|None of us would or could have a relationship with God without forgiveness. If we were stuck with our poor decisions, inherent flaws, and never ending spiritual relapses we would be unable to work our way out of ourselves, and into right relationship with God. This is why it is so important to be forgiven. And the reason why God is so willing to forgive us. The Scripture reveals, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” In this verse, being “blessed” means we are in right relationship with God when we are forgiven.
I realize the following deduction is counter-cultural, but when we feel guilt there is no benefit to rationalizing or avoiding this secret incentive to ask God for forgiveness. Guilt should drive us to ask for forgiveness in a more sincere and passionate way with the intention and hope of change. If there are some repercussions as a result of what we did or said, although difficult to do, it is best to accept it and move on with a clear conscience, knowing that God will make the consequences less severe in the end. When we sow repentance we receive mercy and forgiveness.
Forgiving others is also counter-cultural in today’s world: forgiving people is almost never the offered or expected solution. Revenge and retaliation are common responses to wrongdoing in television dramas and blockbuster movies. Political differences and policy disagreements motivate some people to launch vicious and embarrassing attacks and accusations. The justice system all to often dishes out inordinate punishments toward nonviolent offenders who uncharacteristically made an unethical decision or someone who has little advantage in life and made a poor choice to do something to just survive. It is a common occurrence, that the bench does not consider justice and mercy the best remedy. Unfortunately, we have witnessed or experienced fractured familial relationships: divorced people that punish each other, using financial advantage and the kids to do it. And then there are sibling jealousies, envy and separation, children who hold grudges against their parents and parents that do the same.
It is proposed, that as Christians we promote a “Subculture of Forgiveness” regardless of the injuries and offenses that we experience. The world around us will not change much unless we change how we function in our world: forgiving others and and being forgiven by others. Through forgiveness, we can soften and mitigate the sufferings and repercussions for ourselves and others who orbit our world. When we recognize that people are flawed just like us it is a little easier to forgive them for what they have done to us or when we are disappointed in something they are doing. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to consider a “Subculture of Forgiveness” as a healing ointment to many of societal injustices and personal injuries. At least, it is likely to be unchallenged that doing this much more often is part of the solution.
Joseph C. Hutchison
Rochester Hills, Michigan
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