January 20: “Live As Forgiven”
(Whatever That Means)
I hope you enjoyed this morning’s presidential
inauguration church service accompanied by not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but – six religious prayers and Bible readings on the steps of our nation’s capitol. Not to mention, the two lengthy public prayers at the official inaugural luncheon offered by the Christian chaplains of the Senate and House (whose salaries are paid for by tax payers). I’m sure it put your heart at ease in the midst of the “war on Christianity” that seems to worry so many people of faith. But, let’s take a look at today’s devotional, shall we?
Verse Of The Day:“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13
Again, I’m so confused by a book titled Jesus Daily ongoing avoidance the words of Jesus himself, instead falling back on Psalms, Proverbs, and Paul. It’s just strange to me why the author wouldn’t share more weighty scripture from the four Gospels – maybe Mark 11:26 or Matthew 6:25? Why does Jesus Daily go out of its way to avoid the words of… Jesus? (Something fishy is going on…)
Today’s Theme: After two paragraphs outlining the myriad of ways that your loves ones may need to beg for your forgiveness (with grievances as dire as “forgetting to call you”), the author makes a hasty case that forgiving others “enables us to appreciate how God forgives us.”
Of course, in the context of this book and Christianity as a whole, the author assumes the reader has been sufficiently indoctrinated to believe they have committed some great sins against God himself by merely having the audacity to survive childbirth. Eve eats a piece of fruit and you must ask forgiveness of the unseen one. A troubled prophet is sentenced to crucifixion for sedition and you must beg forgiveness from the father who sent his son/self to die in the first place. What complete nonsense!
Also nonsense to me is the proposed idea that forgiveness heals all wounds. I imagine this makes me part of the minority point of view, but I can tell you that I have sat in a courtroom as a grieving mother publicly “forgave” the man who took her child’s life. Naturally, more than a decade later behind closed doors. her wounds are just as fresh and deep. And rightfully so – withholding forgiveness not only holds others accountable for their actions, but protects you from repeated harm. Fool me once, shame on you – AND – I won’t be fooled again. Sadly, because of the pressure to “forgive and forget,” this mother is not only living in the hell of her own grief, but living in the silent guilt-filled hell of not be allowed to admit her true emotions to others in church.
On a side note, I’m often struck with the simple question of what is forgiveness? Is it truly as simple, binary, and concrete as the author suggests? Or, is it perhaps an elusive concept that is much more arbitrary, ambiguous, and subjective? To me, the concept of forgiveness is similar to that of jealousy – you can try as hard as you like, but the raw truth emotion might be beyond your control.
Short Secular Alternative: The author calls it forgiveness, I call it life. Maybe we should just stop being so deeply hurt by taking everything that happens to us so damn personally. Not every “offense” deserves an apology and you’ll be best served in life by developing a thick skin and slippery feathers that won’t allow you to be impeded by the minor “offenses” of others that deserve no second thought. Conversely, if you aren’t ready to truly forgive someone for true transgressions, why lie about it for the sake of seeking favor with a celestial mediator? It merely puts the pressure on you to play a part while others are given the freedom to offend again, no apologies necessary. (Again, I know many will disagree, but I don’t feel it necessary to ask forgiveness for having an opinion of my own.)
Daily Interaction: I must admit that I giggled over today’s “interaction” at the bottom of the page, instructing readers to “forgive” someone for posting an image that offends them. Jesus! Not everything is about you, ya big baby! If someone were to publicly “forgive” me for sharing my own point of view, that’s not forgiveness, it’s oppressive condescension. Maybe sometimes it’s best to keep your “forgiveness” to yourself.
See you tomorrow?
– Horus Gilgamesh
P.S. Yep, I’m finally getting around to putting up a little tip jar. If you are a fan of this little project, be sure to check out everything else I’ve got going. (Spoiler Alert: I could use your help.)
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