With such a crazy schedule lately, I haven’t had time to read deeply. So I’m excited to begin reading Embodying Forgiveness by L. Gregory Jones. The topic of forgiveness has been simmering away in the back of my mind for some time now. It’s very important for me on several levels. Theologically, I believe forgiveness anticipates God’s future new creation when all is finally made right and, in our resurrected bodies and surrounded by God’s glory, we will be able to be forgiven of all things and able to forgive all things. Practically, forgiveness should be the “environment” that surrounds God’s people in all aspects of life. It is the way in which we do the real daily work of implementing what Jesus began, bringing heaven and earth together through our lives. Pastorally, I want to be able to help others practice and embody forgiveness for their own personal well-being as well as participating in God’s reconciling mission on earth. And personally, I want to be a person who naturally embodies forgiveness to everyone for everything. I want to become the kind of person in which forgiveness easily flows from me into every situation.
As I began reading the introduction to Embodying Forgiveness this morning, several key issues caught my attention. First, Jones anchors forgiveness in the Trinitarian nature of God. Second, Jones widens the focus of forgiveness from the absolution of guilt to the reconciliation of brokenness and the restoration of communion. Third, Jones expands forgiveness from an action to a way of life, an expression of the “cruciform life of holiness in which we seek to ‘unlearn’ sin and learn the ways of God.” In this light, Jones views forgiveness as a craft that Christians must spend their lives learning. Fourth, Jones views forgiveness as the sign of the promised eschatological consummation of Creation in God’s kingdom. Not only is forgiveness at home in this world by establishing peace in a broken creation, but it anticipates the future and final reconciliation of all things.