Freedom in Forgiveness

Forgiveness may seem a surprising subject for the Fourth of July. But somehow, this year, it seems more appropriate than ever before.

Yesterday, I watched the film version of the musical Hamilton. My daughter and I saw the traveling production last year in Tulsa. I was overwhelmed by its brilliance. Not only in the music creativity but also the messages it so powerfully portrayed.

It tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. A life filled with tragedy I cannot begin to imagine. A past he worked to overcome. A desire to leave behind a world better than the one in which he lived.

The film version was no less powerful. I was barely able to contain my emotions through the entire production. And just as with the live show, my thoughts quickly turned to another musical, Les Miserables.

Though many similarities may be drawn between Hamilton and Les Miserables, one speaks above the rest-forgiveness. These moments in each story provide a beautiful reminder of how great the need for each of us.

There is much more to be discovered in this story-in both of these stories. But on this July 4, 2020, forgiveness seems to be the place to start. For both receiving it and giving it bring freedom.

If you have not yet seen Hamilton, it would be a perfect way to celebrate!

It's Quiet Uptown

Written by
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand
It’s quiet uptown
Forgiveness.
Can you imagine?

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12

A Weeping World

A child
A spouse
A sibling
A parent
Helplessly watched
A man lying
On the ground
A knee pressed down
Their parent
Their spouse
Their sibling
Their child
Pleading for breath
Calling out for Mama
His cries for mercy
Ignored-then silenced
A family left
Grieving as their
Loved one’s name
Is added to a list-
Individuals deprived
Of liberty and life
Because of the
Color of their skin-
A weeping world
Refuses to look away
A weeping world
Refuses to be silenced

All People

I am having difficulty focusing on anything today. I wish I could say it was simply a lack of caffeine, but that is not possible. Maybe it’s the barrage of negative news. Not just today, but almost every day for what seems like a very long time.

With today’s instant information, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. We have the ability to know what is happening on the other side of the world in a matter of minutes. And we have the means through various social media outlets to express our opinions on said happenings. With that ability, however, comes responsibility.

The responsibility part seems to be missing from much of the current online posts, tweets, discussions, etc. Should I be able to spit out words of hatred toward others without consequences? I certainly don’t believe so, and hope others would agree.

Much of the current news involves immigration. Personally, I cannot begin to understand the plight of individuals seeking freedom and safety. I’ve never had to worry about fleeing my home due to fear. Yet, it is my responsibility as someone who has experienced the love of Christ to view the situation through the lens of love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:4-5

At this moment, I’m not sure what that looks like in terms of personal action. But I do know it begins with my attitude. My heart. And my heart tells me people need to experience love. People desire to live in safety. People deserve to live in freedom. All people.

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18