A Season of Lent: Forgiveness and Healing

“Take words with you
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
“Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good,
and we will offer
the fruit[a] of our lips.”

“I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.” (Hosea 14:2; 14:4)

“Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Matthew 12:32-33)

Real repentance must, like love, be sincere. It’s the other side of the real and lasting forgiveness which heals. Nothing is worse than a perfunctory apology and nothing is so unsatisfying as a forgiveness which does not restore what has been lost and heal what has been hurt. So much of our litigious society relies on compensation when what they really want is an acknowledgement of the wrong and to be healed of what was suffered. This is what God understands about us so well and offers to us through His love.

“There is no better test of a man’s ultimate chivalry and integrity than how he behaves when he is wrong; and Johnson behaved very well. He understood (what so many faultlessly polite people do not understand) that a stiff apology is a second insult. He understood that the injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.” – G. K. Chesterton, The Real Dr. Johnson, The Common Man, 1950

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