Tuesday, January 12, 2016

God's Love Is God's Forgiveness

The gospel this week tells two stories: Jesus appearing to the disciples telling them to forgive sins; then one of The Twelve, Thomas, refusing to believe that Jesus lived until he sees him with his own eyes.  The reason for the tale of Thomas seems obvious.  The reason for including Jesus’ instruction to forgive sins isn’t.  But it belongs here.

The Resurrection demonstrated that God’s desire to give us life is stronger than the damage our failures do to his gift.  Our Creator’s commitment to us isn’t just more powerful than our moral failures; it’s more powerful than our mistakes and our ignorance as well.  Our weakness can’t separate God from us.  Our Creator doesn’t get fed-up, bored or tired of us. 

We don’t have to convince God to stick with us.  We don’t have to prove to him that we’re worth caring about.  We don’t have to dampen his ire.  We don’t have to flatter is ego or attract his attention. 

We know we exist: we know God is with us.  Each statement contains the other.  If we understand Jesus, we understand this. 

The incidents that the gospels narrate about Jesus after the Resurrection center around his sending his disciples out with his message to the rest of the world.  Luke wrote in the Acts of the Apostles, Don’t stand there waiting for me to do something.  Go do for others what I have done for you.  Show everyone the God I’ve shown you. [Acts 1:8 & 11]

Jesus’ entire life demonstrated the God who forgives.  We can miss how central forgiveness is to our Creator’s relationship with us if we think of forgiveness as only referring to sins in the juridical sense of breaking some rule.  God sticks with us not just in the face of broken commandments.  No weakness, whatever the type, turns him away from us.

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