Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff~ Forgiveness

24 Feb

“Turning the other cheek isn’t submissive. It’s defiant.”

Roy H. Williams

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A glorious sunny day for my first Mass in our new St. Gabriel the Archangel church. Mary and I were positioned at the huge heavy doors on the right, and others were at the doors on the left. Interesting observation… although everyone walked up the center stairs, the majority of people entered on the right side. I momentarily flattered myself by thinking that it was because people wanted to say good morning to me and Mary. Then, it occurred to me that people are creatures of habit, and mostly right handed and right brained, thus entering on the right. Well, so much for flattery.

The huge heavy wooden doors were difficult to keep opening and closing. Mary joked and said that she and I would need to alternate pulling the doors open so as to strengthen both sides of our biceps, because we were getting a workout. I feel stronger already.

The service was beautiful and the bishop and several guest priests joined in officiating.

Today’s Gospel was the old familiar “turn the other cheek” story. Gosh, that’s a tough one, isn’t it? It goes on to tell us to love our enemies, forgive our debtors and those who have hurt us, be compassionate to all and do not judge, and treat others as you would like people to treat you.

Gospel, Luke 6:27-38

27 ‘But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.

29 To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic…

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My take on it… as the quote says…

“Turning the other cheek isn’t submissive. It’s defiant.”

Roy H. Williams

I think you can turn the other cheek in defiance, BUT in my humble personal opinion, you can only turn your cheek so many times until it turns into abuse and cruelty. I don’t believe God wants anyone to be abused. Yes, stand up and show your strength by not flinching at the first slap, but then it’s time to walk away.

Yes, pray for your enemies and those who hurt you, but you don’t have to be a punching bag. You can loan money and be generous and forgive the debt, but you don’t have to let people rob you at gun point and say, “Thanks, anything else I can do for you?”

Now, here’s the part I have been struggling with for a LONG time…FORGIVE and you will be forgiven. I honestly pray for those who have hurt me, and I try to be kind and generous at all times, but to forgive everyone for anything?

We’ve had this discussion in our support group at church and I generally get a sideways look when we discuss forgiveness. When someone says God forgives everyone of all their sins no matter what, then I have to disagree. I do believe if you are sincerely sorry for something you have done, then God will forgive, and so would I. But, you can’t murder, steal, lie, cheat, betray, stab people in the back and harm others without remorse, and just spit in God’s face and expect all to be forgiven. Nope! Otherwise, why bother having commandments or rules or morals. Just take what you want and do as you please, all is forgiven. Who cares? Everyone goes to heaven, open doors, murder away. No, no, no! (You can tell this is a sore subject with me.) Sincere remorse or regret and asking for forgiveness is necessary. (Just my opinion.)

I’d love to hear your view or comments on the subject. Feel free to say what you think or blast me out of the water. “I’ll turn the other cheek.”

3 Responses to “Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff~ Forgiveness”

  1. Barbara Revor February 25, 2019 at 12:35 am #

    We are called to forgive. Many Christians believe that means all the time and to anyone, but I agree with you. We cannot naïvely allow others to abuse us. That is not what God would want. There is a good part of forgiveness that helps us heal, but not everyone wants our forgiveness. Some don’t think they have done anything wrong to rate forgiveness. This is a very knotty issue!

    • toniandrukaitis February 25, 2019 at 2:16 am #

      I’m glad I’m not alone. I was starting to think that I was a terrible Christian because I can’t forgive certain things. I’ll pray for the sinner to find redemption, but I pray that God will forgive them. All I can do right now. I’m ok with that.

  2. Jolene Kappes February 25, 2019 at 6:01 am #

    Forgiveness is surely a mystery and a struggle to understand. I have faith that forgiveness is freely given by God because of God’s great love for creation. Forgiveness is given by God not IF or WHEN we ask, but long BEFORE we ask. Thinking of God as a loving parent illustrates this, as in the Story of the Prodigal. In God’s eyes, we are children, and God wants us to relate positively to one another. So again, thinking of God as a good parent, God does not want one child to hurt another, nor does God want one child to ALLOW themselves to be hurt, because both hurting and being hurt, hurt God’s family. Being hurt does not make us a good child in God’s eyes, but rather makes us a wounded child, and a wounded child is not free to be who God empowers that child to be. To be resolute in not letting someone continue to hurt you is not a sign that you are unforgiving, it is simply the way we are meant by God to protect ourselves, to protect our relationship to God, and to protect the health of God’s family. When we’ve been hurt, God expects that we will remember the hurt and the one who caused it. Holding that can be good because it can protect us from further hurt. Holding the memory of hurt and who hurt us is bad only if we put ourselves in God’s place and presume to know who God will or will not forgive, or if we use the memory of hurt to isolate ourselves and stop growing our ability to relate to others. Thank you, Toni, for challenging us to think about forgiveness.

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