Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked why she had committed her life to serving the poor. She replied that it was because she knew a little Hitler lived inside of her. Mother Teresa was acutely conscious of her human capacity for sin, and God’s limitless capacity for divine grace.
One impediment to forgiving others is our lack of honesty about ourselves. Unlike Mother Teresa, most of us do not honestly acknowledge our insidious capacity for sin. But when we begin to see ourselves standing alongside those who have hurt us-to see, at least, that we are more like them than we are like God-we can no longer stand in judgment over against them. We begin to see that judgment is God’s prerogative, and not ours. Only then can we see why we are commanded to forgive one another as God has forgiven us.
This Sunday, Jesus asks, “Why do you see the speck that is in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” Jesus’ insightful question reminds us that we are apt to see in other people the faults that are within ourselves. Human beings are pre-wired with the defense mechanism called “projection” – the unconscious act of rejecting our own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to other people in the world. In other words, we tend to judge in others the things we hate about ourselves.
If we are to ever find the grace and courage to forgive others, we must first look inward and acknowledge our own faults, our sins, and all the ways we have hurt others.
I hope you’ll join us this Sunday for week two of our “Forty Days of Forgiveness” sermon series!
Yours in Christ,