And He Always Forgave Us

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

Gospel – November 11, 2019 – Luke 17:1-6

Jesus says to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on our guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry’,
your should forgive him.

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it would obey you.”

When I was young we had a teacher in the 6th grade – a man – who couldn’t bring himself to be stern. For a group of 6th grade boys, that was like blood in the water for sharks. We knew we could get away with just about anything with him. All we had to do was apologize when we got caught. And he always forgave us.

Since we knew it we shared the information with everyone we could find.

The difference here was a man who practiced the gift of forgiveness and a bunch of brats who took advantage and led others to do mean things they probably wouldn’t have done without us placing the impediment of having no impediments in their way. We were the devil’s toolbox.

Years later when I heard he had passed I couldn’t help but cry – not for him – but for all of us who never went back to him with a sincere apology. He deserved it and i owed it. I don’t know how much that hurt was part of me becoming what I am today. I know I can’t help but think of him when I am in a low place and remember his constant hope that this time our apology was sincere.

I have tried many times to forgive myself as easily as my teacher forgave me but I always go back and pick up that time of shame. It’s something I wear quite well. But I let it go for longer times now. Pray that I one day never return to lift it once more onto my tired shoulders.

To all, it is almost impossible to forgive others if you cannot forgive yourself.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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