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Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

To Follow Jesus

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I was reminded of a bumper sticker I’d seen before when Bishop Will Willimon mentioned it in his talk this morning.  It reads “If you want peace, work for justice.”

 

As Bishop Willimon continued to talk, my mind went to my own little “here’s a better bumper sticker” (you can tell that humility isn’t my strong suit).  My bumper sticker would read, “If you want peace, forgive.”

 

I admit that many, many times in my life, for myself and for others, I often want justice.  I believe it is every person’s right to have justice.  But actually, it is God’s business and not mine to effect justice.  God already forgives.  God tells us not to seek vengence or to seek revenge for a wrong done to us.  God through Jesus Christ taught us that if we want peace, we must forgive.

 

This is so counter-cultural.  This is so “Jesus” because it is so paradoxical to what our own bent is when we or a group of people we know have been wronged, when those in power oppress and exploit those who cannot protect themselves.  I was reminded by a priest last year that God called me to forgive and to leave the justice aspect to God.  I was not at peace because I kept wanting justice because I wanted to feel vindicated and I didn’t want to forgive.  It is a hard word to hear – “you must forgive.” But it is a word to not only hear but to obey.

 

To forgive is to be thought of as stupid.  And yet if we say we really follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we have to follow them and not just consider them suggestions we can neglect or put aside.

 

The greatest challenge I face is to FORGIVE.

 

And until I do, I can only pretend that I have peace of heart and mind.  However much Jesus says to me, “Peace, be still,”  or “Fear not!” I will not be free until I can and do believe that God in Jesus Christ is indeed the Sovereign God and not just a picture on a wall or on a cross I wear around my neck.

 

If you want peace, forgive.

 

(Now let’s see if we can help the nations of the world to forgive each other)

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