CLERGY TEAM

   

Rector  


The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

 jmath@btinternet.com

Associate Rector   


The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 852843
revstephenbroadie@
gmail.com

Assistant Priest  


The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624
wsmullenger@
idnetfreemail.co.uk

 

Septembar Leader

There is probably no part of the Christian faith that elicits more controversy than Christ’s teaching on forgiveness. Many times people have said to me, ‘I know it’s not very Christian of me but I can’t forgive so and so, or ‘I don’t care what you say, if any one hurt my grandchildren I could never forgive them.’

The assumption here is that to be a Christian is to be someone who can forgive and forgive easily. There is certainly an assumption and even an imperative that if we follow Christ we should forgive, as Jesus taught this on a number of occasions, most famously in the injunction in the Lord’s Prayer were we pray, ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.’

Of course, this is easier said than done. It is certainly true that the deeper the hurt, the harder the forgiveness, although it would appear that some people are supremely able to carry around grievances over the most trivial of things for years. However, I think forgiveness can seem impossible because what forgiveness entails is easily misunderstood.

For me forgiveness is not pretending that the thing that hurt you and your loved ones doesn’t matter and that you don’t matter, neither is it about condoning the offence or offender or letting people off from the consequences of their actions. Forgiveness is not be confused with reconciliation which involves the acknowledgment by the other of the wrong they have done to you, for this may never come but does not preclude it. Forgiveness does not mean denying legitimate feelings such as anger, rage, guilt and sorrow, or accelerating through them to a false place of peace and acceptance. Our ability to forgive, or not to forgive is not be judged by others. It is a very personal matter and maybe some things appear and feel unforgiveable. Above all forgiveness is a journey, a risk, a miracle, a surprise, liberation from a past event that has the power to cripple and kill the present and future. Forgiveness is always costly. It cost Jesus his life. Only forgivers can show us the way to forgiveness.

Earlier this month an obituary appeared about Eva Kor. Eva and her twin sister were nine years old when they arrived at Auschwitz. Having been brutally separated from their family, who were then gassed, they were left to the mercy of Dr Joseph Mengele who conducted hideous experiments on them. For many years after the war Eva admitted to being angry and cut off. Eventually she began to explore the possibility of forgiveness. She wrote to one of the Auschwitz Doctors, Doctor Munch offering him forgiveness. Afterwards she wrote, ‘I immediately no longer felt a victim of Auschwitz or a prisoner of my tragic past. I was also free of Mengele.’

Twenty years later at the trial of Oscar Gröning, known as the book keeper of Auschwitz, she and he embraced. Afterwards Eva said, ‘We were two old people reaching out and was I pleased that he had taken responsibility for what he had done.” Unbelievably Eva even wrote a letter of forgiveness to Mengele who had long since died. When asked about forgiveness she said.

‘It will heal your soul, it will set you free’ .

We all know that forgiveness is really difficult, if not impossible. But then, just once in a while we encounter someone who did manage the impossible, bringing hope and inspiration to all of us.

Matthew


FAITH AND WORSHIP

 

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September Service Rota
October Service Rota