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‘Father, how can I forgive?’

From the July 2016 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Forgiveness, one of the great Christian concepts, is easy to think about, not so easy to do. Questions rush in: “How can I forgive the unforgivable?” “How can I get beyond the hurt done to me?” “What if I don’t want to forgive?”

But it is a requirement if we want to experience God’s mercy. Just mouthing the words or going through the motions isn’t enough. A deep regeneration of thought is needed before forgiveness is attained. A line in the Lord’s Prayer provides a helpful insight. It reads, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Obviously, if we want forgiveness, in that proportion we need to forgive.

For me, Jesus’ words while he was being crucified present the highest example of forgiveness. He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Is it possible that his willingness to forgive helped him overcome the most challenging experience of his life—the need to overcome death itself? What he understood and saw spiritually enabled him to forgive his murderers, and it undoubtedly was essential to his consummate demonstration for humanity—his resurrection.

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