Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cheap Grace

I stole (and by stole, I mean borrowed) BJ's book, The Five Languages of Apology, because I wanted to understand what he was trying to learn... I wanted to support and help him... and I like learning new things. I didn't think it would effect me so much.

I LOVED this part:
Genuine forgiveness and reconciliation are two-person transactions that are enabled by apologies. Some, particularly within the Christian worldview, have taught forgiveness without an apology. They often quote the words of Jesus, "If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Thus, they say to the wife whose husband has been unfaithful and continues in his adulterous affair, "You must forgive him, or God will not forgive you." Such an interpretation of Jesus' teachings fails to reckon with the rest of the scriptural teachings on forgiveness. The Christian is instructed to forgive others in hte same manner that God forgives us. How does God forgive us? The Scriptures say that if we confess our sins, God will forgive our sins. Nothing in the Old or New Testaments indicates that God forgives the sins of people who do not confess and repent of their sins.

When a pastor (or the damn Bishop!!!) encourages a wife to forgive her erring husband while he still continues in his wrongdoing, the minister is requiring of the wife something that God Himself does not do. Jesus' teaching is that we are to be willing to forgive, as God is always willing to forgive, those who repent. Some will object to this idea, indicating that Jesus forgave those who were killing Him. But that is not what the scriptures say. Rather, Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Jesus express His heart of compassion and His desire to see His murderers forgiven. That should be our desire and our prayer. But their forgiveness came later when they acknowledged that they had indeed killed the Son of God.

Forgiveness without an apology is often encouraged for the benefit of the forgiver rather than the benefit of the offender. When there is no apology, the Christian is encouraged to release the person to God for justice and to release one's anger to God through forbearance.

Forgiveness without requiring repentance is "cheap grace".
All those men that gave me instructions... The bishops that insisted I had to forgive, even if he was still hurting me... They just had everything out of context. They didn't understand. And that's okay. I forgive them for not knowing...

1 comment:

  1. I guess I've always thought of the commandment to forgive in the same sense as one of the last paragraphs you quoted. We allow ourselves to move on and no longer feel the pain that was caused. We let go of the anger and allow God to heal us, and deal appropriate justice to those who have wronged us.

    I don't believe that means we go back and allow ourselves to continue to be hurt. I think you're right, the Bishops that insisted that you forgive, didn't quite understand. Especially if they were counseling you to go back and continue to be abused.