“Then Jesus said, neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”John 8:11.
“See, I am doing something new.”Isaiah 43:19
“God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 3:14
On this fifth Sunday of Lent the readings focus on forgiveness. Christ offers us a “new way”. He does not condemn us when we sin as he did not condemn the woman who committed adultery; but offers her forgiveness and mercy.
Forgiving is not easy by any means and it often hurts. However, not forgiving causes a greater wound to our hearts, soul, and psyche. Unforgiveness festers and causes resentment and hardens our hearts, blocking our ability to love as well as preventing God’s love and grace to enter our very souls. We lose ourselves by not forgiving.
Forgiveness is not a one-time thing. Sometimes we must forgive daily and release the hurt and anger we feel. Whenever I need to forgive and resist I think of Jesus. If he can forgive me, who am I not to forgive someone who has hurt me? This is the higher calling Saint Paul speaks of in Philippians. This is what we are called to do as followers of Christ.
In reading this gospel passage direct your attention to the woman. She receives Christ’s presence and forgiveness. He tells her to sin no more. This is a tall order. There are times when we are the one forgiven – and we may be sorry or say we are sorry but do we mean it? Are we cognizant of what we have done? Do we realize how we have damaged the relationship between us and the one that we hurt. The stakes are very high. Are we determined not to do it again?! I am sure you have experienced someone saying they were sorry but merely giving lip service and they did not mean it.
Sorry is meaningless without internal correction and a desire to do and be better. The people in our lives expect this as does our Lord. He is there to listen to us and forgive us and he will give us his mercy and grace if we ask. That grace and love will keep us able to live in a “new way,”. This is our calling and we will be reconciled to God and those in our lives if we follow it.