The Inside Column 24/03

Posted in: The Inside Column- Mar 24, 2019 No Comments

Good morning and welcome to St Barnabas Stoke – if you are visiting today we hope you encounter God’s goodness and love for you as you join us in worshipping Him, please feel free to stick around afterwards for a coffee and a chat.

On Wednesday 1 May I will be heading over to London for the HTB leadership conferences as part of my professional development, with Simon Martin (All Saints) and Ian Hussy (St Barnabas). As you will know Greta and I went to the same conference a couple of years ago and had a wonderful time.

Apart from going to the conference we will be, attending several churches, meeting with other Church leaders and might even catch up with a couple of Bishops! I will be heading up to Leeds to visit a friends’ Church for a weekend as well. We will be back home on Friday 17 May.

I have been thinking about forgiveness in the light of what happened in Christchurch. How does forgiveness works in the face of such hatred?

I came across this Essay on Forgiveness from C.S. Lewis:

We say a great many things in church (and out of church too) without thinking of what we are saying. For instance, we say in the Creed ” I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” I had been saying it for several years before I asked    myself why it was in the Creed. At first sight it seems hardly worth putting in. “If one is a Christian,” I thought ” of course one believes in the forgiveness of sins. It goes without saying.” But the people who compiled the Creed      apparently thought that this was a part of our belief which we needed to be reminded of every time we went to church. And I have   begun to see that, as far as I am concerned, they were right. To believe in the forgiveness of sins is not so easy as I thought. Real belief in it is the sort of thing that easily slips away if we don’t keep on polishing it up.

Now it seems to me that we often make a mistake both about God’s forgiveness of our sins and about the forgiveness we are told to offer to other people’s sins. Take it first about God’s forgiveness, I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different. I am   asking him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world    between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says, “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense forgiveness and excusing are    almost opposites.

 

Food for thought…

 

 

Yours in Christ

 

Philip

 

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