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Whose Forgiveness?

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Forwarded to me by our own Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, a recent article in American Thinker is worth passing on to others. First a little of the article, and then some comment.

I absolutely hate making mistakes. But more than this, I fear them. As a psychotherapist, I've spent many hours trying to figure out why.

All roads lead back to my mother: a woman who could be sweet one minute, and then, out of the blue, erupt like a volcano. I never knew what would trigger her rage.

This is my first childhood memory, a hazy image seared into my brain: I am in my bedroom at around age 5 with my mother, having just done something naughty. My mother explodes, "If you keep doing things like that, I won't love you anymore."

Night after night, I cried myself to sleep, overwhelmed with despair at this potential tragedy. It didn't seem humanly possible to survive without her love.

I cried and I cried until I couldn't cry anymore. Then, when my tears I dried up, I decided, with the logic of a small child, that I would never, ever make another mistake. Being perfect would shield me from disaster.

Not surprisingly, I became an anxious adult, a pleaser, someone who bent over backwards not to offend. But it wasn't just my mother who catapulted me into lifelong perfectionism. It was the absence of a forgiving God.

Read full article on AmericanThinker.com

The author, “Robin of Berkeley,” offers bracing insight. You can’t forgive yourself when you’re not the one you have ultimately offended and do not have the power or authority to absolve anyone—including yourself—of ultimate guilt. Liberalism encourages a form of “works-righteousness,” where the world is divided into the saved and the damned based on personal performance. “DO MORE!” is the message and, assuming the posture of the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable, one can congratulate oneself—maybe even thank God—that he or she isn’t like the “tax collector” (i.e., “Republicans and sinners”). The same spirit is evident enough in conservative politics, it should be added, just with a different agenda for salvation.

Yet there is something crucially missing from this article. Rod Rosenbladt points it out in his comment: “I hope someone does a little with her about who Christ was and what His cross did, so all of this hope gets grounded where God Himself grounded it. If someone doesn't do some "cross, blood, death, atonement, sacrifice" stuff with her, the usual trajectory is (because it is still law-based) a crash! I think Robin is more in need of a Gospel-preaching pastor than she realizes—a very, very tenuous position for any human being!”

The only place where God’s judgment and grace can be safely found is in Christ—specifically, in his thirty-three years of faithful obedience to his Father’s will from the heart, his blood-shedding substitution on the cross, and his triumphant resurrection for our justification and entrance into the new creation. The author properly points out that release from guilt only comes from God and not from our striving to do better next time. However, there is no mention of Christ. Yet apart from Christ, we cannot know God as merciful and forgiving, but only as the one to whom we are accountable and whose judgment we will face at the last.
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