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Months ago Pope Francis designated Sunday, Feb 4 as a prayer day for the victims of all those who suffered from abusive priests. Here is the reason why. First, revelations were made. The light shined in the darkness. Then there were law suits, settlements, and apologies. To ensure that the apologies were not just lip service, policies were fixed and implemented. Then time passed, months and then years. We can forget and put the ugly story behind us and move on. However, we are Christians; we will never forget. We will not let the passage of time erode our memory of those who have suffered at great cost. We will pray, support and love the oppressed and the sorrowful. That is because we were given God’s heart, His Spirit. It are great gifts to be used in times of crisis.


After Paul founded the church at Corinth, he moved to Ephesus for three years. Then, he decided to return to Corinth. When he arrived, there were visitors from out-of-town that turned the folks against Paul. They humiliated and ridiculed him. Paul cut his visit short and returned to Ephesus. There he wrote a letter to the Corinthians that he called “the letter of tears.” He was devastated that the church he founded rejected and disregarded him. There is no greater hurt than a Christian harming a fellow Christian. Paul was a victim. He gave the letter to Titus to deliver. He was going to establish another church. It would have been nice to have a letter addressed to the Christians of Athens. But Paul was too devastated to move forward. The painful experience paralyzed him from advancing his missionary ventures. He could not wait for Titus to return so he met him halfway. When they finally got together, the report was given that the Corinthians were very sorry they had hurt Paul. They wished to be reconciled. Paul was so happy to hear this news that he wrote a letter to them. In it, he wrote about reconciliation. We have the letter: 2 Corinthians.


Paul tells us that the worst type of pain is when Christians suffer at the hands of other Christians. Sometimes the hurt is so great that it seems we can never be reunited. It is very hard to reconcile. I know a couple who got married. They were best friends. They had a few arguments, and the hurt was so deep that I do not think they will ever get back together again. There is, however, a road map to reconciliation. God is hurt by our sins, but with God, it is easy to reconcile because God is humble, merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and compassionate. Because God has those attributes, He makes it easy to overcome any hurt or separation. Paul said that God gave us His heart and His Spirit. We also have His humility, compassion, mercy, slow to anger and abundant in kindness. If only we live those attributes, we can overcome any crisis.

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