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Sunday, June 30, 2013

God is Forgiveness

“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? ... The LORD replied, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

There are scriptural stories that challenge our understanding of God. They are rich, inviting and unbelievable. Could it be that God is waiting to forgive us? Is it possible that God only wants us to ask for mercy? Is God so in love with us that God is searching for ways to forgive and renew us?

Most of us are familiar with Abraham's willingness to wager with God in the book of Genesis. Familiar with and close to God, Abraham is unafraid to approach God, even push God, to forget our sins and embrace us anew. Aware that God is thinking about destroying the wicked city of Sodom, Abraham first asks God whether 50 innocent and good people would change God's mind about destroying the city. When God says yes, Abraham keep lowering the number until God is willing to forgive the entire city of Sodom if Abraham can produce 10 good people. 

The God we meet in the book of Genesis is tender, compassionate and merciful but often for reasons of guilt and shame we are unable to accept this God. Thinking we are deserving of punishment and retribution, we resist allowing the God of Genesis to come near us for fear we will have to offer others the same solicitous love God shows us, but God is bigger than our fears. While God wants us to forgive our enemies, God's love is not conditional. As long as we ask for help, God is there, trusting that the reception of this kind of mercy will help us see others as God seems them.

Today, imagine God waiting for you with open arms.

What keeps you from believing in the all forgiving God that Abraham encounters?

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