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Forgiveness: central to Christian life

From the April 2014 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Who hasn’t been in a position to forgive? It may be in a circumstance as everyday as when someone has cut us off in traffic and we’re tempted to react angrily, or when we’ve been nursing a grudge as a result of a perceived personal betrayal, or have felt victimized by an act of violence. Whatever the situation, our willingness to forgive can be a springboard to spiritual growth and healing, and to more spiritual views of life.

The life and teachings of Christ Jesus make clear that forgiveness is central to Christian life. In fact, forgiveness was crucial to Jesus’ healing and saving mission. Yes, he was quick to point out mistakes and hypocrisy, but at no time did he condemn anyone. He condemned sin, but he always forgave the so-called sinner, which led to the individual’s regeneration and healing, as illustrated in the case of a man he healed of the palsy (see Luke 5:24).

Jesus taught forgiveness in every circumstance, making it a part of the one prayer—the Lord’s Prayer—he taught his disciples (“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” Matthew 6:12), the spiritual consciousness of which will instantaneously heal the sick, wrote Mary Baker Eddy (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 16).

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