Forgiveness

Reading 1 / Genesis 18:20-32

In those days, the LORD said: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.”

While Abraham’s visitors walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham. Then Abraham drew nearer and said: “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?” The LORD replied, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” He answered, “I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there.” But Abraham persisted, saying “What if only forty are found there?” He replied, “I will forbear doing it for the sake of the forty.” Then Abraham said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied, “I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there.” Still Abraham went on, “Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” The LORD answered, “I will not destroy it, for the sake of the twenty.” But he still persisted: “Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?” He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

  • Boy, Abraham is constantly put to the test, isn’t he?  God saying that He has to get down off of His throne to see what’s going on inside of Sodom and Gomorrah is like my Dad telling us Kids in the backseat that if we didn’t cut it out, he was going to turn around the car.  The point of a Father’s rebuke is not so much about what He says, but it’s more about how we react.  Just like us Kids fumbling to explain who’s done what, Abraham fumbles over how God could destroy any righteous people that might be in the cities.  My Dad never did turn around the car – we got the point.  And, the infinite God didn’t get off of His throne to go check things out for himself.  How do we react to God’s call?  Where in our lives is He calling to us and how are we responding?

Responsorial Psalm / Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8

R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.R.
Because of your kindness and your truth; for you have made great above all things your name and your promise. When I called you answered me; you built up strength within me.
R.
The LORD is exalted, yet the lowly he sees, and the proud he knows from afar. Though I walk amid distress, you preserve me; against the anger of my enemies you raise your hand.
R.
Your right hand saves me. The LORD will complete what he has done for me; your kindness, O LORD, endures forever; forsake not the work of your hands. R.

  • As Knights of Christ, we are called to construct our earthly roundtables.  There is one almost fool-proof way to determine who has earned the right to sit at your table – or for you to sit at theirs’.  Ask yourself:  “Who would come and help me if I had a flat tire at 2 AM?”  That’s a very telling question.  The Knights we surround ourselves with and let into the inner rooms of our Souls are the ones that would come – without question.  They’d get up; they’re reliable; they’re always willing to help if we would just ask them.  God is no different in this regard.  If you call Him, He will come.  2 AM.  Rain or shine.  He’s more reliable than the U.S. Postal Service.  The problem that we can have both with God and our fellow Knights is that, as stubborn men, don’t ask for help.  It’s considered unmanly to do so in some societies and circles.  But, even Jesus, begged for help the night before His crucifixion in the garden of Gethsemane.  He walked away and prayed alone constantly.  If Jesus asked for help, why don’t we?  What’s keeping us from asking for constant help from God?  From our fellow Knights?

Reading 2 / Colossians 2:12-14

Brothers and sisters: You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.

  • Forgiveness.  This is a tough one for most of us.  Matthew West has a wonderful song that’s titled, “Forgiveness“.  The lyrics are just below.  If we would just accept our forgiveness from God, then we would be free men indeed.  Free to love.  Free to forgive.  Completely free.  In a world that is often upside down to His values, we are called to forgive; no matter what.  While dying on the cross, Jesus, Himself, looked down at those jeering and crying and begged his Father to, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Matthew 23:34)  To be a complete “forgiver” is not possible alone in our flesh, but, “with God, all things are possible”  (Matthew 19:26)  When the Apostles asked Jesus how often they should forgive others, “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!”” (Matthew 18:22).  It’s not coincidence that “Matthew” West would write a song about forgiveness – the Gospel of Matthew is laced with forgiveness.  What is stopping us from forgiving everyone?  How can we beg God to help us to forgive everyone, everywhere?
  • “Forgiveness”
  • It’s the hardest thing to give away
    And the last thing on your mind today
    It always goes to those that don’t deserveIt’s the opposite of how you feel
    When the pain they caused is just too real
    It takes everything you have just to say the word…Forgiveness
    ForgivenessIt flies in the face of all your pride
    It moves away the mad inside
    It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
    Even when the jury and the judge
    Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
    It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’Forgiveness, Forgiveness
    Forgiveness, Forgiveness

    Show me how to love the unlovable
    Show me how to reach the unreachable
    Help me now to do the impossible

