Thursday, 06 September 2012
I am almost 64 years old and after years of pondering over the mystery of the death of Christ Jesus on the cross, I can honestly say that my understanding is still deficient. I get some glimmer, then I lose it and left with groping and more seeking, calling on the Holy Spirit to enlighten me deeper.
Forgiveness can only be given by the one who has been sinned against. I for instance can’t bestow forgiveness on someone who has harmed another, it can’t be done. If a loved one is harmed, I can forgive the loss that was inflicted on me because of a loved one afflicted -- but not for the actual evil done to my loved one.
Sin is a two edged sword and its reality is rejected by many today. To hurt, or to belittle, or to abuse another human being in any way also lessens the humanity of the one sinning. Conscience has to be quieted, made mute, if this becomes a way of life. Guilt is like a coiled serpent within the soul; slowly growing until one day it will consume the one who embraces sin as a way of life. To go through life treating others as mere objects to be used for ones own pleasure or gain will stifle the seed of ‘true humanity’ that Christ Jesus calls us to.
When we use or abuse others, we are in fact creating ourselves outside of graces healing power to bring us to conversion, to truth and in the end to reality. For when we sin against another, we also sin against God in a grievous way. When we strike another -- in any way, be it verbal, sexual, or through actual physical trauma -- it leaves a deep wound within our own souls. We become our own killers, creating ourselves to be creatures of hate and malice instead of living out the image we are made in.
In the end, sin can only be ultimately forgiven by God, since all sin is directed at him. We are each made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus identifies with each of us, so to sin against another and ourselves can only be forgiven by the one who is the main receiver of our sin. Jesus shows us what sin does. Only Jesus can forgive our sins and brings us to the Father.
God is infinite, Jesus is a revelation of the Father, yet there is still much that is unknown and the pondering over this mystery is something I believe all Christians are asked to meditate upon and to not seek simplistic black and white answers, on how God works in the hearts of all of mankind. If any religion becomes a mere ideology, then it will die.
Fr. Sebastian Moore in his book,“The Crucified God is no stranger,” says that when we look upon Jesus on the cross, we are observing our own souls. We are self destructive; we hate others because we hate ourselves. Hate leads to hate, violence to more violence, greed is insatiable and all the longings of the heart, if not directed towards the transcendent, in the end leads to an act of self creation that only wants itself for eternity; separation from God. Our cultures are the reflection of our inner lives, all of it. Hell on earth in some areas of the world. In those parts of the world where things seem better, it is often so because others are kept in poverty, want, so that the richer areas can live lives of luxury. Yet even in those areas, there is suffering, perhaps worse that in the poorer areas of the world.
I am not pointing fingers at anyone, nor am I anyone’s judge. Thank God for that. We are called to love others, to bring out their best, to listen and to see those around us. To lift up, embrace, love and heal. Yes we are all healers of one another, or we can be those who wound. I believe that much of the anger I still deal with -- irrational as it is -- is based on my own struggle to not only to forgive others, but to also love and to allow Christ Jesus love ever deeper into my heart. No human being is outside of God’s love; let us make sure that we are encouragers for others, and not those who push those they come in contact with under. We are on a journey of self discovery and all are pursued by grace. In the end, we all choose, perhaps on a level seen only by God. God is not to be feared; at least not in the modern sense of the word, no, I believe we need to fear ourselves even before we fear others.
What do you find mysterious about the Christian path? What do you think about the idea that you can't forgive people but you can forgive wrongs?