Over the years, this text has driven me nuts!

It’s easy to be glib or brutal about forgiveness. “Move on – it’s past history” “You should forgive…..”

But it’s not that simple. Can we, would we, try to blot out the past; pretend that certain things never happened? That’s rather false. If we’ve been badly hurt, memories and scars remain, even if we “forgive”.

When we hurt someone, we may be “forgiven”, but the effects can linger. Surely there are some things that should never be forgotten. Australia’s early colonial history must be one. Forgiveness isn’t merely a matter of saying “forget it”.

When the wrongdoer shows no trace of insight nor repentance, isn’t talk of forgiveness shallow, premature?

How can the relationship be restored?

Of course the Bible has plenty to say about repentance, accountability and consequences. Yet I read stories of Jesus’ dealings with wrong-doers and I remember the ways God deals with me and I’m met with love which reaches out before there are signs of repentance. And when I see someone showing such costly love, how deeply it commands my respect. So we pray for grace as we seek to mirror God’s enemy-loving love. And if you can’t yet love your enemy, pray for God’s blessing on “them”. A recent prayer of mine is “God bless Donald”…sure as eggs, I can’t.

NB. Never enter or return to a situation in which you or another could be abused or harmed. That’s neither love of the enemy nor of self.

Rev Kathryn Richards