To forgive releases the festering of anger. Like blowing the seeds from a dandelion puff. Anger scatters we know not where. We are at peace.
What about the forgiven? Are they trivialised by our forgiveness? Their passion in whatever took place – treated like a dandelion puff – of no significance?
To confess releases the angst of wrong doing. Like blowing the seeds from …
What about the confessed-to? Aren’t they simply the recipient of our dumping? Their happy life brought to a stop by our confession and contrition? A bit like the sacrificial animal – our confession and pain passes from us to them? They hurt, we don’t.
I had occasion some time ago to hear confession. The confessor was adamant that having released the secret to me so long held back, they would immediately find the person they had “wronged” and confess. Beg their forgiveness. Clear the air. Set things straight. Start again.
My cautious observation was that the wronged party was ignorant of any wrong-doing. My question was simply to ask – who would benefit from this intended “setting things straight”?
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God. John 3:16-21
These verses are well known. Greatly loved. For God so loved the world … The rallying cry of the True Believer. We are The Light. We do not hide our light. We abhor the darkness. We do what is true. We are saved.
And then it gets messy. And judgemental. And personal.
Just like the scenario above. Come to the light may mean sending someone else to the darkness. Sometimes the light is a pedestal, beautifully lit, ever so forgiving, with room for just one. Sometimes we rush to the light and do not realise we are shoving another out of the way in our haste.
God is eternal. God’s love is more pure than we can imagine … Human love ain’t in the same league. Human love is speckled with all sorts of imperfections. Human love is fragile compared to God Love. I have children, sons and daughters. And my love is human. I would not offer any one of them to save you or me.
I read these words from John and ponder. That this “being saved” malarkey … This “being condemned” stuff … These phrases really should come with a health warning. That for the health of others we ought to nurture this gift thoughtfully. That we guard this gift and learn it’s power lovingly. That – for the love of God of all – we come to the light with care.
My forgiveness, my confession, my feeling good about me and God … just who might I be trampling on without knowing? What other saved souls might I be causing pain?
There is a song “Don’t worry – be happy.” I used to sing along. The lyrics uplifting. The song a rallying cry for us optimists. Until one day I heard within the song … “Don’t bring everyone down”
Don’t bring everyone down? That is a reason for happiness? Be happy so that you don’t bring “us” down? Those four words tore me up inside. And I have never been able to listen to that song again.
Every rallying cry … always pushes someone into the darkness.
“The light has come into the world”
How many will you trample on today being so filled with light it blinds you? Who might be shoved into the darkness by my urgent joy of being saved?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” How about you. Would you give your only child for me?
Thought not. Me neither.
And would you notice if you shoved me aside? In your joy of being saved. Would you?
Me neither. Not all the time. Not if I am honest.