“I’m sorry. Are you ok? Do you want a hug?” Mumbled under their breath with a scowl on their face, these lines eek out of our boys’ lips as they stand before us with the requirement to apologize to one another. They race through the lines before quickly trying to point out the other’s wrong-doing to ensure that I know where the blame rightfully belongs.
We seek to teach our boys forgiveness to prepare them for the Easter Forgiveness that they will come to need as they get older and the way becomes more difficult. This fifth week of Easter, I am reminded that Easter Forgiveness cannot happen in the courtroom. Any attempts to argue one’s way to forgiveness or justify its need will only nullify God’s grace. While we must take injustice seriously, we also must be careful as the courtroom’s attempt at justice produced crucifixion. Resurrection emerged far from the halls of human justice.
We follow the way of Christ which calls us to abandon our best plans in order love one another. Easter Love gives new orders: Drop the case. Resign from serving as the self-appointed attorney. Let the prosecution know that they are not needed any longer. Abandon the paperwork – it is not required where we are going. Turn in the badge. Swing wide the doors and walk out.
“Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18:22
“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.” – James 3:17-18
Forgiveness in the valley happens when we decry the lie that circumstance has led us to believe is true – that our fellow pilgrims are opposing counsel who must be disproven. We are willing to yield because it is no longer our courtroom. We are branches who do not need to compete to be close to the vine. We are family in Christ whose love for one another is possible only because of the love God first has generously given to us.
The only way through the valley is to live the way of Jesus together.
The only way to traverse the day’s dangers is to hold fast to the grace all are given.
The only way to love one another is to drop the case and lay down one’s life – trusting in the Easter miracle that Jesus still lives, still calls, and makes love possible in the most difficult of times.
From deep within the valley, new songs emerge in daybreak as forgiveness is practiced among us.