Pastor John Arnott spoke to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, February 14, at University Chapel.
In his message, he explained Christ calls us to live in relationship. And family, said Arnott, cannot live in peace if those in it refuse to extend forgiveness to one another — a timely message for Valentine’s Day, a holiday on which people celebrate love and relationships.
He stated Malachi 4:5-6, which reads “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
According to Arnott, “Grace is pivotal when it comes time to walk together in our relationships … beginning in family.”
He added that forgiveness is a liberating experience, one that makes us more like Christ and that Jesus, his life, and his ministry epitomize this lifestyle of grace.
For example, in Matthew 18, Jesus commands his disciple Peter to not only forgive his wrongdoers seven times as the latter suggested, but 70 times seven.
Arnott also cited Ephesians 3:4-5, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.”
Despite the common misconception that extending forgiveness is an abandonment of justice, Arnott said, in reality, justice was “satisfied in full” when Christ died on the cross.
“As we learn to appreciate that and give that gift, there’s a lot of good things that head our way,” he added.