Magazines 2021 Jan - Feb Forgiveness can be contagious

Forgiveness can be contagious

26 January 2021 By Philip Serez

God’s mission uses human super-spreaders of forgiveness to bring healing to people sickened by sin.

There is an outbreak in Northern Iraq among young adult Kurds, Iraqis and Yezidis. Contact with virulent Christ followers is spreading forgiveness that counteracts the deathly virus of age-old conflicts. As a result, many champion forgiveness and peacemaking as the only hope for divided peoples who have suffered abuse for millennia.

God’s mission uses human super-spreaders of forgiveness to bring healing to people sickened by sin. People who have encountered God’s undeserved pardon become the pathogens that carry this radical substance of mercy and new life into every relationship, situation and society.

Jesus wept over a violent city. The Father’s heart breaks the wars His children fight with each other. He yearns to reconcile victims, offenders, families, tribes and nations through a strategy of shalom. It is His holistic peace that spreads throughout all mankind by reconciling all people to each other and Himself. 

The parable of the unmerciful servant challenges our core understanding of the gospel and God’s clear expectation of us. God’s choice to forgive us first transforms our core identity and reconciles us to himself. He reinstates us with a new divine capacity to forgive others, and commissions us to carry it to others with reckless abandon.

Being merciful is the telltale sign of every true believer – it reveals the truth or falsehood of their own transformation. Do we have this capacity to forgive others? Do we understand our responsibility to incarnate it where it is needed most? If not, the parable implies we remain in chains along with our bitterness and shame.

In Sinjar, Iraq families are returning to rebuild their lives after ISIS invaded in 2014. There, a few young men and women from different tribes are forming an NGO to champion forgiveness and reconciliation. Inspired by Christian believers, renewed with contagious grace, they are choosing peace over violence, forgiveness over revenge and reconciliation over war. 

This is the mission of God. The antidote to sin and death continues since Jesus chose to love His enemies. This capacity to forgive is uniquely ours as disciples to wield and impart. What incalculable loss and tragedy if we don't pass it on to family, friends, tribes and nations. We have the serum that makes life together possible! 

Philip Serez serves as Eastern Canada Mission Catalyst for Multiply and has served with Building Leaders 4 Peace. Supplied photo. This blog series is produced in collaboration with the Peace & Reconciliation Network, an initiative of the World Evangelical Alliance. Read all the posts at

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