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Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. . . Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other. . . discover beauty in everyone. Thoughts from Romans 12, The Message, by Eugene Peterson.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. ~Mother Teresa

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~Peter Ustinov

This week I am reading and studying a book on forgiveness… Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis, by L Gregory Jones. In the introduction, Mr. Jones states that

“forgiveness is not so much a word spoken, an action performed, or a feeling felt as it is an embodied way of life in an ever-deepening friendship with the Triune God and with others. As such, a Christian account of forgiveness ought not simply or even primarily be focused on the absolution of guilt; rather, it ought to be focused on the reconciliation of brokenness, the restoration of communion – with God, with one another and with the whole Creation.”

I believe that to practice forgiveness as an embodied way of life, that practice must come from the center of ourselves, by loving God and loving one another. In order to love and live in communion with God and others, we must practice and develop the craft of forgiveness, an on-going process of unlearning sin through forgiveness, and of learning, through specific habits and practices in community, to live in communion. As followers of Jesus Christ, as members of the family of God, our priority should be to offer love, compassion and the creative and free gift of new life in Christ, in the face of the sin and evil we all experience in the world.

For a deeper and godly love to radiate from the center of who we are we must, through words and action, bring God’s reconciliation through Christ to bear on our own lives and in the concrete situations in which people around us find themselves. In some situations, that love in action may require heroics and possibly suffering. In other situations, it may require patterns of reconciliation and reconstruction. But in whatever situation we find ourselves, to respond to sin and evil with love will involve us in “seeing forgiveness as an innovative gesture, patterned in Christ, that breaks apart those habits and forces that diminish and destroy. In this sense, forgiveness is an invitation to imagine and embody a future, a future revealed in God’s Kingdom that is not bound by the past or condemned to repeat it.” (p. 90)

In order for God’s love to touch the center of who we are we must daily experience His forgiveness for our own mental, spiritual, emotional and physical restoration. Only then can we love others from the center of who we are.


Cynthia on Twitter

August 2020