Limiting forgiveness?

I remember reading one time in a self-help book that we don’t have to forgive what is not done to us.  In other words, if someone hurts my friend, that burden of forgiveness is not mine to forgive.  After all, it wasn’t done against me, it was done against my friend.

Well, that made since to me, but then, that means absolutely nothing.  What I should have asked back then was: Does this follow in line with God’s thinking, as He revealed Himself through His Word?

What about when David murdered God’s friend, Uriah?  Did God not have to forgive David because the sin was done towards Uriah?  What about when God forgave Manasseh, who burned his children alive in a fire?  Did God not have to forgive Manasseh because the sin was done towards the children and not to Him?

What about Peter?  Did God the Father not have to forgive Peter for what he did to Jesus when Peter denied he knew Jesus three times in His time of greatest need?

God affirms a bond to us when He says,

“‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'” (Jesus, quoted in Matthew 25:40b)

God does feel our pain.  And He does have to forgive us for the pain we cause others.

God not only created us bonded to Him, but He also created us to bond with each other.  When we see someone hurt someone else, we, too, are hurt (I hope).  We should not witness evil and be unmoved.  Sin is not committed against one individual.  Sin is committed against God, and, as such, it affects all of His creation.

When someone sins against us, those of us who are Christ followers must forgive them.  But even when someone sins against someone we love, if we follow Christ, we must forgive them because they have done something against us—knowingly or unknowingly.  They have hurt us by hurting someone we love.  And we can forgive them for the pain they have caused us–but only through Jesus.

Forgiveness is a painful thing.  It hurts and, contrary to popular belief, it is not therapeutic.  That misses the whole point of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is about blessing the other person, not blessing myself.  It’s about blessing someone when they should be cursed; loving someone when they should be hated.

But why on earth would we do such a thing?  I know why I would.  For every one thing I could find to forgive, God has forgiven me ten billion more.  My life is utterly hopeless without God’s forgiveness, not just His forgiveness of what I have done against Him, but His forgiveness of what I have done against all I have sinned against.

Thinking this way, then, forgiving others of all they have done that causes me pain—whether it was done directly against me or done against me by hurting someone I love—is the only way for me to be.  It is the only way I can reflect, in a tiny and broken way, the love shown me by God.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15, NKJV)

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own people holy and dearly loved, with tender-heartedness, kindness, lowliness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another and readily forgiving each other, if any one has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:12-13, Weymouth)

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Why I Would Never Believe in Evolution: Lou Gehrig’s Disease

I watched my father drink his meals.

I put meal replacement drinks in a blender.  I still hear that terrible whir.  My father drank chocolate shakes for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner.  As he drank, he would choke.  Milkshake would come out his nose and mouth as he would cough and gag and struggle to breathe.  Hospice told us that if he choked to the point he couldn’t clear his lungs, there would be nothing emergency services could do.  He didn’t have the muscle strength to push the food up, and trying to dislodge the food wouldn’t work.

He didn’t choke to death, though.  Over a period of about 11 hours, he slowly suffocated as his lungs pulled in less air and he breathed more and more carbon dioxide.

What does this have to do with evolution?

A whole lot, actually.

People who believe God created the universe over billions of years usually believe the fossil record as millions of years old.  Dating dinosaurs back millions of years means that, before the Garden of Eden– which we know happened recently (about 6,000 years ago or so) based on genealogy–there was cancer, because dinosaur bones had cancer.

I don’t accept those bones are millions of years old.  I think the dating methods carry assumptions that will eventually be proven wrong.  But I don’t want to get caught up right now in the dating methods, or even the fossil record, or the Big Bang theory, or any of that.  I want to go back to my father.

If disease was around before Adam fell, disease is not a consequence of sin.  And that would mean God allowed disease to happen “naturally” over the course of millions of years as some animals died out and others survived.  (And humans, of course, would be not a whole lot different than an animal, from an evolutionary standpoint.)

And that means Lou Gehrig’s Disease always happened, or always could have happened.  Genetic mutations–always possible.  Disease–always with us.  And that would mean God called our universe “very good” (see Genesis 1) in the midst of death and slow death.

Believing the God of the Bible would create in this way is so totally inconsistent with everything the Bible tells us about his character, it would be, if people realized what they were actually saying, believing in a different god altogether.

And what hope could I possibly have that this god could create a new heavens and earth I would want to be in, if he could not create the first time without using methods of suffering?

If death and disease is this god’s natural way to allow his creation to exist . . . what hope do I have that my father, right now, doesn’t have Lou Gehrig’s Disease in Heaven?

Isaiah 53:2 says (NKJV) about Jesus:

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows

This passage destroys evolutionary thinking.  For a god who allows suffering, struggle, disease, and death over millions of years just because He likes to create that way . . . has no place in the Bible.  My God cursed the world as a consequence of sin, for the very reason of bringing us back to Him. Only when we realized the severity of our fall could we desire to be pulled out of the deep, dark hole of sin.

My father isn’t suffering in Heaven.  He doesn’t have Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  He isn’t choking on milkshakes.  And he isn’t struggling to breathe.  Because that is not God’s “very good”.

God’s “very good” is how He created the world.  And God’s “very good” is how He restores us and will one day create a new heavens and earth through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . who took away all sin’s power forever for all who trust in Him.

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13, ESV)

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. (Hebrews 10:10, NLT)

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Find out more about a 6-day creation: Answers in Genesis

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.