Reflection

From Pastor Rick Mast

Forgiveness

How do we deal with/sort out transgressions? What means/tools we humans might have to make things right following a wrong against us?

We might answer “justice”. But look at the ambiguity of the rhetoric of justice. It is difficult to quantify the amount of grief, of misery, of brutality that is being justified, being warranted by talk of justice, of seeking justice. Justice fails to deliver what it promises. Just look at the middle East and the downward spiral there: first there are desperate violent acts for attention and demands for changes toward justice for the Palestinians, followed by Israeli retaliation, followed by further retaliatory acts and thus the downward spiral – all in the name of justice. Both sides use the rhetoric of justice in this horrendous downward spiral of misery. The language of justice is used both to oppose and to generate terrorism – on both sides, depending on which side you happen to be on.

Believing that God came as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ (a marginalized Jew in occupied Palestine), meant that a lot of incredible claims were (and still are being) made. The claim that Jesus was truly God and truly human has enormous implications, implications which we would have to have courage and conviction to believe (if we are going to have integrity about actually believing it).

One such implication has to do with forgiveness of sins. We say that God forgives our sins, our transgressions; and that this is done through the Incarnation. Jesus Christ forgives transgressions because in God crucified we have the one who alone is able to bring real justice, on behalf of the victim, because the victim is in God, and God in the victim. When you do these things to the least of these, you do them to me…