Is forgiveness the message that we really need to proclaim above all other in these days? I think it might be. It so often seems that we live in a blame culture. We are always looking for somebody whose fault it is and what we can get out of them by way of compensation. Forgiveness is counter-cultural, but at the heart of our faith. David Stevens, a former leader of the Corrymeela Community, has said this: “The gospel offers us an alternative reality to fearful, frozen and defensive living. It invites us to imagine ourselves and our world differently. Reconciliation in Christ takes us to a new place – the house of Christ – where we think, speak and act in his way, where fear becomes trust and hurt permits healing. Christ breaks down the middle wall of partition and invites us all into a space created by him to find people who were previously our enemies.”
This, in turn, allows us to go further and to recognise that God will heal. Healing means wholeness. God will make things whole, that is as they should be. One of the great things we discover as we follow God’s way is just how great God’s love is and what that means in terms of things being as they should be. God’s love is immense. As Desmond Tutu has it in his book ‘No Future Without Forgiveness’ – “Someone has said there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, for God loves me perfectly already. And wonderfully, there is nothing I can do to make God love me less. God loves me as I am.” As my kids might say to me – how good is that? I am not going to pretend that things never get messed up. That is patently untrue. We live in a chaotic world and we often find ourselves having to cope with some of the struggles and problems which that produces. But somewhere in there, always, is God’s love. Somewhere, always, too, is the call to be God’s people.