The heart of the Christian faith is God’s love and forgiveness. We ALL make mistakes and we all need forgiveness which is precisely why God sent Jesus into the world.
It is remarkably arrogant if we think that we have never done anything wrong and dangerously blinkered if we think others have more to answer for than we ourselves.
Shamima Begum was 15 years old when she went off to Syria to be a so called “Jihadi bride”. She was a child when she made that dreadful decision. Dreadful for herself; dreadful for her family; dreadful for humankind. But is she BEYOND forgiveness?
The actions of ISIS are indefensible but the battle for hearts and minds means that vulnerable young people like Shamima Begum make these dreadful mistakes.
Our British Home Secretary has rescinded her citizenship of this country and made her a person of “no state”. Is this really what we want to happen? Is Shamima Begum beyond forgiveness?
There is a story in the gospels where a sinful young woman is brought to Jesus so that he can pronounce what should happen to her? Jesus says nothing! The leaders persist: What should happen to this woman? Jesus looks at the leaders and says to them: “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone!” After a few minutes … all the self-righteous men have disappeared!
Justice, security and good government are vital but so is forgiveness – not to say that that is easy – it isn’t. But, on Good Friday (April 19th) we focus in on Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for forgiveness which is both restorative and challenging for you and me.