From: David Kabanje
Date: December 2, 2021
Subject: GMU from Lulu Kabanje (My sister)



 

 

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

                                                                                -Matthew 22: 35- 40, NIV

 

As I observe the state of our global and local communities, I am persuaded to believe that we do not understand the weight of the greatest commandment as told by Christ. The instruction to give and feel love for our neighbor implies a basic “duty of care” or an expectation to cater to the wellbeing of their wellbeing. Applying this point of view transforms love from simply being a feeling or “state of enthusiasm” as the therapist Esther Perel says and makes it an “intentional and dynamic” action. What is now required of us is to lean into one another and engage in complex relationships—which are often riddled with positive and negative feelings—and do the divine emotional and spiritual labor of love, even when that occasionally involves personal pain and shame.

 

This then brings me to an interest in forgiveness and how that is foundational to the act of love.

If we have an expected ‘duty of care to each other, that responsibility must include pleading for forgiveness and initiating reconciliation, especially when we have wronged another; if the feeling of shame and pain prevent us from doing so, however, we have failed to be accountable to our beloved and the cost of that exceeds the benefit. By refusing to repair what has been broken, the offender shows the offended the pride or shame they feel is greater than the wound they know they need to help mend;” this inevitably leads to broken relationships and as we know, that can have harmful implications to us, our families, friends, and communities. To prevent this, we must prayerfully push past the obstacle of pride, lower ourselves and ask for forgiveness. By doing so, we (the offender) say to the offended “I value this relationship and honor the person you are; and for that reason, I cannot expect us to authentically progress without addressing the weight of the hurt I have caused.” The cost of admitting fault may feel significant but the reward of renewed relationships and healing is so much better.

So, as we reflect on what it is the Lord commands of us, to love Him and to love our neighbors in the same way we love ourselves, may we think critically about the ways we do this divine work and attention to our relationships with authenticity, mindfulness, and humility. Lastly, may we always remember that the significant part of loving and being loved is requesting forgiveness and being forgiven.

P.S. We hope you will join us this morning at uGather as we continue the conversation about relational forgiveness!