KEEPING THE FAITH: The scars of forgiveness

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM.

It won’t necessarily make you feel good about your son-in-law, your ex-wife, or your step-son who is bleeding you dry. And it is a guarantee that when you try to forgive or reconcile with some people, it will bounce off of them like a rock skipping across flat water.

Consider Christ himself. With the central act of God’s loving grace, Christians believe that Jesus died on a cross and was resurrected from the dead, bringing life and forgiveness to all. But even the risen Jesus has scars. As he appeared to his disciples in the cross’s aftermath, he showed them his pierced hands and feet. The wounds were no longer fresh and flowing, but the marks were there.

Jesus did what he did, deliberately. He chose to become this suffering symbol of all that had gone wrong with the world, the personification of the shameful way humanity spurns God’s embrace, harms each other, and injures creation. Further, those whom Christ loves, many of them, will never in their lifetimes respond to this love.

They will never acknowledge it. They will never embrace it. They will never be changed by it. In fact, many become hostile toward his love, but Christ does not obliterate those who could be considered his enemies. He loves them still, and his scars prove as much, for his scars mark the conclusion of all required and necessary wounding.

His scars are undying signs that the damage which humans inflict on one another can mercifully end. His scars can resolve all disputes and end all animosities, not by means of unending revenge, but with eternal forgiveness. May we who bear the name of Christ, also “bear on our bodies the scars that show we belong to Jesus” — the scars of forgiveness.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.



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