget that other people have demanding jobs, and family obligations, and bills to pay. We may be unaware of the worry they feel for loved ones who live in far away places, and we’re not likely to know much about the sleepless nights they endure because of their own pain. The tears of loneliness they weep when they are by themselves are invisible to us, and we hope we are never in the way of the anger they just can’t hold inside any longer. While it may be true that we all have different levels of tolerance for frustration, fear, and injustice, it is neither wise, nor kind, nor helpful to condemn a brother or sister when we do not understand the troubles they face.

A new year is beginning, a time when many of us look to recommit ourselves to a more Christian way of living. We promise to lay down our vices and pick up new virtues, but in short order, we’re right back where we were. That’s because our brokenness – our sin, to use an old-fashioned word – is inherent to our life. Accepting Jesus does not make us perfect, it makes us forgiven sinners. The kicker about that is that repentance and reconciliation then have to become the rhythm of our lives. We will always mess it up, and we will always need to ask forgiveness, and we will always need to reach out to our brothers and sisters, offering our forgiveness and understanding to them. When you think about it, this gift of salvation – the resilience to turn and turn and turn again, to cling tight to the promise that we are redeemed, and to refuse to give up on a brother or sister – is miraculous, plain and simple.

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.                 Romans 5:20

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