A reading from 2 Samuel (CEB):
The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.” After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.
I have struggled with this scripture. This passage is about forgiveness, something that is impossible without God’s help.
The biblical story is about King David arranging Bathsheba’s husband’s death so that David could have Bathsheba all to himself. When confronted with his misdeeds, David knew he deserved to die. God nevertheless was able to forgive David because of his unending love for David.
This past fall, I had to learn about chaplains who won the Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star, and other honors because of their service. One of the chaplains was Father Emil Kapaun and his actions as a chaplain during the Korean War. Soldiers who were in captivity with him spoke about CH Kapaun’s ability to forgive his captors for their inhumane treatment. Clearly, the Holy Spirit was at work through Father Kapaun.
There are still people I hold a grudge against and I need to let it go. If CH Kapaun can do it given his inhumane treatment, then I can do it for far less offenses. We are reminded that God so loved us that he sent Jesus into the world to die for the sins of all of us. God is willing to forgive our sins because he loves us so very much. With God’s help, may we be able to forgive those who sin and do harm against us. As we prepare to remember and honor the events of Holy Week as we turn towards the final week before Easter, let’s work on forgiveness. Let’s work on forgiving others so we are not held down by grudges but have the freedom to praise God unencumbered.
Lord, may we be changed by your love so that we can forgive others. Amen.