Day 21: Grace, Mercy, & Forgiveness Rooted in Accountability

BY NATHAN SESSOMS, PH.D. | March 9, 2021
Today’s Readings

Today’s readings highlight the complicated relationship involving grace, mercy, and forgiveness. However, deeply embedded within this relationship—and, therefore, often hidden—is the role of accountability. Together, these acts provide much-needed direction and guide us to strengthen our relationship with God, as well as with each other, while working together to create a more equitable society. 

accountability, grace, mercy, forgiveness

Those who engage in the fight for justice are responding to a calling that, although universal, remains unrecognized by many. While fulfilling, this calling can also be emotionally draining and leave us with a profound sense of hopelessness. However, we cannot allow our current circumstances to diminish our level of perseverance. Rather, they must compel us to be even more vigilant! 

We do this by continuing to serve, as examples for and providing guidance to those contemplating involvement, rather than turning our backs in frustration. For, isn’t this the way God treats us? With infinite grace and mercy, He embraces and forgives us, and expects us to do the same for each other.  

However, we are all created in God’s image and likeness. Therefore, He expects us to govern ourselves accordingly. Just as we are held accountable by God, to be the best version of ourselves, so must we also hold each other accountable. Forgiveness is not an invitation to become complacent nor remain complicit. It represents the provision of a clean slate and new opportunities to both do better and be better on our individual journeys. Ironically, freedom is never free. When we find ourselves in fiery furnaces, which represent the consequences of our decisions to challenge the status quo, we must have faith in God’s promises and remain hopeful for a better day. 

During this Lenten season, may we repent, reflect, and renew our commitment to speaking-up, standing-up, and showing-up for justice and liberation. 

For Reflection: 

  • How are you being held accountable in your relationship with God during this Lenten season? 
  • How can you hold others accountable in the shared work for justice and liberation? 
5 replies
  1. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    I am being held accountable in my relationship with God during this Lenten season by the way I use the resources that I have. I give to others and deny myself. I try to imitate Christ in his suffering. I live the Scriptures of the day by the way I treat others. If I am in a situation where teachers are not being treated appropriately, I indicate that my path and other’s path needs to be altered so that Christ is at the center of what we do. If a teacher is ignored, I encourage what that person is doing to help the students. Being accountable is being aware of the needs of others and responding to it. Justice calls us all to treat others with equity in all situations so the denial of ourselves is for the greater glory of God.

    • Nathan J. Sessoms
      Nathan J. Sessoms says:

      Dr. Knight,

      Thank you for your response!
      I appreciate your daily efforts to live out the Scriptures. Similarly, your dedication to the equitable treatment of teachers is certainly admirable. In my humble opinion, as you consider the needs of others, please be sure not to deny yourself the gift of regular self-reflection. It’s a great way to hold ourselves accountable and remain mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions, even as we follow God’s instructions during this Lenten Season. May God bless you and your family!

  2. Karen
    Karen says:

    Thank you, Dr. Sessoms, for your words – and the reflection questions. As to God holding ME accountable, I sense a distinct sense of humor in the Almighty. Especially during Lent – a “pause within a greater year long pause” – I long to do what I believe I am being called to do, but then, I stop. Of course, I am thinking “big acts” when for now, maybe I am destined to read, listen, share as I am able, pray, watch, reflect on the ongoing areas needing tending to, and, be present for those closest to me. I long to do so much more, but I still hesitate out of fear (virus) and paralysis (so much to do, where to start!. “What to do first” and “are my offerings, my talents, enough” are questions that plague me daily. Holding others accountable feels like it is maybe more clear after I do more work as to myself, maybe?

  3. Haydee F. Yeskutis
    Haydee F. Yeskutis says:

    Talking about forgiveness. I Iremembered something that a Franciscan taught me. To forgive is a God’s present. Share it. He said
    “ forgiveness is not to forget.
    It is to remember all but without pain”

  4. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Jesus and the prophets before Him persevered in challenging the status quo in their times. Great role models for all times.


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