Reflections of God's Goodness
March is full of hope for green grass and blooming flowers even when the barren ground of winter remains in sight! Our lives are like the seasons, full of dying and rising, full of darkness and light, full of hope that it’s true: joy does come in the morning! (Ps.30:5)
This dying and rising happens in our relationships as well. Human relationships experience times of closeness and times of distance. No relationship is immune to misunderstanding or hurt. In fact, it seems that one of the paradoxes of human nature is that the closer we are to someone, the harder it can be to forgive them.
Jesus, who teaches us the meaning of sacred friendship, knew what it was like to be hurt by the words and actions of others. Even His very best friends abandoned Him and watched His suffering from a distance. The response of Jesus was and is always “I forgive you”. Radical? Even when He was hanging from the cross, Jesus begged His father to “forgive them.”
Jesus made love the core of his message. Love and forgiveness cannot be separated. We are called to love one another in the radical way Jesus taught. God continues to love us when we fail and forgives us when we do not deserve it. God’s word provides wisdom, insight and inspiration for living our friendships.
The Letter to the Colossians does not hold back when it says,
put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another,…as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
It’s not easy. Our emotions get in the way. Anger, pride and self-defense push against our love. When we have been hurt, choosing to continue to love is hard. Forgiveness is a grace that we need to pray for before we need it!! As we seek to follow Jesus, spending time with His word and letting its message find roots deep in our hearts will help us be open to the grace of forgiveness when we need it.
God in His infinite wisdom knows that not only does unforgiveness drive a wedge into relationships, but it binds us up, twists our emotions, and consumes our minds. Forgiveness frees us…to let “the peace of Christ control our hearts.”
Just as faith asks us to trust in the goodness and love of God, friendship asks us to trust in the goodness of our friend, whom we know. When we forgive one another, we are getting a small taste of God’s own unconditional love for us.
Blessings and Peace,
Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development
Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith,
is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.