Fractures, Breaks, and Forgiveness
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. --Colossians 3:13
When Paul writes to a church, as he does frequently, “forgive one another,” do we hear what is being said? As we do God’s work, we risk offending another.
This may happen intentionally without malice. Using words in Bible study and the pulpit, it is possible we find ourselves in disagreement. Yet there are times when this offense happens quite by accident. No one meant to ignore you, but Sunday being what it is, we got busy and forgot to speak to you.
Paul readily admits this will happen. We will say and do the wrong things, all of us. What will we do when it is done to US?
The typical way this unfolds is someone makes a note of the insult, they remember it, then they return a suitable offense to call it even. They may stop talking, withdraw fellowship, change churches, or in one case, in Arizona years ago, slash tires.
Paul, however, is constructing a spiritual community. In this case, the community recognizes there are differences. Both parties are invited to listen, then the party that was offended offers forgiveness, the party that did the offending offers an olive branch, and the community is unified.
Without forgiveness, all we have is endless division and perpetual conflict.
Without recognition of sincere difference, we are left with shallow, weak relationships. However, with forgiveness, we forge a bond.
Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. Rather than rejoin ceramic pieces with a camouflaged adhesive, the Kintsugi technique employs a special tree sap lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. When finished, the cracks are not hidden but exposed. The beauty of the bond gives a one-of-a-kind appearance to each “repaired” piece.
This unique method celebrates each artifact’s history by emphasizing its fractures and breaks instead of hiding or disguising them. Forgiveness is God's remedy in a world of opinions, emotions, loves, and fears. Community is made whole when we recognize our differences instead of hiding our differences. Forgive and keep serving faithfully.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. So then, if it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.