Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More on "Forgiveness"

I'm beginning to think the word, "forgiveness" ought almost to be jettisoned in Western Culture, as carrying too much false and misleading baggage.

There are some things about which you just never can, or ever should, say, "It's okay," or "That's alright," or "It doesn't matter." Every sin, great or small, matters and continues to matter until God shall heal it on the Last Day. The Elder Joseph used to say forgiveness is instant, but the canon (penance) is for life. "My sin is before me always," as King David wrote. You get over the guilt in a moment, but the harm lingers on a very long time, and the sorrow all our lives. Thinking otherwise is part of what makes forgiving others so next-to-impossible for us. We think forgiveness means we are supposed to forget all these abiding realities, overlook what neither can nor should be overlooked.

Instead of "forgiving" others, we in the West probably ought to speak instead of the need to continue loving others no matter what, unconditionally. For Christians, there's never any excuse for unkindness.


Christopher D. Hall said...

When someone apologizes, we teach our children to respond, not with "That's ok," nor with "You're good," or whatever, but to say, "I forgive you." We're trying to instill in them the remembrance that sin is never ok, that hurts we do to others, even mild, do hurt, and forgiveness is the response, not pretending that nothing happened.

Beautiful quote from Elder Joseph. I think Lutherans are guilty of repenting only until the confession or the "guilt feeling" goes away, forgetting that life is repentance, and repentance is life eternal.