Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another Mystery: God's Forgiving Love

Luke 7: 36-50
Why should God forgive those who have offended him much less others? How do you answer that question? Before replying consider what God might see as offenses in our world: murder, abortion, hatred, geed that harms others, immoral behavior, theft, diluted or rejected praise and honor to himself, the Creator -- just to cite a few!
Too often, perchance, we take for granted forgiveness. All of these transgressions fall beneath the loving pardon of God. Perhaps we fail to understand the incredible mystery of his love for sinners. You might be asking, "What mystery? I know God forgives, God loves." Recall John's well-know words: "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son ..." for our redemption.
Would you give a son, a daughter or a loved one as a sacrifice to pay back for the offenses of others against you? Of course not! Yet it is the life and death of Jesus -- God's gift of forgiveness -- that is the mystery. How could God elect to forgive through the suffering and death of his only Son? Does it make any sense? Really, does it? And even more incredulous: the greater the sin, the more outpoured loving forgiveness! Adolf Hiler? Osama bin Laden? African and South American Dictators? American racists? This forgiveness mystery is truly a challenge when we confront the realities of horrific and tortuous crimes. Isn't it hard enough to forgiven the relative or neighbor who may have harmed us? Imagine the more recent collection of collegiate murders, of innocent young children being abducted and killed. How do I react when I recall that God sent his only Son not to be judge but to be the one who would make manifest the mysterious forgiving love of God.