Reflection by Scott Stoner
If forgiveness is a choice, then it follows that at some point we will ask, “Why make the choice to practice forgiveness?” The reflections for both today and tomorrow will respond to this question, exploring two different motivations for choosing to forgive.
As people of faith, our first answer to this question is that our faith teaches us to do so. Jesus offers numerous teachings on forgiveness, including the one above from the Gospel of Matthew. The message here could not be any clearer: when it comes to forgiveness there is no keeping score; we are to offer forgiveness without ceasing.
Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness flow directly from his radical teachings about love, where he calls us not just to love those who love us, but to love our enemies, to love those we find extremely challenging to love. Extending this to forgiveness, Jesus calls us to forgive, even when it’s difficult, even when we don’t necessarily feel like it.
Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness also calls us to honest examination, like when he asks, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). Sometimes it is our own resistance to letting go of resentment that becomes a log in our eye, blocking our ability to see that forgiveness is a choice. Jesus goes on to ask us to remove the log in our own eyes so that we can more clearly see the way of love that is the way of Jesus.
Making It Personal: How strongly does your faith guide your choice to practice forgiveness? Have you ever made a hard choice to forgive, not because you felt like it, but because you felt called to do so by your faith? Do you see a connection between the scripture that speaks of the log in our own eyes and choosing to forgive?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.