Forgiveness only way to peace

Pat Cantwell

Pat Cantwell

By Pat Cantwell

Religion columnist

As a child of seven, over a period of months, I learned about sin through a study of the Ten Commandments.
Romans 3:20 says, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The first commandment explained who God is, what He had done for us, and what He required us to do and not to do. But it wasn’t until the seventh commandment, “You shalt not steal,” that I learned I had sinned.

I had taken some tiny plastic doll dishes home from my friend’s house. I ran crying to my mother, who held me and explained that we had to return the dishes to my friend. We did but I still felt sad and afraid, until later I received Jesus in Communion.
The required steps to forgiveness in Judaism and Islam are: to confess to God, to have sorrow for sin, to determine with God’s help not to sin again, to make it right with the one sinned against. Christianity adds in Matthew 6:14, “Unless you forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive you.”
Mark 2:7,10 says, “Who can forgive sins but God alone? The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins.”

In 2012, I met Steven Khoury pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, Israel. He, a second generation Palestinian Christian, explained that there are only 15,000 Christians in Israel, who suffer much persecution.
He said, “You are sitting in the seats of martyrs who, during services in this church, were killed by Palestinians.”
Yet, Khoury had forgiven them, to the extent of his own possible martyrdom. His message to Jews and Arabs is forgiveness through Jesus Christ is the only answer to peace.

On July 1, Khoury was forced out of his Calvary Church in the Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem involved in recent rioting in the aftermath of the killings of the Israeli and Arab teens.
Israeltoday.co.il records an excellent interview with Khoury and an Arab teen. Khoury’s words to him were, “Violence breeds violence, the only hope is Jesus Christ.”

Asked if he had any forgiveness in his heart, the teen replied, “No, not at all. Forgiveness does not apply to the Jews. No forgiveness.”
Has forgiveness passed away? Is it lost? Has psychology replaced it?
Clearly this appears to be true.
But glory. Forgiveness is the only way to peace between men.

Pat Cantwell writes about faith for the Portales News-Tribune. Contact her at:
pacantw@yahoo.com