Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sun. Jan. 1, 2012 (Henry Neufeld)

Hauerwas once told of someone who prayed for forgiveness during prayer time in church, only to have the pastor tell him afterward that he was not forgiven. The pastor pointed out that the person first had to offer reparations and try to undo the wrong, even if the cost might be enormous. We often realize that we need to ask someone for forgiveness, yet we seldom ask; in fact, it is something that would be very difficulty to do, and we may not even have any models to follow since the asking is a private matter rather than public. The book, "Amish Grace" told of the Amish forgiving the man who murdered their school children, but someone in their community of faith noted that it is easier to forgive an outsider than to forgive a friend. Forgiveness and reparation are closely linked in scripture, yet this is seldom taught in evangelical circles. Instead, we hope that our offering but one sentence will somehow cover all the ongoing hurt we have caused someone. After the talk, some interesting questions were asked. How do forgiveness and reparation interrelate with grace? Is forgiveness like scar tissue--still there but having life under the scar tissue? Do Catholics feel forgiven if they only go to confession rather than to the hurt individual? When are we forgiven? [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, January 1st, 2012 using your browser's preferred media player.



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