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In an earlier post- What did Jesus really teach?  Fr. Richard Rohr explores the non-negotiables  based on the teachings of Jesus which he argues include: Peacemaking/ Love of Enemy/ Forgiveness/ Justice and Generosity to the poor/ A community based on inclusion of all not exclusion.

Here is the next in our series on What did Jesus really teach about Forgiveness.

It would be difficult to argue that one of the primary teachings of Jesus was on the subject of forgiveness.

What did Jesus say about forgiveness?

Jesus said: “When you pray, say — And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4 NASB).
Jesus said: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11).
Jesus said:  “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6).
Jesus said: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6).

Perhaps more important than his words were Jesus’ actions:

“When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'(Luke 23).

Forgiveness is actually a complex topic. Earlier I reviewed a book called- Forgiving the Unforgivable by Dr. David Stoop. Dr. Stoop goes into detail about the Christian process (and it is a process) of forgiveness. (Click here for information on this book.)

Why so much attention in the teachings of Jesus on this one subject- forgiveness?  One scholar I read summed it well when he said- “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover the prisoner was YOU.”

I encourage you to spend a few minutes to listen to the story of Chris Williams. In this video from the Church of Latter Day Saints captures the healing and freeing power of forgiveness as Chris forgives what many would consider to be the unforgivable.

Fr. Richard Rohr’s website at: www.cacradicalgrace.org

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