Pastor Larson’s Corner: Forgiveness
I recently traded cars, and the new car came with two months of free satellite radio. This means that for the past six weeks I have been listening to the music of my youth, all the pop hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
I had forgotten just how much the lyrics of these songs focused upon people being hurt by others in one way or another. Most of the time the hurt resulted from a love affair gone wrong. Sometimes the people who were hurt were philosophical about it. Most of the time, however, they wanted to see the one who wronged them experience the same kind of hurt they were feeling. I have yet to hear a song in which someone asks for or offers their forgiveness.
Last Sunday I preached a sermon on the subject of forgiveness. Forgiveness was not popular in the culture of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and it remains just as unpopular today. We all have difficulty forgiving those who have hurt us. Often we carry these feelings for years, allowing them to severely damage important relationships.
Jesus talks a lot about the importance of forgiveness. He called his followers to forgive others just as he had forgiven them. I believe Jesus had a good reason for this. It was because he wanted us to have strong, life-giving relationships. Jesus knew that when we are unable to forgive others from our heart we carry a tremendous burden, and in fact put ourselves into a kind of bondage. On the other hand, when we forgive those who have hurt us, we are set free to live in the newness of life. God has forgiven us so much and calls us to forgive others in return. The more we can live up to this calling, the better our lives will be.
Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.
Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 3, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.