Background post here.
So we MUST give of our time, our talents and our treasure. We MUST give to our house of worship. We MUST give to the poor we meet in the day-to-day, we MUST give according to our calling and we MUST become agents of patience and grace in an increasingly impatient and graceless world. We MUST do this not because others have a need, but because WE have a need. We don't breathe air because air needs to be breathed - we breathe because to not breathe means death. Similarly, we give because we are built to give - we become more fully human when we give. And that led us to the discussion of forgiveness . . .
We are called to extend forgiveness - every day - all the time.
The traditional dogmatic view of forgiveness is this:
1) You do something you shouldn't and so the relationship is broken
2) You must go to God and ask for forgiveness
3) Once you have asked for forgiveness, God will extend it. Otherwise, you stay in a state of unforgiveness
This is lousy theology.
"He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" - 2 Peter 3:9b
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" - Romans 5:8
"Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing" - Luke 23:34
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" - Revelations 3:20
In the biblical story, man does not "go" to God. God creates man. God COMES to Abraham. God COMES to Moses, and so on. Jesus CAME to us. God does not want ANYONE to perish - so much so that he died for us BEFORE we ever repented. Jesus on the cross begged for forgiveness for a people who did not even know they were sinning and so were incapable of repentance. We do not go to heaven and bang on the gates, rather God comes to OUR door and begs to be let in.
Everyone is forgiven. Everyone. Already. You are forgiven. That person who wronged you? Already forgiven. That person in the news headlines? ALREADY forgiven. EVERYONE IS ALREADY FORGIVEN. Repentance has nothing to do with being forgiven. Now receiving forgiveness, that is another matter.
God's forgiveness is radiating throughout creation, all the time and to everyone - like a radio station. But if you want to receive the signal of forgiveness, you have to tune it in. Repentance does that. That's the topic for another post.
We are talking about our NEED to give the way the creator gives - because we are made in his image. To be fully human, we NEED to give of our time, talents and treasure. We MUST be fountains of patience and grace for that is how we are knit together.
IF all this is true, then we MUST be constant fountains of forgiveness, for that is how we are made. You cannot become fully human until you GIVE - talent, treasure, time, patience, grace and FORGIVENESS.
But here is the kicker - just like our creator - we are called to forgive even when others do not repent. We MUST give forgiveness to those who are not sorry for what they have done . . . . (Father forgive them for they know not what they do)
And then the discussion got fun . . . .
To be continued . . .