The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


October 14, 2009

Forgiveness is tough

Forgiveness really can be difficult. Even when we are able to forgive others, we often have difficulty forgiving ourselves. And some things are just more difficult to forgive than others. Does it feel to you as though forgiveness and grace are in short supply these days? Not just in our church and our congregations—but surely in our society? Yet we remain forgiven and beloved children of God, and that is how we're able to offer that same forgiveness to others.

Coming up on ABC-TV this coming Sunday, Oct. 18, and running through Dec. 13 (check your local listings) is a show that promises to be inspiring: Ready to Forgive: An African Story of Grace , hosted by Rwandan genocide survivor, Immaculee Illibagiza.  This movie tells the story of the Acholi people of Northern Uganda who during a 20-year war endured rape, torture and child abduction. But even more, it tells the story of the decision to forgive.

At The Lutheran, we have done many stories on forgiveness through the years. It's what we call a chocolate-cake recipe type of story (magazines don't just do one chocolate cake recipe and think they're done; they run them often, knowing how popular they are). Here's a small sampling of what we've done. Perhaps an article on this list will inspire you and move you off the dime if you're having trouble forgiving someone else or yourself. 

"Practicing forgiveness "

"Working through forgiveness "

"Forgiveness: Impossible practice "

"Discovering forgiveness "


"No way out "

Perhaps especially these days when there are many conversations throughout the church about what comes next after the August Churchwide Assembly decisions, we need to call each other back to the ground of grace and forgiveness so graciously given us. Surely we don't have to agree on whither the ELCA in order to live in the way of love and forgiveness that Jesus taught. Remember the 70s song, "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love"? Really??? I pray we can show that love even in our most difficult times.

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