Who Is Forgiveness For?

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission. http://www.GregOlsen.com

Gospel – 3/6/20 – Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

We’ve been hearing the idea of forgiveness a lot lately. Today it continues.

Jesus was the best at hyperbole and when to use it. He makes drastic statements to prove a more simple lesson. You don’t need to look at the words so much as what he’s really saying. When he says not only must we not kill but we can’t be angry with someone – do we believe he’s saying we can’t be angry at someone – ever? I don’t think so. I think he’s saying we must hold life dear. Don’t spend your life in useless exercises of holding others to standards we don’t want to be held to like being forever the Hatfields and McCoys.

We have to forgive hurts or we can’t be forgiven. If we can’t forgive others is it such a leap we can’t forgive OUR failings? If we can’t forgive ourselves we truly will experience Gehenna.

I believe God is so loving he wants us with him for eternity. Jesus agrees. I also believe we are so broken we can’t go through this life without others. Jesus agrees. I believe in Purgatory because we aren’t perfect even when forgiven and I can’t stand before God imperfect. That’s a talk for another time.

Today Jesus – through hyperbole – almost pleads with us to become better. He wants us to live a life worthy of Creation.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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