Forgive, don’t resort to hatred

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Watching the news last Friday and seeing the National Remembrance Service in Christchurch, I was very moved by the testimony of forgiveness of an elderly Muslim man Farid Ahmed whose wife Husna was killed in the terrorist attack.

He offered forgiveness to the attacker saying he is my human brother and I cannot hate him.

There is such strength in this husband and father’s forgiveness in the heartbreak of grief. This is where true love and faith abide, where forgiveness and hope overcome hatred and revenge and where God truly is present in the life of His people.

In the Gospel reading from St Luke chapter 15 verses 11-32 we read the parable of the prodigal son as it is known, where a father divides his property between his two sons and while the older son stays at home and works the farm the younger goes off and squanders it in bad living.

When all the money is gone and he is feeding pigs and starving, he realises what he has done and returns home seeking forgiveness from his father. His father runs to him, hugs him and has a celebration, but the older son is resentful and will not forgive nor be reconciled no matter how much his father pleads with him.

I wonder if we can relate to the people in this parable of Jesus.

Are we the one seeking forgiveness from a loving God who is always seeking to be reconciled with His people, and do we know that God in Jesus is always caring for us? Or are we like the other son who cannot forgive others of their faults and might never seek forgiveness for our own sins?

The Lord’s Prayer says it all, ‘‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’’.

~ Contributed by Rev Wayne Sheean of St Paul’s Anglican Church, on behalf of the Combined Churches of Deniliquin.