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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Community Quote #2 -- Forgiveness

Sojourners sends these little snippet emails that are a delight to receive. They are free and thought provoking. One of their offerings is called "Verse and Voice." It is daily scripture and compelling quotes. I enjoy receiving these emails from Sojourners. If you are interested in receiving their free materials, you can sign up here.

Today's included another gem on community:

"Too many people come into community to find something, to belong to a dynamic group, to find a life which approaches the ideal. If we come into community without knowing that the reason we come is to discover the mystery of forgiveness, we will soon be disappointed." - Jean Vanier Community and Growth

Some times we enter into community knowing it will help us grow. Often times we enter into community without the foresight that this growth often comes through the trials we encounter when we are in relationship with other believers. Forgiving a brother or a sister is often much more difficult than extending forgiveness to those outside the community of faith. "After all," we reason, "they're a Christian. They should know better."

I'm not exactly sure what Vanier meant by "mystery of forgiveness." Is it the mystery on why God would send His Son so we can have forgiveness? Is it the mystery that we are called to extend the forgiveness we have received to those who wrong us? Is it the amazing mystery of the power and freedom that comes from forgiving? I'm not sure, but I expect a little bit of all of that and more.

One final thought from Scripture: "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13 (NIV)


Update 9:30 p.m.: This must be the theme of the day. I went to church this evening, and our pastor was talking about making our relationships right with the people with whom we have a problem. Then on my drive home, John Tesh was talking about how holding grudges weakens your immune system. Well, I ain't the brightest crayon in the box, but this theme was even obvious to me.

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