Monday, July 11, 2005

Jesus forgive me for the things I'm about to do?

Recently I've been made aware of one primary reason why I'm so slow to forgive people in the world around me. It strikes me that in one way this issue represents the Christian infusion into our culture, but the way it plays out is so poor.

I'm loath to forgive unless I know that the sin was committed without expectation of forgiveness. So often I hear people who's general worldview, especially when they're young, goes something like this: I want to be a complete tool right now and not think about tommorrw, besides, God will forgive me.

Often the sentiment is expressed with such damned certainty it's annoying. Does God actually forgive pre-meditated sin? It seems to me that there's a chasm of difference between someone who hopes that God will forgive them and someone who does not care that they sin because they expect God to forgive them.

Perhaps the expectation lies in not understanding the human dimension of forgiveness. Certainly being restored to God is key, but also what we bind and loose on earth is bound and loosed on heaven. That's the hard part people have with confession - it's so human! But it shouldn't come as a big surprise. After all we are told to be reconciled to God and to neighbor. Jews in fact view this as two very different things. Literally there was one method to be reconciled with God and another for the neighbor. While Christians link the two, the former is inextricably intertwined with the latter. I can't just keep sinning and offending my neighbor and not mending my ways, say a few prayers, and just assume that God and I are cool. The whole idea is that God wants his people to be forgiving of one another AS he is forgiving, not to go above their heads straight to the big guy to bypass the hard work of mending broken human fences.

I really do wonder how forgiveness works once a person knows they are leading an inappropriate lifestyle but refuses to correct their trajectory. Are we obligated to forgive those who demand forgiveness pre-emptively? Seems like a monkey wrench in the system for me. What conclusion must they come to before we can stop doubting their sincerity of action? How can we trust them that they're living in the spirit and occasionally faltering rather than living in the flesh and occasionally having an insight?

4 Comments:

Blogger olympiada said...

Deep Roland. I like your mind. I am sitting on the other side of the fence. Waiting to be forgiven by somebody who won't forgive. That is hard. I have been to confession twice for sinning against this person, pray for them every day, still no forgiveness. I try to pull back, God draws me close to them. Ah well I do not understand.
I like your use of the word trajectory of fire. There is a song called Trajectory of fire by the way. I like it rocks. So our generation is called Generation Feel? That stinks man!
Good for you are in seminary. I have a friend about to enroll. Tell me if you meet Olga from Siberia.
I am named after Olympiada the Deaconess.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Roland said...

Olympiada,

You should be forgiven, I don't doubt that, I just don't care for the EXPECTATION, indeed almost the DEMAND that someone forgive us for things we want to do and know we shouldn't. I don't think you're in that crowd - you want forgiveness for something that you did...or was done to you. That's what it's supposed to be about. I hope their heart softens;)

9:01 AM  
Blogger olympiada said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Hi Ray,
I see your point, but...what about those verses where Christ is talking about look first to the plank in your own eye before taking out the speck in your brother's? So in principle I hesitate to say such things. In principle.

In practice I am just as likely to hate the bastard.

;)

12:11 AM  

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