We are divided in unprecedented ways. Everything seems to divide us. Our politics, our religion, our skin color, and many divisions even within those divisions. We must remember to stay united. But we need something that unites us. We are united in our shared belonging as sons and daughters of Our Heavenly Father. When we divide others from Our Heavenly Father, we are really dividing ourselves from Our Heavenly Father.
Now, we cannot attempt to unite ourselves with evil. Even if everyone is doing so, we must see that attempts to unite with evil never unite. To really unite, we need a common bond. Is there a bond stronger than family? Indeed, there is not. And God IS a Family: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This Eternal Family is the unbreakable family. And we were made in God’s image. In no better way are we made in God’s image than in our earthly families.
But God wants us to become part of the Eternal Family. Surely, this would seem to be too much. God could not make us part of His Eternal Family, could He? Well, yes He can. He is, after all, God. And He does this by making us His sons and daughters through baptism. “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” – [John 3:5] At birth, we are born into the human family and at baptism, we are born into the Eternal Family.
This is a great unifying grace. We are now brothers and sisters. However, like all brothers and sisters, we fight. We disagree and we fight. We fight for our ideas, our opinions, and sometimes for others. But these fights sow division in the Eternal Family, and that simply cannot exist in the unbreakable family. And our fights lead to anger and unforgiveness. AND THAT IS THE ULTIMATE DIVIDER! Unforgiveness is a rejecting of your Christian brother or sister. And when we reject our brother or sister, we ultimately are rejecting his or her father, Our Heavenly Father.
Many of the parables talk of unforgiveness that ultimately divides someone from God. I think especially of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In the ending, the older, faithful son was outside of the party. He had unforgiveness towards his brother and instead of being able to rejoice with his brother and his father in the party, he let his unforgiveness separate himself from his brother, his father, and all those in the party. Now, remember that Jesus was addressing this parable to the Pharisees and scribes. He wanted them to choose their father, God, and his party, Heaven; not to divide themselves from it because of unforgiveness to those entering God’s party.
Yes, others have wronged you in ways that would otherwise be unforgiveable. Except, we do have a God willing to lay down His life to take the punishment for all of our wrongs. This applies to you, me, and the many that have wronged us, too. They may not deserve forgiveness and neither do I, but God loves us as His rightful children. We are His and to stay His, we must be forgiven and forgive others. If we do not forgive, we will instead reject Our Heavenly Father and His forgiveness towards us. “…forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us…”
Jesus, You suffered terrible pains to take upon Yourself the punishment that our sins required to satisfy eternal justice. Help us not to reject Your mercy and forgiveness to those that have wronged us. Amen.