The Ethics of the Cross
By Rev. H. Gordon Smith III
As we embark upon the journey of another year, may we school ourselves in the ethics of forgiveness and reconciliation, by looking to the ethics of the cross. The divine prerogative to forgive may just make us “human” again.
I urge you to be swift to forgive others. All of us have been wronged in our life. We have all been hurt, undermined, hated, schemed against, disdained, and slandered. There is no denying the pain endured as retribution and vengeance attempts to creep into the chasms of our heart.
It hurts the most when it is someone close like a family member, friend, or someone you have invested in. We become miffed, angry, and downtrodden. Sharp words pierce our hearts and injure our soul’s countenance. Still, I tell you, be quick to forgive.
Just as darkness is the absence of light, and coldness the absence of heat, so too, bitterness, animosity, gossip and resentment are the absence of forgiveness. When Peter asks how many times he must forgive in Matthew 18, he is looking for a way out, a loophole, but Jesus refuses to give him one. Peter is being schooled by the ethics of the cross.
If we are to be swift in forgiving others, we will need to be swift to forgive ourselves. Abraham Lincoln once confessed, “It really hurts me very much to suppose that I have wronged anybody on earth.” The inability to forgive ourselves can debilitate us. “If I had only done this,” or “if I had only done that,” and such words sap us of the energy to press on. If we cannot forgive ourselves, it makes it all the more difficult to forgive others. Thus, love your neighbor as yourself. Be schooled in the ethics of the cross. Let God love you that you may love others, including yourself. Be swift to forgive.