While being interviewed on television, he told the interviewer that his church changed its Sunday liturgy and went into a healing service to pray for the victims of the shooting and their families. Afterward, he went on to say that as a staunch Democrat politician, he went to see a conservative Republican colleague and said to him, “If I say anything in the future that’s hurtful or harmful, I want you to point it out to me, and I will ask you to forgive me, and I won’t do that anymore.” As I sat and listened to this young man, tears streamed down my cheeks, and I wished all of America could have heard what he said.
The Apostle Paul said, “All things work together for good” (Romans 8:28), and if anything good can come out of these tragic events, I hope the things that divide us as a nation can be resolved and our unity be restored. I believe it can be, if we humble ourselves like this young Tucson politician and ask for forgiveness, especially when we’ve done something hurtful or harmful. Unity begins with forgiveness.
The late Tim Russert wrote a book titled “Wisdom of Our Fathers”; he included a chapter on forgiveness. A woman shares her story of an abusive father whom the family called “the monster.” It had been 15 years since she had talked to him, until she heard he was in the fourth stage of brain cancer. Somehow, she mustered up the courage and called, and they reconnected. Both were full of regrets because so much time had come between them; they went on to forgive each other and express their love. It all started with a phone call.
I hope some readers of this column will have the courage to reach out and reconnect with someone they love and restore their relationship. We can do that as a Christian community at the upcoming Patterson Ministerial Association’s annual Prayer for Christian Unity service, which will be conducted Jan. 23 at New Hope Church of the Nazarene. I hope the entire community will come. It’s time for us to restore our unity in the spirit of forgiveness and love one another. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.
The Rev. Ken Moren is minister of Family Christian Center. Sermon Notes is a column by ministers of the Patterson Ministerial Association.