The Gospel reading for the second Sunday in advent is one of my favorites! Matthew 3:1-12.
Here we find John the Baptist, who we know a little as Freemasons whether or not we are Christians. We get to see clearly his ministry to mankind. “Repent!” he cries out, which a simple google search, or dictionary look up will show us means something along the lines of sincere regret for ones wrong-doing, or penitence. This is the most basic concept of Christian thinking. Zealous Catholics, Anglicans, some Lutherans attend confession where they can repent directly to an ordained priest, who may or may not act in accordance with the mandate of Christ to Peter that whatever he forgives is forgiven in heaven. Protestants of the reformed tradition repent at the moment of their rebirth in the Salvation of Christ, and any time privately to G-d any time afterward in accordance with the common priesthood of born again Christians, or to those directly that they wronged if they feel it’s necessary.
Incredibly, I tend to overlook the call to the “brood of Vipers” not only to repent in word, but to perform actions in accordance with repentance. The “fruits of repentance” are not something that are automatic, but an action affirming repentance. This is the most difficult action I can perform because in more cases than not, the other party has done some action which caused my retaliation, or some other thing “triggered” my desire to sin. Here is where Christ comes in, however. Christ forgave me already, and called me as a common minister in his vein to forgive other men. If I should forgive another man his wrongs, with a true forgiveness, then I am absolving him in my mental record of wrongs done, and if I blot out wrongs done to me then my actions wronging him are no longer justified. There are people in my life that I have struggled years to forgive, over somewhat petty things, but no thing is more glorious than to “forgive others as I have been forgiven” by G-d. What a terrifying prospect if He were to act out my definition of forgiveness! Simply telling me that he will not strike me down with lightning, but that he will withhold blessings because “What he(I) did was *still* wrong.”. So that is the crusade of my soul, to forgive others in the same manner that I have been forgiven, to feel desirous of blessing all those around me who are in need, even if they have done me wrong.
And we are blessed that despite many years of breaking His laws, whether they be the Noachide or those of Moses, His promise of a messiah who has conquered sin and death has been fulfilled in His son Jesus Christ. That all that is asked of us is to repent of our sins, and confess Christs reign.