Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Grace

January 7, 2013

One aspect of Christianity we are reminded of quite often is Grace, that ultimate act of forgiveness by the Almighty for whatever indiscretions in which we may have been involved. So many preachers tell us we do not have to be perfect to approach the Heavenly Father, Grace is extended even to the most egregious of sinners.

Grace. The Gift to Us All from the Father who art in Heaven.

What a pleasant thought.

But then, usually in the next breath, many will say “but you must first take Jesus as personal Savior and Redeemer.”

And some even go further and say you must also tithe, refrain from working on Sunday, partake of communion, not walk under ladders, step on sidewalk cracks, or sneezing without covering your mouth.

So, which is it?

Is Grace something given freely by the Almighty to everyone or does He have a team of lawyers to nit-pick the fine points of your adherence to a bunch of details?

Actually, it is unconditional and applies to people of any race, nation, age, or religion.

It is freely given so that we might, in turn, give forgiveness unconditionally to everyone by whom we might feel slighted or maligned. Forgiveness is not conditional or it is not true forgiveness.

And Grace is not really Grace with any conditions. Especially not something as minor as deciding which idol you want to interpose between yourself and God.

Jesus said repeatedly that you can easily keep in touch with God, the Father. He did not mention using any mouthpiece, go-between, or secret password.

That little notion was thought up by the early Christian lawyers.

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a Time of Testing

December 15, 2012

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Connecticut, we have the much anticipated mouthings of those with political leanings about what legislation can be passed to end such events.

And though religion has been removed from school many years ago, I was gratified to hear it was not absent from the scene when the gunfire was erupting. Several of the teachers gathered their children into a corner and prayed over them, even though one said she figured they were going to be killed anyway.

She had not immediately thought of contacting her lawmaker to demand some “proper action” be taken. She behaved as a Christian should have behaved in such a position, turning to God for help. Only God can get a person through such tragedy unscathed, and the bullets are not the only things inflicting wounds in such cases. The media – given their appropriated license to edify – show scenes of the death and panic, soul-searching images that evoke emotion and scar the psyches of us and our children for ages to come.

One news report said the community can never be the same. Why not? The Amish schoolhouse shooting is pretty much forgotten in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We met, by accident, one of the mothers of a child taken in that tragedy. She was holding a new baby, laughing with friends. She has moved on from the tragedy, like Christians are supposed to do.

Why would the Connecticut community not be able to do the same?

Perhaps God should be allowed back into the schools, back into the community, and back into the daily lives of all Americans. When we turn to Man (i.e. Congress) in times of trouble, we cannot find any lasting solace.

As a Christian nation, shouldn’t we start behaving more like Christians?

Forgive… and move on with our lives, in faith.


the Shape of Forgiveness

September 11, 2011

9/11

Ten years on and we still prefer to wallow in the pain than to move past it.

Bumper stickers and license plates proclaim “We Will Never Forget”, annual media coverage of the memorial services at ground zero keep the memory alive, and the building of a monument to herald our pain to the world keeps the incident fresh.

A Christian Nation would not behave in such a manner. A Christian Nation would, in fact, forgive and forget as instructed in scripture. Yet the most highly “Christian” of our people rabidly support the military adventures in the Middle East and prayed for the day when the evil mastermind behind the event could be brought to pay some retribution for his crime.

Well, he has paid the price. Our leaders, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, have waged a war against this one man and his associates, and it continues still.

The vivid recreation of the Old Testament adage of an eye for an eye, the murder of Osama bin Laden, should have been the salve to bring healing to the wound at last. But the killing continues, the revisiting the pain continues, and the hatred – yes, even throughout this supposedly Christian Nation – continues still.

Is there none who understand what forgiveness is?

Fortunately, there are some who do. The Amish schoolhouse massacre showed us what compassion and forgiveness really look like.

Had the incident been answered by the Federal Government, there would have been investigations, suspicions, fear and trembling, annual marches to the monument set up over the schoolhouse to keep the horror alive.

The Amish, quiet conscientious objectors to all violence, razed the school and turned the area into productive farmland. There is no marker commemorating the tragedy.

Even the wife of the killer was welcomed into the community, knowing she, too, had been a victim of the violence.

How different the Christian response from the American response.

Perhaps, one day, we can learn to forgive. And not just the terrorists who crippled our nation, but our leaders as well who have turned a tragedy into a worldwide bloodbath, in the name of the Prince of Peace.

Who taught us to turn the other cheek.