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forgiving God

I get questions.
I do.

Answering them is one of the more enjoyable things I get to do. Loved this one, and the asker –
especially in this season so focused on God forgiving us:

Rob ministered to a woman last Monday. Towards the end he became aware that she was harboring unforgiveness towards God for not rescuing her when she was being abused as a child. A woman in our group asked ” where in scripture can you find that God needs forgiving.” It was rattling because that is not what Rob said. So question. Are Rob and I unbiblical because of our belief that she was holding onto “unforgiveness” against God? anger-shared-with-god2

Great question.
Answer (at least this week):

I think what is being overlooked in this matter of forgiveness is who the forgiveness is really for. Does God “need” to be forgiven? I don’t suppose so. But most of us feel that way when we fill abandoned/ignored/ dumped etc by him! Hence we have wonderfully dark Psalms of complaint like Psalm 88…or try Psalm 73 on for size. “God is good…but BOY did I ever have a beef with him…until I finally saw things more clearly.” Watch the journey revealed there. Psychologically and spiritually we have to navigate our gripes with God through complaint and lament – which is what those Psalms are for. To stifle that by saying, “God doesn’t need forgiveness – he doesn’t have to answer to you and you have no right to speak to him about your ‘issues'” shuts down the healing process and denies the Psalms (the Word!) their God designed purpose in helping us through our hurts.

Does God need forgiveness? Perhaps not. But do we ever need to go through the process of forgiving him!
Oh yes we do.

Which reminds me of a story told by Lawrence Kushner. One of my all time favs.

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Now THAT’S a title…

THE STORY IS TOLD OF RABBI LEVI YITZHAK OF BERDITCHEV that once on Kol Nidre, the holiest night of the year when all sins are confessed, the tailor, one of the most devout members of the community, was absent. Concerned, the rabbi left the synagogue and went to the tailor’s home. To his surprise he found the tailor looking at a piece of paper before him on the table.

“What’s the matter?” asked Levi Yitzhak.”

“Oh, everything’s fine,” replied the tailor. “As I was getting ready to attend the service I made a list with two columns. At the top of one I wrote my name and at the top of the other I wrote, ‘God of all the Universe.’ Then, one by one, I began to list my sins. ‘Cheated Goldman out of a pair of trousers.’ And in God’s column I noted God’s omission: ‘Little girl died of diphtheria.’ Then the next sin, ‘Lost my temper with my children,’ and in God’s column, ‘I heard there was famine in another country.’” And so it went. The tailor showed the rabbi the completed list. “And for every sin I had committed during the past year, God had done one too. So I said to God, ‘Look, we each have the same number of sins. If you let me off, I’ll let You off!’”

But the story doesn’t end there. When the rabbi looked at the paper his face grew red and he scolded his friend: “You fool! You had Him and you let Him go!”

Lesson: Perhaps we shouldn’t be too hasty to let God go.
We may not be ready yet.

God, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do…

tradition

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2015 in haverings

 

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religious ruckus

This week’s installment of the MAV…John 7:53-8:11…a religious ruckus involving a disreputable woman in a disputed passage...

Meanwhile, Jesus made his way to the Mount of Olives outside the city.

But not for long.

Early the next morning he was right back at it in the temple. All the crowd flocked to him looking for more, and he obliged them. Having taken his seat, he began teaching them – until a major religious ruckus broke out, Scripture pundits and strict sect types showing up, a woman in tow, a woman caught red-handed in the act of adultery.

They sought no private audience with Jesus, they pushed her right into the center where Jesus was teaching, challenging him,

“Rabbi, this woman was caught red-handed in the very act of adultery! We know what Moses in the law says must be done to such a woman – death by stoning. But what do you say?”

And in case you hadn’t figured it out, this whole thing was a set up; they were just looking for ammunition to nail writingindirtJesus to the wall.

But Jesus didn’t bite or budge.

He just stooped down and started doodling in the dirt with his finger.

The religious lynch mob didn’t budge either.
They stood there and kept prodding him with their own pointed fingers of accusation.

Jesus finally looked up at them and said,

“The only one with a rock in his hand is the one with no sin in his heart.”

And then he was back to finger doodling in the dirt.

Stunned by what they heard, they began to clear out, one by one, from the oldest to the youngest of them, until she was left
all
alone –
just the woman,
right there in the center.

Looking up again, Jesus spoke to her.

“Woman, where did they all go?
What, no judge and jury to condemn you?”

She said, sheepishly, “Lord, none at all.”

“Well then, you won’t hear any condemnation from me either.
On your way – only, from now on,
how about avoiding the ruts of sin
and aiming higher.”

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Gospel of John, MAV, Mercy, Religion

 

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