A sure basis for forgiveness

Originally printed in The Christian Science Monitor, January 14, 2015.

The Monitor’s editorial “How debt mercy helps drive US recovery” (CSMonitor.com, January 6, 2015) is an encouraging comment on the power of forgiveness to promote the well-being of individuals and society as a whole. The concept of forgiveness, of course, embraces more than reducing a financial debt. The Bible contains wonderful instances of that larger meaning, such as in the story of Joseph forgiving his half-brothers, who had caused him to be sold into slavery (see Genesis 50:15-21). The Founder of Christianity, Christ Jesus, said in simple words to his disciples, “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).

Yet Jesus’ teachings indicate that underlying true forgiveness is more than meets the eye. It’s an entirely different view of creator and creation. Study of the Gospels has led many to conclude that Jesus saw true existence not as sin-filled and flesh-based, as it seems to be, but as the perfect outcome of God, Spirit—of good alone. What a spiritually inspired standpoint not only for forgiveness, but for facing up to our faults as not a legitimate part of our true character, rather than sweeping them under the rug! Jesus once said, “Sin no more,” to an adulterous woman whom he didn’t condemn but dealt with compassionately (see John 8:3–11).

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