Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Do you love to forgive?

It was during Evening Prayer on Monday at a typical gathering of priests that I heard it. Someone was reading the Gospel and I was aimlessly trying to filter the events of the day through those words. I was sort of listening to what was actually being read. Then I heard it. I heard something in a fresh way. It was these lines from Luke 7:47:

"Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many,
have been forgiven;
hence she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven,
loves little."

Do you want to be capable of more love? Get forgiveness. These are the words of Jesus as he comments on the actions of the woman who bathed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. In addition to this, she did an even more amazing thing right in front of everyone. She "continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment" from the alabaster jar. This is pretty intimate behavior, yet Jesus allowed it, and it happened at a dinner party, for goodness sake! (Luke 7:36-50)

On Monday, a truth of this story became more real for me. That is, forgiveness makes room for love. Conversely, unforgiveness shuts out love. Maybe this is why Isaiah the Prophet says that our sins have separated between us and God.

If we seek God's forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people we have hurt, this frees us up to love more. If we forgive other people the wrongs they have dealt us, we make room for love to have the right of way in our lives. This is so liberating that we will wonder why we had not been more thorough in giving and receiving forgiveness. Is this a good trade, or what?

So -- do you love to forgive, or do you forgive to love? I hope the answer is yes to both questions.

In peace,

Linda +
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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