Forgive

77 = 7×11…. 70×7=490…. how about 70×7= infinity. Forgiveness is not just a number. Jesus’ parable, and Peter’s question were not about some kind of a magic number – some kind of a limit for forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean condoning, approving or allowing to continue something that is needing to be forgiven. Forgiveness is part of healing, change, repentance and bringing restoration. It means that we actually care enough about something to commit to work to change cycles of harm, fix mistakes, situations of distress. Last week I showed a short video at St. Peter’s – it starts out with the words on the screen – In Rwanda, In 1994, In 100 days, 850,000+ people were killed In the Rwandan genocide. This is Emmanuel’s story. The next scene shows us a man standing and he starts to say how very sorry he is that he murdered your husband, your son, your daughter. How he is filled with sorrow and cannot pay his debt. …and yet somehow God has forgiven me. I don’t understand it, I don’t think I ever will. Somehow God has given me a second chance. There are flashes of the man at various sites and memorials as well as looking out over the countryside. There are a couple of shots of machetes, and of children running in trees. Then the scene cuts to this man, Emmanuel standing in front of a woman, we assume the woman who’s family he killed, and he says, “Please forgive me.” 15 years from 1994 to 2011. Forgiveness is not a slow or easy journey sometimes. It takes work, and commitment, and time. This is what Jesus called the disciples to do, not just understand but to do, to live. This is what we are called to do, and to live. To embody that forgiveness and the love that goes with it. The final scene of the short two minute video is of the woman, who looks up and says, “God forgives you and so do I.” Amen.

PEOPLE OF THE SECOND CHANCE: EMMANUEL’S STORY from PEOPLE OF THE SECOND CHANCE on Vimeo.

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