THE SHEPHERD’S CORNER
In his devotional book, Victorious Living, E. Stanley Jones, the former missionary to India, says, “Faith without forgiveness makes religion hard, fanatical. Forgiveness without faith makes religion soft, non-progressive. But faith and forgiveness make religion Christian. This forgiveness element puts love into faith, so that now faith works through love.” What a profound insight!
I think we have seen how faith without forgiveness can make religion hard and fanatical. I am sure we have also seen how forgiveness without faith makes religion not only soft but also lose its salt. Faith and forgiveness are to be together because without forgiveness, faith has no more love. And, God is love.
As a pastor I have one fear—among many—that I will be able to perform my faith duties without love. I am very much aware of the fact that over time we pastors can master the work of a pastor so well that we can do our jobs without love anymore—be it love to God or to those we serve, and worst, love to our spouses. It is a danger we pastors must guard against because when we lose love in ministry, we also lose God, the ultimate reason why we minister.
There are of course a number of reasons why we can lose love; one of them is hurt. Or, to be more accurate, it is not really hurt per say but rather the inability to forgive. It is when we fail to forgive, we run the risk of losing love. So, going back to what E. Stanley Jones says, we must always add forgiveness to our faith. By forgiving those who have trespassed against us we renew our love. You see, like faith, love must also be renewed. We cannot use yesterday’s love to face today’s hurt; and we cannot use yesterday’s grace to forgive today’s transgression. New hurt requires new forgiveness.