Tag Archives: forgiveness

National Forgiveness

 

2016-08-06_splash-3-1190007This may seem to be a crazy concept; however, God dropped it into my spirit a few weeks ago. It is staying in the forefront of my mind quite possibly because we are in this political season. As I pondered the concept, I imagined it to be a fully developed doctrine plucked out of the rubble of our current civilization by some futuristic civilization. What my mind can’t imagine is this concept ever being acted on by the human subcultures that exist in the world today.

The act of forgiveness would necessitate a clear violation of sovereignty. Rarely do we think of ourselves as sovereign or relate to other individuals as sovereign beings. The term is relegated to members of royal families and the stuff they own as part of their kingdom. Yet that is exactly what we all are, members of God’s royal family.

Notwithstanding, we live in a reality, that is defined by our awareness of secularized social authority. These various forms include authority of family, of persons over 18 year of age, religious organizations, state and local governments, and their delegated officers. When these various entities exercise their form of authority quite often they come into conflict, and we appeal to a higher authority such as the Federal Government and God.  Therefore, it is that within the reality of our social structure, violations happen and forgiveness is needed. Many judicial proceedings are held every day to keep in-check the lines of authority and to recognize the boundaries of individual rights or what could be described as personal sovereignty.

A violation of national sovereignty could rise to the level of an act of war or a simple snub in diplomatic relations between two nations. Depending on the severity of the violation, what is required is for the collective ego of the violated nation to absorbed the incursion to its sovereignty and be willing to forgive.

What this is not, is an overlooking of an accident between allies, or an act of insurgency by one of it colonized states. What I am talking about is an unprovoked unilateral attacked on the national sovereignty by a nation with lesser or equal strategic power. What makes the situations more difficult is when the offense is witnessed by other sovereign nations. This is where a national ego arises and asserts it standing among its fellow members of nation states.

The reason I cannot imagine the concept of National Forgiveness being executed at this moment in human history is because the individual collective egos (you and me) within a nation-state are very fragile. We live in a world where the love of God for us is constantly in question by every human child. In other words, every child still requires a constant demonstration by God that they are loved. In the face of a foreign sovereign nation’s violation, the collective of individuals turn to God for justification and an overt act to save face and comfort their fragile ego. God on the other hand is looking for mature individuals, people who recognize His presence within, having the strength of spirit to absorb offense and a heart willing to forgive.

The roots of the Judaeo-Christian religion has created a system of beliefs, popular today in humanity, that God chooses to love one child more than others for the benefit of all His human children. Therefore, everyone wants blessing so they can be the path through which humanity is saved.  Everyone desires to be so enriched that others around them can’t help but notice the hand of God in their lives.  If that is not reality, wars are fought to change the status quo. It is within this traditional framework that makes forgiveness between individuals very difficult and the concept of National Forgiveness a pie in the sky fairy-tale. Can this be changed? Does hope exist?

When we examine the roots of traditional scriptural interpretation and the resulting human beliefs today, we can see some areas available for re-evaluation. Again, in the Judaeo-Christian religion three early historical stories (Cain/Able, Jacob/Esau, Ishmael/Isaac) are caught up in this dynamic of who will get God’s blessing. Even the most popular parable of Jesus, the story of the lost or prodigal son has its traditional interpretation trapped in this paradigm of blessing one and not the other.

Luke 11:13 (NKJV)  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

The belief that a parent chooses to love one child over another child may be an experiential reality, from the point of view of human interaction, however it is a misinterpretation of scripture and of God’s nature to think that God would bless one child over another. This definition of dysfunctional love, even though traditional, is a gross injustice and has been used to justify one group of humans mistreating another group.

Humanity is evolving by dropping outdated traditions and beliefs that tend to keep the status quo and serve only portions of humanity. Jesus died for all and scriptural interpretation is growing in the light of what “all” means today. Concepts like National Forgiveness are on the horizon for the nation states within humanity. More and more human children are learning to recognize God’s presence within “all” and His love for “all”. Therefore, as His children mature, humanity’s evolution continues to advance.

The infinite-ness of God is clearly seen in scripture. However, the human inability to contemplate the infinite-ness of God or the infinite-ness within our personal being has causes us to hoard wealth and display it like a badge of honor creating a false reality of God’s blessings. Individual human identity has shifted its roots from the relationship with God, to its relationship with wealth, traditionally interpreted as God’s blessing. Our ability to discern God’s presence is therefore limited to the wealth we perceive.

God loves us all and God is within us all, individually and collectively.  The awareness of that truth makes individual forgiveness and national forgiveness possible.

Luke 15:28-32 (NKJV) “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

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Where Our Loyalty is, There We Will Find Our Evidence

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Where is your loyalty? I am sure we have all been in situations where this question required us to give an answer or made us wonder it about others. The answer to this question is more a geographic issue than we might think. Also arriving at this answer has plenty to do with our navigation skills. Loyalty is spiritual evidence, and it is about the substance that lies at the core of our being.

We humans have devised many forms of organized relationships such as marriage, friendships, business relationships, team sports, work, and small and large communities. On a global scale, we are members of nations or states, sovereign kingdoms, and multi-national corporations.  In addition, and just over the horizon more of us will enter relationships through user collectives of global telecommunications apps and other virtual products like Second Life and Bitcoin.

Every human enters this world via a family relationship. Some families are biological and others are social in nature. From there, the layers of relatedness such as gender, race and a host of genetic characteristics make us part of various social groups. Christians baptize themselves, some at birth others later in life as a sign to others of their membership as part of a spiritual community. Likewise, other people perform ceremonial acts to celebrate and signify their relationship to others and of their membership in one of the various spiritual communities of the world.

