In Hebrew it is the concept of Tikkum Olam (to repair the world), to repair the damage done, to restore the balance, to undo what has been done to the extent that it is possible, to accept and live with the consequences of one's actions, to take responsibility in public for what one has done and to gracefully make amends. This is the underlying basis for what was given as a 'penance' after confessing one's sins. But it is meant to be actively righting of wrong, not prayers. Forgiveness is the Glue that Holds the Community Together
Atonement is to make all At-one, to bring together again, to remember again, in unity, in communion, to make peace, bending to the needs of the community/communities. To dwell in peace, the peace of Christ, the Risen Lord—and it is the beginning of living resurrection life now—that was initiated and begun in our baptisms. The 'end' result of forgiveness and reconciliation is to keep, extend and deepen communion among everyone.
- We ask for forgiveness daily in praying the OUR FATHER—better translation is "forgive us our debts as we forgive those who are in debt to us"… two words for debt... first one (ours) is massive, like the national debt—no way we could ever repay it... second word (for others debts) is like nickel and dimes—we are expected—even commanded and demanded that we forgive all others debts.
- In the early church, if you refused to forgive another (after 3times) you yourself would be refused forgiveness. It is all bound to our connections and relationships with others. If we take God's forgiveness for ourselves- then it is demanded that we give that forgiveness to others, as graciously as God has
- The sign of the cross is the sign of forgiveness and reconciliation—the Good News. We are signed with it—even made in its image—our relationship with God (vertical) is only as deep and true as our relationship with others—extended out to our enemies. (horizontal).
- Forgiveness begins with justice—what is due to the other, the reality that we are all sinners. [the word 'sin' means to miss the mark—the original marks of being a Christian] Only after justice is rendered can we begin to speak about mercy. Would you prefer that God deal with you justly or mercifully? First God will do justice, then mercy is born out of justice. Justice is what one deserves. Mercy—no one ever deserves this depth of compassion/forgiveness and being reborn into the heart.