Peter asked this question of Jesus, and ofthen Petere offfered an answer that he thought would be generous. But Jesus goes way beyond what Peter, or most any of us, would imagine. In other words, God’s ideas of forgiveness matches His love and grace.
But now what about the really evil and wicked things that people have done to others? Does God want us to forgive them also?
Today our nation is remembering the horrific events of 9/11/01. Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. And we heard about the number of people involved, and the destruction it caused.
Some time ago I read an article about Lutheran chaplains in Germany right after World War II, who met with and prayed with Nazi soldiers who had been involved in the murdering of Jewish people in the concentration camps.
And no doubt you can add to these examples of those who have committed heinous crimes that make us sick just thinking about them.
So what does God think of all this? And what does He want us to do about it?
First of all, God grieves with all who grieve. And He certainly wants us to prevent evil from happening. But when it does happen, God has the way to respond that brings healing and renewal. And it begins with forgiveness! Coming from the same forgiveness that God in Christ brought to all the world when He suffered, died and rose again and brought forgiveness of all sins, and gift of salvation to all the world.
I know: it is not easy to forgive. And I am sure I cannot imagine what some people have experienced when asked to forgive. So we need patience with one another. And prayer. And certainty that God grieves with us, and is patient with all of us. Most of all, know that God continues to be with us, and to work the strength and will to love and forgive, as He has for all the world!
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Copyright 2023. Resurrection Lutheran Church, New Berlin, WI
RESURRECTION LUTHERAN CHURCH
Rev. Steve Rutter, Pastor
Julie Johnson, Worship Music Coordinator
Steph Albert, Worship Music
Larry Gnatzig, Office Administration
12400 West Coldspring Road
New Berlin, Wisconsin 53151