“God, How Can We Forgive”

God, how can we forgive when bonds of love are torn?
How can we rise and start anew, our trust reborn?
When human loving fails and every hope is gone,
your love gives strength beyond our own to face the dawn.

When we have missed the mark, and tears of anguish flow,
how can you still release our guilt, the debt we owe?
The ocean depth of grace surpasses all our needs.
A priest who share our human pain, Christ intercedes.

Who dates to throw the stone to damn another’s sin,
when you, while knowing all our past, forgive again?
No more we play the judge, for by your grace we live.
As you, O God, forgive our sin, may we forgive.
Ruth C. Duck, 1994, ©1996 The Pilgrim Press

This hymn came from the author’s own struggle with hurt and the long process of being able to forgive. Think about your own times of being hurt by a loved one or by an acquaintance. How have you dealt with forgiveness? What overture have you made to the person? Where have you gotten the courage to forgive, or have you really forgiven? The Lord’s Prayer tells us to forgive others as God has forgiven us. This is at times very difficult and yet is required as a disciple of Jesus, the Christ.

The second stanza deals with our own wrong-doing and the subsequent guilt. How can you heal the relationship with another in such circumstances? Does the experience of feeling God’s forgiveness increase your ability to forgive yourself? If so, how?

Judging another or yourself is often part of the aftermath of any “inappropriate” action or word. Jesus reminds us not to judge others for judgment is God’s responsibility. God’s grace is given to everyone and it is because of grace that we are able to live in community with God and with others.

As you consider where forgiveness is needed in your life, remember the words of the psalmist
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding
in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all;
and his compassion is over all
that he has made.
Psalm 145: 8-9

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.