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Bible for Thinkers

Liberals love the Bible, too. We just look at it differently. This is a place to discuss the Bible where you don't have to check your brain at the door. There are many ways to see it, and many ways to have it come to life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

quickie on forgiveness

Probably this won't be the last I write on forgiveness, but I've picked up some interesting things to ponder, again courtesy of Simon Wiesenthal's book, The Sunflower.

A good point is made in the book by a Buddhist writer, Matthieu Ricard. He writes, "To grant forgiveness to someone who has truly changed is not a way of condoning or forgetting his or her past crimes, but of acknowledging whom he or she has become."

I like that a lot. We often imagine that forgiveness is the same as saying "That's okay, it doesn't matter," which is not at all true. Forgiveness shifts the orientation from past action to future relationship...perhaps with the perpetrators, but more often with our memory.

Another writer in the book, Dennis Prager, is one of the many Jewish respondents to Mr. Wiesenthal's dilemma. He makes the claim that, aside from the divinity of Jesus, the greatest difference between Christians and Jews is in the approach to forgiveness. I need to probe this more.


At 11:09 AM, Lorna said...

Forgiveness is a theme that I keep coming back to. I'm almost afraid I can't teach on anything else anymore :(

looking forward to hearing about your findings esp from the Hebrew writings (Jewish way of looking at life)

be blessed. In your Monday blog (where I can't comment) I read that it's been a really rough time for you recently. Want to send you my love and God's blessings.

At 4:36 PM, Inheritor of Heaven said...

I think we forgive because we have been forgiven. If we understand how much we have been forgiven (by seeing how much we have sinned i.e.- fallen short of the perfection of Jesus who is the embodiment of what keeping the Law is all about)then we will see that we are no better than any other human being on earth. And once we see that, it becomes easier to forgive others. Also, we should not forget that our struggle is not with flesh and blood (other people) but rather against the powers and principalities of this present darkness. This aids in our forgiving of others because many times they are being "helped" in their deeds by demonic spirits. Had they been set free from those spirits perhaps they would not have acted in the ways they did.

At 8:15 AM, otho said...

I haven't read this book you're talking about, but I'm fascinated by this discussion. I have learned that by forgiving others, we are healing ourselves. Carrying grudges is like keeping an open wound. Forgiveness is a marvelous way to celebrate grace, but better than that, it is a way for us to heal ourselves with the ability to move on with our lives.

At 6:18 PM, A. Helmut and Helga M. Fickenwirth said...

Forgiveness is a most essential component of the Spirit of Christ.
Love without forgiveness is lame.

Helmut and Helga

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