Way of forgiveness
Are we forgetting the Jesus way, so at odds with the Old Testament spirit of vindictive justice? Jesus proclaimed repentance and forgiveness. He literally commanded that, in order for me to be forgiven my wrongs, I need to forgive those who have wronged me (Matt. 6:14-15; Matt. 18:21-35; Col. 3:13). We are asked to forgive even those who have not requested forgiveness. Such forgiveness is difficult, as Carolyn Holderread Heggen notes in Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches. Yet forgiveness is ultimately the only way for an individual to finally let go. With forgiveness in mind, may the time of lament during the 2015 Mennonite Church USA convention be a time of weeping with those who weep, who have experienced the physical and emotional abuse of myriad abusers, many of whom have not repented. But may nobody single out, scapegoat and so abuse vindictively one specific person such as John Howard Yoder, who has already been disciplined, who repented, apologized publicly and was again accepted back into fellowship, for whom we rejoice (Luke 15:7). “Let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at him!”
Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.