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Called to forgive, not condemn

The issue of abortion seems to be coming up again in our political debates. Sadly, those who are pro-life – including those who participate in the annual January March for Life in Washington – are often pictured as the “bad guys” who want to limit other people’s choices. In fact, we pro-life people are trying to save lives.

I’m not interested in condemning anyone who has had an abortion. Abortion is its own punishment. I remember seeing a pro-life bumper sticker years ago that read simply: “Abortion: One dead and one wounded.”

As Christians we believe in a God who came not to condemn us, but to save us. I’m interested in helping women who have had abortions feel forgiven. Included in God’s giving life is also God’s forgiving love.

In my experience, no one is better because he or she is condemned. People get better because they are loved and forgiven. Jesus said: “I have come that they might have life, and life to the fullest.”

Forgiveness is life giving. Jesus’ absolution from the cross is eternal: “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” In essence, Jesus would not have been crucified if the religious leaders of his day knew he was God. In a similar way, we would all treat each other so much better if we realized we are created in God’s image and likeness.

Sin is a case of mistaken identity. If we do something to harm ourselves or to harm others, we have forgotten who we are. 

All of us need to be so much kinder. All of us need to believe in who we are and to treat others as made in the image and likeness of God. It’s easy to say that. It’s not always easy to do that.

So we come again and again to the sacrament of reconciliation to be forgiven. We come again and again to the Eucharist that we might feed again and again on God’s presence. 

We try to become like God so that we can indeed act like God. 

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