HANNAH ARENDT , a Jewish-German author who was a refugee during World War II, wrote, "The discoverer of the role of forgiveness in the realm of human affairs was Jesus of Nazareth" (The Human Condition, p. 238). Forgiveness is a vital topic to many people as they seek its practicality for healing in our lives. This week's Lesson on "Love" helped me understand that love and forgiveness come from God and are always available as a present healing power.

In the Lesson's Golden Text and Responsive Reading from First John, the Good News Translation offers a fresh and direct rendering of John's message on the nature of God as Love. "Dear friends," the Responsive Reading begins (I John 4:7)— such a kind way to address his listeners. It presents a reminder of Christ's command to love one another. And a passage from Science and Health emphasizes the demand for Christly love in daily life: "He that touches the hem of Christ's robe and masters his mortal beliefs, animality, and hate, rejoices in the proof of healing,—in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love" (p. 569, Section VI, citation 27).

The Old Testament prophets offer a solid foundation for a loving and forgiving God. Some passages in the book of Jeremiah appear angry with those who are hypocritical, self-righteous, and not truly following God. In fact, it's this unfaithfulness toward God that was seen as the reason Judah fell to the Babylonians. However, Jeremiah had a message of a forgiving God, no matter what has happened: "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jer. 31:3, Sect. I, cit. 1). The prophet Isaiah's message reiterates that past mistakes do not change God's love: "... but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed ..." (Isa. 54:10, cit. 3).

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

January 19, 2009

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.