Forgiving the unforgivable

The Christian Science Monitor

When we read of cruelties committed against children, political prisoners, and others, we can't help wondering whether some crimes are simply beyond forgiveness. Perhaps relatively few of us have committed such crimes or suffered from them. But many of us have been wronged in cruel ways. And perhaps just as many of us suffer from the torment of believing that we have done something unforgivable.

This feeling of unredeemable guilt is perpetuated by the teaching that there exists a horrible and inevitably insurmountable "mortal sin," a kind of sin that places a person and humanity beyond forgiveness. This is a frightening thought. It suggests a type of ultimate death penalty where divinity has run short of its own divine willingness and power to reform the sinner. Such a doctrine would essentially give sin the final triumph and leave little hope for mankind.

But the Bible says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17. Certainly forgiveness and redemption are gifts of grace promised to us through Christ Jesus, whose very life was "the ministry of reconciliation." See II Cor. 5:18.

Seeing through the mist
May 29, 1989

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