    Forgiveness, Forgiveness

    Help me now to do the impossible
    Forgiveness

    It’ll clear the bitterness away
    It can even set a prisoner free
    There is no end to what it’s power can do
    So, let it go and be amazed
    By what you see through eyes of grace
    The prisoner that it really frees is you

    Forgiveness, Forgiveness
    Forgiveness, Forgiveness

    Show me how to love the unlovable
    Show me how to reach the unreachable
    Help me now to do the impossible
    Forgiveness

    I want to finally set it free
    So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
    Help me now to give what You gave to me
    Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Alleluia / Romans 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a Spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father.”
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

  • Most people don’t know that I’m adopted.  I’ve got my “original” Mom, but, when I was 8 years old, my Mom married my “new” Dad.  My new Dad adopted me.  The judge came to the law office where my Mom worked to perform the civil service and the adoption.  But, just before we completed the adoption part, he turned to me to make sure that I knew what was going on.  He explained that my “new” Dad wanted to officially be my Father.  I nodded.  He then explained how my name was going to change.  I nodded.  He then asked, “So, what would you like your name to be.”  To which I replied, “Anthony”.  All kidding aside, once we surrender to God, we have been adopted by Him, because, like me when I was 8, we said “yes”.  A simple “yes” changes everything.  How often do we think about how we were adopted?  Or, as our evangelical Cousins would say, “Born Again”?  How has it changed us?

Gospel / Luke 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

  • “Again”.  The now immortal words of Herb Brooks, the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Coach made famous when Team USA won Gold in Lake Placid (watch the “Again” scene).  Most people can remember either watching the hockey “live” on TV and/or watching the wonderful movie starring Kurt Russell, “Miracle on Ice“.  Or how about the last 10 seconds of “Rocky II” when both Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa are both knocked down on the canvas and Adrienne screams, “Get up.”  We must “get up” (Deuteronomy 2:13), “again” and “again” (like St. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:18).  We must “fight the good fight of Faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).   “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)  There is a great song by Chris Tomlin called, “I Will Rise” – the lyrics are below.  It reminds us that, in the end, we will all rise with Him in eternity – cuts, scrapes, wounds (internal & external), and all.  No matter what we do in this world, we are forgiven in Him.  A Deacon recently told me that there is only one (1) unforgivable sin.  It’s the sin that we don’t openly ask God to  forgive.  How can we “rise” again and again and again?  Are we asking for God’s help in our daily tribulations to help us rise again and again?
  • “I Will Rise”
  • There’s a peace I’ve come to know
    Though my heart and flesh may fail
    There’s an anchor for my soul
    I can say “It is well”Jesus has overcome
    And the grave is overwhelmed
    The victory is won
    He is risen from the dead[Chorus:]
    And I will rise when He calls my name
    No more sorrow, no more pain
    I will rise on eagles’ wings
    Before my God fall on my knees
    And rise
    I will riseThere’s a day that’s drawing near
    When this darkness breaks to light
    And the shadows disappear
    And my faith shall be my eyesJesus has overcome
    And the grave is overwhelmed
    The victory is won
    He is risen from the dead

    [Chorus:]
    And I will rise when He calls my name
    No more sorrow, no more pain
    I will rise on eagles’ wings
    Before my God fall on my knees
    And rise
    I will rise

    And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
    “Worthy is the Lamb”
    And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
    “Worthy is the Lamb”
    [x2]

    [Chorus:]
    And I will rise when He calls my name
    No more sorrow, no more pain
    I will rise on eagles’ wings
    Before my God fall on my knees
    And rise
    I will rise

Reflection of the Week

How can we achieve so much more together as Men as Christ versus in our individual worlds and lives?  How can one show of love turn into two, and then three, and so on.  Watch what happened when one little girl dropped a coin into a hat of a simple street musician.  Remember St. Paul’s famous line in Hebrews (13:2), “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Published by Gregg McDonald

Gregg McDonald is a Founding Member of Men As Christ (MAC); an int'l Christian Faith Group that shares the Word of God with ~30,000 people around the world in 114 countries. He is all about Faith, Family, and Love and enjoys the opportunity to share God's love with everyone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: