I didn't do it. But the wider church universal did, so as an agent of the church, I feel obliged to confess and promote amendment.

In the second lesson from today's Daily Office readings, St. Paul attempts to explain salvation. In describing God's choice to offer Jesus' sacrifice as the means to achieve righteousness for all, Paul says:

"He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed."

The folk wisdom taken from such passages is: To forgive and forget is divine. Sadly, those speaking for the church have sometimes pressed this premise to those who are suffering on-going abuse, without any attempt to relieve their suffering. Victims of spousal abuse have been told to "forgive and forget" and go home.

Such twisted application of Scripture comes from reading no more than a sentence or two of the Bible. The Bible's admonitions to forgive the trespasses of others do not condone on-going abuse. Today's Gospel makes clear that devaluing those without power to protect themselves makes God extremely angry.

Small children were not greatly valued in ancient times, because mortality among children was so high. So, the disciples shooed them away from Jesus. He was indignant, and chastised their failure to honor the powerless.

If you are a victim of abuse, know this: It is not God's will. God desires better for you. Your salvation starts by separating yourself from continuing harm. Forgiving means cleansing your heart from painful reliving.

Pastor Kathleen Kelly,   
Interim Rector  

Jesus and the Little Children , Vogel von Vogelstein
47535 State Hwy. 74
Palm Desert, CA 92260
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