2. Essay: Transcending Satanic Desires – The Need for Forgiveness
Given our remarkable capacity for self-delusion and our intense desire to feel good about ourselves, how do we recognize when our actions are evil? Christianity teaches that all sins are forgivable. If we genuinely repent and seek to “sin no more,” God will forgive our sins and we can remain right with God. Further, Jesus encouraged us to forgive each other, providing a path by which we might reconcile with each other. Forgiveness takes away the need avoid blame. Indeed, once we accept responsibility for our actions, we should have no incentive to participate in scapegoating which, at its core, is the process of attributing excessive guilt to others.
This formulation is simple, straightforward, and it readily leads to peace and justice. Nevertheless, we have seen many bitter conflicts involving Christians – within families, between communities, in churches, between Christian denominations, and with people of differing faiths. Though much good has been done in the name of Christ, Christianity also has a tragic history of perpetrating violence and injustice. Why?
I suspect that, at some level of consciousness, people don’t fully believe in God’s forgiveness. In other words, they assume that, if God knew their sinful actions and their broader sinful desires, God would not love them. Further, if their dark side were laid bare to the general public, they would be held in dangerously low regard. We are taught that God forgives us, but is it reasonable to believe this? I’ll explore this question next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary HoffmanUnified Efforts under God can Free Creation from Corruption