Proof of God
Monday, March 29, 2010
Jesus didn't pick His metaphors lightly. Jesus is the Word after all, so every word he spoke was chosen with complete precision. He could have picked any symbol in the universe, yet he said “turn the other cheek.” Why? Clearly He intended us to think in terms of being willing to allow another slap. Does that mean He wants us to be slapped? Of course not. But Jesus does want us to remain within arm’s length—slapping distance—of each other.
At this point, some people always want to fly to worst-case scenarios, so please understand I do not mean that an abused wife should continue to allow herself to be beaten. But real forgiveness always involves some level of engagement—as much as possible within the confines of good sense. This is true because God is love. Everything God does and every command God ever gave can ultimately be traced back to a desire to nourish loving relationships between us and our neighbor, and between us and Him. The one thing that makes a loving relationship impossible is to push a person completely out of your life. The entire point of forgiveness is remaining open to reconciliation. Anything less than that is a counterfeit forgiveness, which is to say, a lie.
If Jesus’ metaphor means anything, it means you cannot forgive a person from beyond arm’s length.
Another important aspect of forgiveness is the fact that it’s a choice, not a process. We may need to make the choice a thousand times, and that choosing and re-choosing may look like a process, but in fact it is not. We are commanded to forgive. The command came with a promise and a warning, in order to teach us it is not an option, not a suggestion. It is a sin to disobey. To call it a “process” is tantamount to calling obedience to any other command a process. “I’m working on being faithful to my wife.” “I’m working on leaving other people’s possessions alone.” “I’m working on telling the truth.” These are morally identical statements to “I’m working on forgiving.” There is no middle ground, no process involved. There is only the choice to obey Jesus in this area in this moment, or not.
Posted byAthol Dickson at 8:11 AM