Rev. Dr. Steven Yagerman
Forgiveness leads to a Healing Love
About 40 years ago when I was newly ordained, a disheveled young man arrived at my office door. He wanted to tell me his theology. He asked if I wanted to hear it and I said yes. He promptly said, “Basically, I believe that what goes around, comes around.” At that point I had been to college and seminary and had read the likes of Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Karl Barth to name a few of the diverse luminary theologians that we were required to read, mark and inwardly digest! But I wanted to honor this young man and his heartfelt and hard-earned thoughts and feelings. We shared coffee and spoke for over an hour. I learned something about his life and at the end we prayed together and he was off to experience the world of wisdom and adventure. I went back into my office and thought about the different paths we had taken and what he had said. In a sense what he was advocating, in his folk wisdom style, is what takes many years for most of us to get. His thinking contained more than a sense of cosmic karma, but also a sense that we create the world and the energetic field in which we live, move and have our being. Jesus speaks about forgiving others as you have been forgiven. He speaks about the person who understood God to be harsh and therefore behaved in a harsh and limited ways. The truth is, the way we believe and conduct our lives determines the world in which we live. If we want to be surrounded by love and forgiveness, we need to believe in a God who loves and forgives us. But not only do we need to believe, we also need to be practitioners of love and forgiveness. As we enter into the world of God’s grace we gradually become thankful for the amazing grace constantly surrounding, upholding, teaching and guiding us. As we practice suspicion and revenge, we will similarly become aware of how we are surrounded by a cast of dangerous and harmful people. The scriptures call us to step into the circle of grace, where forgiveness leads to a healing love. We are admonished to choose life over death, choose love over hatred and to choose community over othering. As we sow, so shall we reap! So yes, what goes around, does indeed, come around. And in the end, the love we take is even greater than the love we make! Or to quote from an even more revered Paul, we truly are saved by faith!