Do We Create Culture or Does Culture Create Us?

Bankstown is a vibrant southern suburb of Sydney. It’s considered one of the most multicultural areas in Australia with residents from all over the world. It’s a pre-Covid time and everywhere there…


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Simple Yet Difficult

Many experiences that one encounters show that simple tasks can be the most difficult to do well. A violinist practices endless hours, critically analyzing technique and musicality, to perform a few measures of a Bach partita flawlessly. Serious gym goers exhaustibly seek to strengthen posture so as to maximize time spent working out. On one occasion in the New Testament, Christ’s disciples eagerly asked him to teach them how to pray.

The Lord’s Prayer, though simple in its format, holds implications that are difficult to live by. Matthew 6:12 says, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (ESV). In the Enchiridion, Augustine speaks about forgiving and seeking forgiveness. He makes a strong connection with this verse to almsgiving, “There is no almsdeed greater than forgiving from our heart a sin that somebody has committed against us” (100). Almsgiving, as presented by Augustine, is the act of giving back to Him by seeking mercy from our sins. This is not a form of animism, but it is an expression of repentance.

Forgiving others from wrongs that have been committed against ourselves is often no easy task. Rather than seeking reconciliation, we inwardly desire personal vengeance and ill upon them. How can one possibly obey Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (ESV)? Augustine gives a “training program” towards forgiveness that involve three steps (101). Prayer to God is the first step, aligning our heart to God. When we pray, we begin to see the perpetrator and ourselves as He does. The second step is discipline. Forgiving others, especially from those that hate you, is not a natural human disposition. Bitterness takes root and we are content in letting it permeate our thoughts and actions than hold nothing against the wrongdoer. This comes through discipline although it does not come without any struggle and this is the third step, “…struggle within himself…” (101). These three lead one down the path towards forgiveness.

What would our lives look like if God forgave us to the degree that we forgave others? Matthew 6:12 talks about forgiving others and seeking forgiveness from God. The act of showing true forgiveness and receiving forgiveness from God are not exclusive from each other. According to the Lord’s Prayer, one undertakes giving forgiveness before seeking forgiveness from God. Imagine a son who has been given candy from his father. The small boy received instructions to share the candy with his fellow companions. After a few hours have passed, the child, without sharing any with his friends, ask his father for more candy. One would question the character of the father if he gave more to his son while conscious of his selfishness.

Seeking forgiveness from God is much easier than showing forgiveness to others. The simple command to forgive others is difficult a thing to do. Through prayer, discipline, and struggle can forgiveness be done.

Works cited:

Augustine of Hippo. The Augustine Catechism: The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Charity. Ed. Boniface Ramsey. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1999.

Holy Bible: Esv Bible. Crossway Books. 2016

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