Easier To Say
19 February 2015
Reading: Luke 5; Psalm 42
21 “Who does this man think he is?” the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to each other. “This is blasphemy! Who but God can forgive sins?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you think this is blasphemy? 23 Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up and walk’? (Luke 5:21-23 NLT)
How easy is it to say, “Your sins are forgiven?” My friend Nigel was standing on the pedestrian safety island of a busy street in Ilford, London waiting to cross the next lane. Suddenly a motorist impatiently trying to edge around the cars stopped for the traffic light, illegally drove up on the safety island and drove over Nigel’s foot, crushing bones and tearing ligaments. It took weeks of painful recovery and limited activity for Nigel, all because of a moment’s “sin” by a careless motorist. Nigel forgave the man!
Think of the pain, the lost work, the financial cost. How easy could it be for Nigel to say to the careless motorist, “I forgive your sin against me?”
Forgiveness is such an amazing concept! To forgive: To refrain from exacting payment, taking someone to court, inflicting revenge, smoldering with resentment, lashing out in anger, getting even, or “making sure justice is done.”
I think I see something of what Jesus meant when he asked, “Which is simpler, to forgive sins or to heal a crippled body?”
It takes power beyond ourselves to truly forgive someone’s sins. Because Jesus was willing to forgive sins against himself (“Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing!”), he can forgive the sins of the world.
If I can learn to draw on the grace to forgive sins against myself, maybe I can be used by God to help others forgive and be forgiven. Do you think we can do this?
Father, I wince a little with anticipation, kind of like getting ready for the nurse’s needle to give me an injection of healing or preventative medicine. But I pray a phrase from the prayer of Saint Francis, “Lord make me an instrument of your peace.” I want to be a forgiver and a healer, and it’s scary to say that, because I know there’s a cost. Please be gentle with me! Amen.