Standing In The Gap Of The Real And Perceived
In Part 4 of this series, we examined King David’s relationship with Yahweh for clues about the nature of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. We concluded by noting that God‘s rightfulness to judge is due to His absolute righteousness. God alone is qualified to judge others.
But thank God, His love for us makes him much more inclined to forgive. Let us not fool ourselves here; judgment is God’s job. It comes with the territory. But grace – blessing the unworthy, and mercy – not executing judgment on the guilty: these are God’s desires. That’s right; you heard me. God always judges, and He always executes that judgment, but He doesn’t always execute that judgment on the guilty. Strange, but true. This is the good news! This is how God can dispense both justice and mercy perfectly.
To be sure, we are allowed and encouraged to ask for the forgiveness of others we’ve hurt. It’s not ultimately necessary for God’s sake, but it is for ours, so we might as well practice at every opportunity. Besides, He commands it. It is a necessary part of working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It’s an exercise in emotional purification, an opportunity we should welcome as a reminder of our modest position in the pantheon of mortals.
Likewise, when we forgive others, it doesn’t really relieve them of any cosmic burden. We can’t do that. But to the “forgiven,” it can spark hope for that relief, and give us the satisfaction that comes with participating in their discovery. It helps, of course, if we have first made that discovery ourselves. Practicing the act of pardoning others also allows us to let go, and reminds us of that which has been forgiven us. Basically, it makes us more tolerable to be tolerant of others. Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere. Anyway, it’s not a bad idea, I guess, all in all.
Some of us out there need to get off our horses and practice, starting with this month’s whipping boy, former congressman Anthony Weiner. Can’t get loose from the stirrups? Then maybe you’ve been in the saddle too long. Chafes a little bit, eh? You should be ashamed. Take a humble walk with the rest of us, the Weiners of the world.