“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
(So, I wrote a short reflection on my social media posting. And one of my friends shared her response. I gave some more thought about the challenges of practicing love and forgiveness in our lives. Please read below.)
Today’s reflection comes from our lectionary readings from the New Testament, 1 John 3:16-24. Verse 16 says: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers [and sisters].” This is such a great challenge for each of us. One area we can practice this unselfish love is in the area of forgiveness. Jesus taught the prayer “to forgive those who offended us” (Matthew 6:12). Paul said to forgive others as Christ forgave each of us (Ephesians 4:32). Adele A. Calhoun puts it this way: “A person who forgives joins one’s heart to Jesus’ heart for sinners, and risks that love can lead a wrongdoer to repentance and into the arms of God.” (Spiritual Disciplines Handbook. 2015:213). The practice of forgiveness brings us closer to the presence of Christ Himself. May you find God’s love real and present in your life today.
My friend shares: "Yes! I’m saddened by loved ones who are holding grudges and ruining their lives. Any suggestions how to help them?"
My thoughts: "Crystal [not her real name], there is no easy answer here. We need lots of prayer seasoned with compassion, and simple acts of love and kindness filled with Christ's humility. In addition, I would suggest they get connected to a community of trusted and encouraging friends. May the Lord help us all."