It is a great comfort to know that I am a child of God – blessed, accepted, forgiven, saved, loved. But if I am to live as a child of God, I will not hold any bitterness for the person who has wronged me, I will forgive my enemies. I will not have a judgmental attitude toward others, rather I will accept them in spite of their imperfections and failures. That is the clear message of Jesus in Luke 6: 27-38. All too often Christians have clung to the message about God’s grace and forgiveness while brushing aside the call to reflect God’s grace and forgiveness in everyday relationships. We hold grudges, we get angry, we try to get even or take revenge, we are harsh in our judgment of others while we go soft on ourselves. We excuse ourselves by saying, “We’re only human.” Yes, we will fail, but that is no reason for blocking the call of Jesus to love our enemies and not to be judgmental in our attitude toward others. When we fail to live this live of God-like love the path back lies through confession, repentance and forgiveness. And if this admission of failure, determination to change and acceptance of God’s gracious forgiveness is genuine, we seek to do whatever we can to make amends, to correct our lapse and to learn from our mistake, to allow the Spirit of God, God who is generous and unselfish love, to lead us. The creative love, which brought creation into existence and undergirds it all, reaches out to a damaged and corrupted world calling for humanity to live with that same sort of creative love in all its relationships with one another. This is how we show that we are children of the Most High. The child who enjoys the reassuring arms of love’s embrace is also the child who carries the parents’ genes, shows characteristics inherited from them and learns what to do by imitating them.
- What characteristics did you inherit or learn from your parents?
- Talk about instances where someone acted with compassion and mercy toward another who had wronged or hurt them.
- Why do people hold grudges or seek revenge against those who have wronged them?
- If a person does hold a grudge against another, what should they do about it?