This week after my sermon, I have been thinking about the topic of forgiveness. In my sermon, I referenced the idea that Christians are called to forgive even those who have wronged them (though, not necessarily to restore trust immediately!). I was thinking how strange that is to a world that wants all justice and no grace. We live in a world where everyone is demanding that we get even. But forgiving your enemies is unnerving. Take the Egyptian Christians, who have been routinely persecuted for thousands of years, and yet offer to their persecutors, rather than resentment, forgiveness. In 2017, suicide bombers attacked the Egyptian Christians on Easter Sunday, and a woman widowed by the bombers, went on national TV to say, “May God forgive you, and we also forgive you.” After 10 seconds, the shocked and surprised host stammers out, “The Copts [Christians] of Egypt are made of steel!”
The forgiveness Christians have is unnerving precisely because it is unnatural. It comes from the Lord. Because he forgave us, we forgive.
As we’ll see in our sermon this coming week, this posture of grace happens not only when someone wrongs us, but when we’re doing something as simple as saying, “hello.” Paul gives us an example of this in Philemon 1-3. As we will see, these simple greetings Paul makes are freighted with deep theology and simple dignity.
In Christ’s Love,