During the season of Lent, we tend to have a heightened sense of what forgiveness means and what it costs. We see the entire Christ event through the lens of those words from our communion liturgy, “This is my blood…poured out for you and many…for the forgiveness of sins.” Of course, Christ’s presence in the world meant and means more than that. It’s the ministry of reconciliation, restoration, and re-creation. In Jesus, God comes to us to bridge the disconnection, to forge new pathways of communion, and to continue the work of building the kin-dom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
The Psalmist notes that the Holy One is not in the business of keeping a tally of our mishaps, mistakes, and misunderstandings. God is forgiving so God forgives. God does not want to stay displeased and disappointed with our actions and attitudes. Rather, God wants to be with us, to dwell with us, to commune with us. There was no other reason for God to create us in the first place, Jesus to come in the second, and the Spirit to rest within us now.
When we forgive as God forgives, we don’t keep score. While we maintain the need for accountability and repair, we don’t remind the forgiven of our graciousness. We make room for relationship to continue and to flourish. We free ourselves and one another to be who God has created us to be. Finally, we trust the God of forgiveness to be with us in the journey when forgiving is especially hard to do. Forgiveness is with God.
Let us encourage one another. Let us love our neighbor. Let us be the church.