Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lewis: the price of mercy

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
    Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle
    [Jesus:] “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
    —Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)
    To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.
    ... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “On Forgiveness” [1949], in Fern-seed and Elephants, Walter Hooper, Fontana, 1975, p. 43 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 6:12,14-15; 18:21-35; Hos. 6:6; Mark 5:25,26; Luke 6:37; 11:4; 17:3-4
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, expose my hard-heartedness, that I may learn anew the privilege of forgiveness.
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