Developing a hierarchy of loyalties (ex. God, family, work and country) is a way to help navigate our many relationships. However, loyalties can still become confused. For example, we can be loyal to our relationship with our religious community and at the same time we can betray our relationship with God. We can also be loyal to a political or military objective of one group and betray our loyalty to other groups like our race, gender, family or humanity.

We each have also inherited the awareness of the many cultures connected to us. At every moment of every day, we knowingly make decisions that help one of our entangled relationships often at the betrayal of another interwoven relationship. However, as ambassadors of God our loyalty is really a manifestation of God’s loyalty. Therefore, when we experience breaches in trust they should not be personal to us because in every relationship we are representatives of God.

Luke 7:47 (NLT) “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Luke 17:3-4 (NLT) So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

Forgiveness, grace and mercy are the tools God uses to restore relationships. The sole mission of Jesus was to help all humans understand that their relationship with God is whole and therefore, living in unity with God is available and possible. It is a bad religious point of view to see humanity today as separated from God. The purpose of the gospel or good news is that any person can live a life in unity with God. Therefore, as we re-present God, when betrayal happens, we have the opportunity to die to self and forgive like the One we represent.

It is my encouragement that we understand the source of our loyalty. Only God, is good, and if we are open and sensitive to His Presence within, He can live through us. It is God’s desire for the entirety of humanity to understand that His forgiveness, grace and mercy have already made every human relationship with Him whole. In all relationships that we are the party to, we should likewise have this same goal when we perceive betrayal of trust. And that goal is to love and make every relationship whole.

If we can let go of the false belief that we never betray others and that others only betray us, we have a chance at peace on earth. Our false beliefs result in unreal expectations, which put others under undue pressure to live up to our unreal expectations. Our loyalty is a manifestation of God’s love and loyalty every time we forgive and extend grace and mercy.

Jeremiah 3131-33 (NLT) “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord. 33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Therefore, our initial question remains standing. Where is your loyalty? Is our loyalty rooted in false beliefs? No! The true substance of our loyalty is embedded in love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. God gives these inherited traits to every human child. At the core of every relationship we are involved in, if we are actively aware, is the very Presence of God. It is there, where we shall find a treasure of evidence proving the existence of God.

Mark 10:2-9 (NLT) Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?” Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?” “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

Luke 12:33-34 (NIV) Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

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The Evidence of Natural Order

2014-01-04_CAM00417Forgiveness, grace and mercy are the evidence of God’s Presence and they are a part of the natural order of God’s Kingdom. To make this more obvious let us compare this same evidence to the fruit produced by the organized religions of the material world specifically Christian religious organizations. Forgiveness, grace and mercy can also be said to be the fruit of a life connected or entangled with the life and laws of God.

 The natural order of the material world and its religious organizations will have some rate of decay (entropy). However the energy to maintain and grow these organizations can be measured by examining the fruit yielded. The same could be said for our current understanding of God’s spiritual kingdom. Let us assume two things. 1) that the material world and its laws are a shadow of how the spiritual world operates and 2) that our human mind is capable of observing the effects of true spiritual fruit.

 If energy is the exercising of authority then the fruit of a material or spiritual realm can be used to measure the effectiveness of that realm to maintain or grow itself. We can observe the use of authority in God’s Kingdom and the various Christian religious organizations to determine similarities and gain understanding of the natural order in both the spiritual and material realms. I will limit this discussion in hopes that we will become conscious of our experience as well as become more observant of the future uses of authority.

 When observing religious organizations, we may notice that during periods when there are no limits as to who can execute forgiveness, grace and mercy these organizations begin to have a fruitful period of growth and membership is extended to any human. But when the organization limits authority or requires hierarchical consent (ie. new member, discipleship programs) to protect structure and traditions by limiting how and who receives the benefits of membership the trend towards growth slows. The apparent growth during times when authority is limited usually comes when it consumes other like organizations or its members(pre-approved humans).

 The Kingdom of God places it authority to execute forgiveness, grace and mercy in the heart of each individual member. As new members are birthed authority for them to do the same is transferred immediately and the Kingdom grows. The only tradition is that they learn to execute the forgiveness, grace and mercy that was freely given to them for every human they meet. God’s kingdom does not need to expended energy to maintain exceptions for cultural traditions, national affiliations, gender, race or economic status, all energy is expended for growth.

 What we begin to notice is the execution of authority produces fruit. God’s Kingdom has always maintained that His law be written on the heart of every member. However material realm organizations have always held a natural order of hierarchy where different rules are applied at different levels for different circumstances.

 Matthew 28:18-19 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,…..

The non-equality with respect to authority in the material realm corrodes and establishes a natural order with duration short of eternity. One reason the material realm will never be eternal is that it must expend energy in the transfer process of authority in order to establish and maintain an authority hierarchy in its social order. In the Kingdom of God the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead resides in all believers and forgiveness, grace and mercy have no limits.

 The Kingdom of God establishes a different natural order where each person can live and walk in the way of Jesus by simply executing forgiveness, grace and mercy to every human they come in contact with. Each person also has the freedom to ignore the status quo of their material world and extend forgiveness, grace and mercy to people who look and think nothing like themselves. Even our enemies can become members of God’s Kingdom when we use our authority and execute forgiveness, grace and mercy.

 There are many people committed to their religious order but I encourage us all to compare our way to God’s way. As we begin our comparison I encourage us to simply limit our initial assessment in the way we execute forgiveness, grace and mercy. I pray that we each have the courage to make the comparison and begin to live an eternal life that shows forth the evidence of God’s natural order.

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35 NLT)

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. 29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

 

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