Thursday, October 14, 2010

That Difficult Task of Forgiveness

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.

Why is forgiving so difficult? Few of the stories of injustice end in forgiveness; usually it’s a cry for revenge, or at least justice to provide “closure” to the incident. My mind goes back to a number of Amish children killed in a schoolhouse some years ago; some of you will remember it. In this remarkable episode the community came together and issued a statement that they would forgive the perpetrator.

Did this mean that the killer got away free? Unlikely, as he had to answer to the law, not the parents. The Amish understood that God is the avenger, in most cases by the authorities He has instituted, Romans 13:1–7. What was important for the community was that smouldering anger and resentment did not interfere with their service to God and one another.

That doesn’t mean that it was all over for them after a few words. Injustice and grief like that creates difficult tensions in our spirit and takes time to process. I’m sure that many of you have had to deal with some form of violence or violation that took time to forgive, but you experienced that relief and peace that floods the soul when the anger is finally shed.

It’s when we realize our greater sin against God is forgiven, we may sense a bond with, even compassion for, the perpetrators. They may not accept our forgiveness, even deny their fault against us, but forgiveness in our hearts provides peace to ourselves, as much as to them.

Can you identify with that?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pro-Lifers Arrested

I continue to be appalled at the ignorance or rationalization that perpetuates the wholesale slaughter of human life within the womb. Every year, 100,000 in Canada, one million in the US, and countless more millions worldwide have their lives terminated. The Nazi holocaust has nothing on this.

Below is a short letter I sent to both the Lethbridge and Calgary Heralds and the National Post. It notes the conflict within the Canadian psyche highlighted by the arrest of pro-life advocates at Carlton University. Liberal thinking clearly trumpets its compassionate nature, but continues to lessen the importance of human life with its intransigent stand for abortion on demand and continuing calls for euthanasia.

Yet this decrease in the sanctity of life is inevitable as the nation slides from the dignity of every human life conferred by the likeness of God within. Discarding a God of any consequence simply leaves no life safe from capricious human concepts that dictate whose life is of value.

Certainly, the Carlton pro-lifers are fodder for a ruthless abortion lobby that must quell opposition at any cost to silence the voice of conscience within. I doubt these young people will be the last victims as long as they raise awareness of this intolerable violence against the children awarded to our care.

Here is the letter. I have yet to see it published.

The arrest of pro-life activists at Carlton University proves what a nation of hypocrites we are! We condemn those who deny the Nazi holocaust, yet want to hide the evidence of the holocaust taking place under our noses. Tearing human life from the protective womb of its mother will always be a moral issue, however much we try to stifle discussion and cover it up.

How to Thank on Thanksgiving

"Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.” Exodus 23:16.

I found the title for this blog in the Postmedia News. “This should be interesting,” I thought, “a piece on how to be thankful.” And then followed several paragraphs on thanking your hostess for an invitation to thanksgiving dinner! How paltry, when Thanksgiving is a time of thankfulness to God for his bounteous provision.

Of course, practical atheists—those who may believe in a God of some kind, but consider Him irrelevant to life—have a problem: when they are thankful, they have no one to be thankful to! Just thank those who prepared the meal but had nothing to do with its provision. Scripture is clear, lack of thankfulness to God is the first step to sidelining Him and descending into folly.

Romans 1:21 reminds us, “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” It’s a bit like doing a shirt or blouse up, starting with the wrong button, all subsequent buttons are out of place. Failing to be thankful to God distorts all our other thinking.

But be careful of criticizing others; the same omission may be affecting our walk with God. There’s nothing like making a list of all the things we can be thankful for to give us a fresh perspective on life. Even in extremity, we can recognize God’s goodness and provision, especially his grace and forgiveness toward us.

This Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity.