“Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
There is irony in Jesus’s question. For some of his opponents it might be easier to say,” Rise and walk.” Not that the afflicted man would walk. But neither would he be forgiven if they could choke out, “I forgive your sins.” They lacked a basic willingness to be channels of God’s grace.
Sometimes we don’t want to forgive. We hold grudges like valuable property; harboring them for that rainy day when we might need to hurl them in a contest of complaints with our loved ones.
People who would never dream of amassing firearms or hoarding ammunition don’t hesitate to collect huge caches of resentment against their colleagues, neighbors, and relatives. These they hoard like the dragon’s treasure trove in Beowulf. If the smallest demitasse of anger were to be stolen, they would scorch the countryside with fire in their efforts to retrieve it.
Forgiveness begins with willingness to forgive. But before that willingness arrives, I might need to suffer the hurtful burden of my complaint. When I realize that I am ruminating like a near-sighted buffalo on a story that no one else remembers, that my jaws are sore with chewing this disgusting cud, my breath is constricted, and my heart is heavy, I might become willing to let it go. It's not worth it.
Getting out of myself helps, especially if no one else remembers the hurtful incident. If they don’t think it was important, why should I?
But, in today’s world of social media where the private is public and the public is private, I might have to escape my preferred echo chamber. I know one fellow who routinely scans the German newspapers to find out what is happening in the world. In the headlines of a Dublin Ireland newspaper, I found not one word about the POTUS!
If the price of resentment is freedom, it costs too much.
The Lord of Freedom speaks to me and says, “Arise and walk.” Move on! Get over it. Let it go! That was yesterday, today is a new day!
To which we say, “Amen. Thank you, Lord. I will go with you.”