Tags: forgiveness

Implications

Sometimes, and maybe always, the Scriptures make sense only if we read between the lines. For instance, what’s the point of Israel—if God doesn’t choose everyone? Why would Jesus’ answer about the greatest of all commandments be so good and wise— if (behind the scenes of our collective wrongs and chaos) God didn’t love us […]

Riddles

The teacher writes four words on the blackboard, one over the other— defeat, deduct, defense, and detail. “Class”, she says, “Let’s see if we can spend the next hour using these four words in a sentence.” Little Johnny says, “That’s easy,” walks up to the board and adds four more, Defeat of Deduct went over Defense before Detail. Johnny is a […]

Forgive?

Does anyone deserve to be let off the hook of a wrong done? After ruining the lives of others, what right does someone have to ask for mercy? If God really does forgive such people—will we ever be able to forgive him? Or if God hasn’t done anything wrong— what are we missing? Maybe Jesus […]

Unforgivable!

Some of the most difficult words of the Bible come from the mouth of Jesus. For example, he is the one who talked about 2 sins, one against God (insulting the Holy Spirit), the other against one another (an unwillingness to forgive), that he called unforgivable. (Luke 11:18; Matthew 6:15) Writing about the unnecessary suffering a misunderstanding […]

Father?

Over the last few months, I’ve returned occasionally to read a few more pages in The Ragamuffin Gospel. For some reason, I have not found it to be one of those books that I can’t put down… Written in 1990 by Brennan Manning, it reflects the findings of a Franciscan Priest who discovered in his own […]

What Was Adam Thinking?

In our last conversation about forgiving ourselves, I think many of you sensed that, if the God who revealed himself in Jesus is our reference point, then the root of forgiving others, and ourselves, is the highest kind of love (i.e. not just feeling, but choosing to actively seek the highest good of another). In […]

Forgiving Ourselves

We’ve talked in the past about what it takes to forgive ourselves. When we did, some of us had mixed feelings. On one hand who hasn’t beaten up ourselves for things we’ve done in the past? But then comes the question of whether forgiving ourselves is like playing God? And, with yet another twist, if […]

Authority Issues

My guess is that few of us like being told what to do—especially if we don’t think the person has our best interests at heart. Yet we have different ways of showing (or not showing) our true feelings. Jesus spoke to such differences. He tells the story of two brothers who were told by their […]

A Story and a Prayer

A friend put me on to reading some 19th century novels by George MacDonald who, according to  Wikipedia, had an influence on such other writers as Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, Lewis Carroll, WH Auden, and JRR Tolkien. Even though the 19th century vocabulary and style are not always easy to push through, I’ve […]

The Bible and Cut Flowers

The words of the Bible can be like cut flowers. The words of Jesus, like the laws of Moses, can be selectively chosen and arranged for anyone’s temporary purposes and enjoyment. But once the words are sheared from the stem and root of the story they are telling, they begin to fade in significance like […]

Why We See Forgiveness Differently

In reading over the previous conversation it’s apparent  that there is still disagreement about the nature of forgiveness. We all know that we need it. But we disagree about when it is appropriate to give it. Our problem is that the Bible, in wisdom, says at least two different things: (1) That forgiveness is to […]

What’s the Point?

As the Gospel writer tells it, Jesus heads for Jerusalem by way of Samaria. When he enters an unnamed village, he is greeted by ten unnamed men who are afflicted with a loathsome physical disease and social curse (Luke 17:11-12). Standing far from the crowd that fears their disfiguring contagion, the ten call out to […]

Beating Ourselves Up

Who would doubt that, all too often, we are our own worst enemy? Without minimizing the great harm that others can do to us, and to those we love, who can deny the damage that we do by refusing to forgive ourselves for the foolish and hurtful things we have done– even after admitting that […]

To Forgive or Not to Forgive

If the Bible is full of “studies in contrast” and “truth in tension” rather than “self-contradictions and discrepancies,” another example is what the Scriptures variously say about forgiveness. Some passages indicate that one mark of a follower of Christ is to forgive those who harm us (Matt 6:14-15; Col 3:13). Other texts make it clear […]

A Big Fish Story

Today is Yom Kippur on the Jewish calendar. This no-work day of synagogue services, prayer, and fasting is the most solemn holy day in Judaism’s annual cycle of holy/holidays. Today observant Jewish people will recite a long prayer of confession as they lightly tap their chest in a spiritual and physical act of contrition. Toward […]

This is Not Normal!

NPR’s All Thing’s Considered host Madeleine Brand recently did an interview with Forest Whitaker, the executive producer of a 5 part video documentary called “Brick City.” The series tells the story of Mayor Cory Booker’s attempt to restore safety and security to the streets of Newark, New Jersey. Part of the interview includes an emotional […]

Who Will the President Pardon?

In the final days of the George W. Bush administration 2,300 convicted felons have applied for presidential clemency (a reduction of sentence) or pardon (the forgiveness of a conviction and suspension of legal penalty). According to an article on ABC News, a long list of hopefuls are waiting to see if the president will grant their […]

The Way Back

Some places are not a good spot to begin looking for God. With a smile, but in all seriousness, we talked about some of them in our last post. The pride by which we turn our backs on God can turn into a wounded pride that leads us to think that our sins are greater […]

Forgiving Ourselves (4)

What if we can’t forgive ourselves? Is that the worst thing that could happen to us? Or would it be far worse for us to have no lingering sadness for the foolish things we have done? Could that be one reason the Bible does not tell us to forgive ourselves? Instead, the Apostle Paul tells […]

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