Text: Matthew 5:21-26
For confidence in God’s forgiveness
For joy in forgiving others
For courage in asking others’ forgiveness
I READ THE OTHER DAY that the “center” for Lutheran theology is the forgiveness of sins that God offers to men and women. Other church traditions may have additional points or nodes to which they can fall back if one particular teaching proves slack; Lutheranism, which has from the beginning declared that justification is the point on which the Church stands or falls, has no such “fall-back” positions. Either we will live as a forgiven people, a people to whom God has drawn near, or we will not.
For instance, all our talk about forgiveness of sins makes it easy to forget who really needs our forgiveness. We focus our efforts on the relationship with God, overlooking that the balm of forgiveness needs to flow freely among members of a parish, between members of a family, around a neighborhood. The next time you stand before the altar, remembering your sins and thanking God for his mercy, consider that it is the person standing next to you who may need your mercy—and act as one forgiven, as one to whom God has delightedly drawn near.
“Forgive our sins, as we forgive,”
you taught us, Lord to pray;
But you alone can grant us grace
to live the words we say.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks