I Remember Now ~ God Does Not Forgive. Say What? ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad Post 67

God does not forgive, I believe. There. I said it. And this is what I mean.

Forgiveness implies there is a prior judgment. If there has been no judgment, there is no need for forgiveness, or to ask for forgiveness. God is love, and love has no need or desire to judge.

Let’s unpack….

Forgiveness implies there is a prior judgment. If someone ‘does us wrong’, we decide that what they have done is wrong, and we judge their act as being wrong. They shouldn’t have done that, we think. We have now created a barrier or distance between us and them. And both parties have to make a move here. The person who did it has to ask for forgiveness. And we have to forgive them for the relationship to be restored.

Wait a minute, what do you mean ‘we’ have created a barrier?  “They’re the ones who are in the wrong! The ball is in their court! They have to come to me!”

Feel any distance there? And who’s doing the talking? Hint: it’s not the other person.

But what if a judgment never happened? If someone asks you for forgiveness for something they said or did, and you never judged them for it, what would you want to say to them?  Could we try something like this? “Hey, no problem. Let it go! Stop beating yourself up about it. I’m not.”

The Church has spent so much of its life seeking forgiveness. Teaching its people to come to God, groveling in guilt and shame, asking God to forgive. Heck, as a Lutheran Pastor, I began every worship service leading an ‘Order For Confession and Forgiveness’, which told people, “we are by nature sinful and unclean”, followed by all of us saying, ‘we confess that we (did this or that), and that ‘we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.’

Before leading the confession, I would always offer a welcome. “Good morning everyone! And welcome to worship! We’re so glad you’re here.”  (Let’s start out by reminding ourselves of what a piece of crap we are!)

Actually, Martin Luther (the Luther of Lutheranism), described Christians as “dung”, covered with the righteousness of Christ. I wonder how he worked the room at parties?

All this confession is said to God who is LOVE, and love has no need or desire to judge. Think about it. When judgment happens, it is always done out of fear and lack. A fear of what the person has done, and its effects. Or a sense of lacking any ability to do anything about it, until the person comes and asks for forgiveness. Until then, we’re stuck with being upset.

While there are many things in the Bible I can no longer abide by (actually never could), when it speaks of love, and points to justice, I’m in. For example,  “there is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18). The word ‘perfect’ is better translated as ‘whole, wholeness, or complete’.

Here’s the thing. Love’s only interest is in what is learned from what we, or another, has done. Love’s only interest is in whether or not we grew into what we already are, Love, through the experience. Period.

I’ve learned so much from Echo Bodine, and others, about Life Reviews that are experienced when we cross over to the Other Side. They are not done in a spirit of judgment. There is no “so you did this and this, are you sorry?’ Really sorry?” No. The Life Review provides our soul with an opportunity to see how and if we used the opportunities given us in our experiences, to learn, grow, and mature into love and wisdom.

That said, my heart is now going out to anyone reading this who has been abused, or has suffered from injustice. Please don’t judge yourself for your own judgment of your abuser.  God doesn’t. Please be gentle and kind to your wounds, as God is.

You are Love,

Pastor Tim Tengblad

timtengblad@comcast.net

As always, I welcome your comments, questions, and stories.

 

Tim

Tim Tengblad
timtengblad@comcast.net

Read my Bio in Post 1