Lent - Week Two Reflection by Father Issa Thaljieh, the parish priest of the Greek Orthodox Nativity church in Bethlehem.

Forgiveness can be a heavy thing to contemplate, whether you are asking for it for someone else or desiring it from others who hurt you. But it can also be incredibly healing and powerful. To guide your thoughts and actions regarding it from a Christian perspective, as a Palestinian living in difficult situation and sometimes it’s difficult to forgive but we follow Jesus Christ words as he teach us love even your enemies and forgive them.

The Bible has a lot to say about forgiveness and repentance from the words of the Psalms to those Jesus spoke in the Gospels, telling of God’s forgiveness of man—removing transgressions as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and remembering sins no more (Hebrews 10:17)—and calling Christians to forgive one another, seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:22). Reading through these verses will help give you the strength and love to accept and grant forgiveness to the people in your life.

Oh Lord, our Savior and Protector,
In Your infinite mercy, hear our plea for world peace.
We implore You to soften the hearts of those who wage war, guiding them toward unity and love.
Grant us the wisdom and strength to be instruments of Your peace in our broken world.