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Reflections on recent events around the world

By Rev Ian Godlington (Chaplain)

Niger: 10 dead, churches destroyed

Violent protests have erupted in parts of the world over the latest issue of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

While there have also been largely peaceful protests, authorities from Africa to the Middle East are seeing clashes in the streets -- and seeking ways to tamp down the uproar among Muslims furious over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.

The deadliest violence has been in Niger, where authorities report 10 people killed. Churches and homes have been destroyed, the government said in a statement.

It seems at the moment that we live in a world where forgiveness is at a premium. Terrible things are happening in the world and this makes us all more aware of our own vulnerability.

For forgiveness can be described as ‘the mutual recognition that repentance of either or both parties is genuine and that right relationships have been achieved or restored’.

Matt 6:9 ‘This, then, is how you should pray:

‘“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  11 Give us today our daily bread.  12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

In the Christian scriptures, forgiveness is a requirement that needs to be addressed in order to be right with our neighbours and with God.

On several occasions Jesus forgave the sinners he encountered during his ministry. There was the women caught in adultery, the penitent thief who ask Jesus for forgiveness from the cross and probably the most famous, Jesus forgiving those who had crucified him.

These are three examples of forgiveness, they can be a guide for us, showing that we too can forgive those who hurt us.
I know that a lot of people find forgiving a wrong almost impossible to achieve, but in the long term it can heal relationships, bring families back together and heal our own hurts.

We may be hurt and grieved by recent events in the news, and what happens to us by others whether recently or sometime ago.  The word of the Lord calls to be like our heavenly Father who has forgiven us.  In fact whatever the provocation forgiveness is to be shown even to our enemies.  That’s the hard bit, but behind it is the knowledge of God’s forgiveness for us.  Forgiveness is the prelude to reconciliation, so go on forgive, it could be the best thing you do this week.


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