Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forgiveness. Show all posts

Monday, July 10, 2006

Today’s Christianity:

Pick and Choose Theology

There is a trend in today’s Christianity that is ever growing, and is an alarming trend that threatens the very foundations and tenets of our faith. That trend is not limited to any one geographical or denominational identifier, but, is widespread among all nations, all peoples, and all systems of Christian belief. Thousands and thousands of people who would identify themselves as Christian have willingly been led into "pick and choose" theology. Most of these pick and choosers tend to identify themselves as “progressive Christians”.

What was that? You’re asking me what is a "progressive Christian"? You sure you want the answer? Especially coming from me, one who is an unabashed conservative. You really want my answer? OK, then…you asked for it…too late to cry now, so here it is: A “progressive Christian” is a person or group of people who though they claim to be nominally Christian, do not have the faith, courage, integrity or intestinal fortitude to stand up for God and His truth, but, have the unwavering, unflinching, unmitigated gall to stand up for anything and everything that opposes God, opposes His Church, opposes the teachings of His prophets and His Apostles. They are the ones who will call sin good, and call that which is good evil.

We see these people making their outlandish and ungodly stands on television, radio, the internet, and in the print media as well. If there is a camera, a microphone or pen and paper to be had, they will do all that they can to try to destroy all that God has wrought. You will see them use terms like “social justice” where they accuse the conservatives of ignoring the poor and vulnerable while focusing on issues like abortion and same sex marriage.

I tend to think they want we conservatives to ignore abortion and same sex marriage issues, because deep down they know that theologically the “progressives” don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to those two issues. The “progressives” would like for us all to think…no, to believe that because man changes, God changes, too. I think they actually believe that God should reform to suit what they think and what they believe, and that God and His law are merely words written in a book that can be taken or discarded at will.

They really don’t understand scripture or the teachings of the Apostles and the Church, and they tend to prove so each and every time they open their mouths. For instance, when conservatives oppose the gay lifestyle that is so often promoted by these “progressives”, the progressives will tell us, and in quite a smug manner, too, that “if Jesus was walking on earth today, He would be spending His time with the gays and lesbians” and so forth. I have to agree. He more than likely would. What they fail to comprehend with what they have said, is that they themselves have just made an admission of the gay lifestyle being a sin, and that all of us... are in need of His redemption. For when Jesus taught in Palestine, He was always with the sinners, and in Mark 2: 16 And the scribes and the Pharisees, seeing that he ate with publicans and sinners, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 17 Jesus hearing this, saith to them: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners. Further, they also should realize, that as His instructions to them would be as His instructions to the woman caught in adultery in John 8: 10 Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? 11 Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.

So, yes. I agree Jesus would be with them, and He would tell them, as He tells us all to “go and sin no more". His being with them would not be to approve their lifestyle, but, to reprove it.

What people do not want to realize, do not want to admit, is that no matter how much man changes, no matter how much the times may change, God does not change. God is not bound by time, He is beyond all time, and His ways and His thoughts are above our ways and our thoughts. God is not bound by what we may think is right or wrong, but, man is bound to honor and obey what God says is right and what He says is wrong, and there is nothing or no one who can change what God’s law is, and no matter what man may think it should be, God has told us all what His law is, and a feeble excuse on His Day of Judgment that “the times had changed” is not going to hold up. We know what His law is. It is up to each of us to do it. Calling oneself “progressive” is just an excuse to live as we please, and not as God pleases. After all, God’s way is tough. The progressive way is not, and is a way of denying that sin is indeed, sin.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.21 Woe to you that rue wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own conceits. 22 Woe to you that are mighty to drink wine, and stout men at drunkenness. 23 That justify the wicked for gifts, and take away the justice of the just from him. 24 Therefore as the tongue of the fire devoureth the stubble, and the heat of the dame consumeth it: so shall their root be as ashes, and their bud shall go up as dust: for they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and have blasphemed the word of the Holy One of Israel.

2 Timothy 4: 1 I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: 2 Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. 3 For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: 4 And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. 5 But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober.

Copyright © 2006 Steve Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Forgiveness. Just what is forgiveness? According to the Pocket Catholic Dictionary by Father John A. Hardon, S.J., the following applies:

  • FORGIVENESS. Pardon or remission of an offense. The Catholic Church believes that sins forgiven are actually removed from the soul (John 20) and not merely covered over by the merits of Christ. Only God can forgive sins, since he alone can restore sanctifying grace to a person who has sinned gravely and thereby lost the state of grace. God forgives sins to the truly repentant either immediately through an act of perfect contrition or mediately through a sacrament. The sacraments primarily directed to the forgiveness of sins are baptism and penance, and secondarily, under certain conditions, also the sacrament of anointing.

Yet, we are also called to forgive. Time and again, we are asked by Jesus to forgive those who have wronged us, those who have hurt us. Yet, we being too human for own good, sometimes find it almost impossible to forgive others for wrongs that they have committed against our person. I think that a good example of this is a quote from President John F. Kennedy: "Forgive your enemies, but, remember their names."

That quote I think, shows our true "human" character. We say we forgive, but, is it true forgiveness, or do we say we forgive in order to try to fool ourselves, fool our "enemies", or are we trying to fool God?

When we say we forgive, then we are to forgive others, as Our Lord forgives us. To do otherwise is not living up to his example in forgiving us. Saint John said, he who hates His brother, and says he loves the Father, is a liar. He has no love in him. I will also say, he that says he forgives his brother, but, will not forget his brothers offense, is a liar. For any man or woman who cannot and will not forget the offenses against him by his/her brother/sister, is placing themselves above God, and saying their giving or refusing forgiveness is above God's forgiveness. When we are told to forgive, we are to totally and completely forgive, and we are to totally and completely forget the wrongs done unto us. When God forgives us, our sins, our wrongs are completely forgotten by Him, as if we had never sinned. If we do not forgive as completely as God does, then we are in the wrong. By not forgiving completely, and by not forgetting what was done to us, then we are saying that we are above God. "Mary Jane was just so mean to me. I can forgive what she said, but, I'll never forget what she said!" Is that the kind of forgiveness Jesus wanted us to show? Or is the kind of forgiveness He shows us, the same kind He showed to the woman caught in adultery?

John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst,
4 And said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou?
6 And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground.
7 When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground.
9 But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?
11 Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.

Is that not the same kind of forgiveness that we should show? For if we truly forgive, then there is nor was any wrong against us. If we say we forgive, and still manage to hold onto a grudge, still have memories of the wrongs, then we have not forgiven them as we have asked God to forgive us. We see from this that not only was she forgiven, but, her sin was forgotten, because there is no one to accuse her. In God's sight, when He has forgiven us our sins, there is no one to accuse us, no one to remember our offense, so it is as if our sin never happened.

In His prayer, He said for us to pray: "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". How much more clear can it be?

Forgive us Father, as we forgive them who have hurt us. So that we may strive, to make our forgiveness as true, perfect, and loving as yours is to us. Strengthen us, encourage us, and embolden us, to be as loving and forgiving unto others as You, Our Lord and Master, are unto us.

James 2:8 If then you fulfill the royal law, according to the scriptures: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; you do well.
9 But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, being reproved by the law as transgressors.
10 And whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all.
11 For he that said: Thou shalt not commit adultery, said also: Thou shalt not kill. Now if thou do not commit adultery, but shalt kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak ye and so do, as being to be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For judgment without mercy to him that hath not done mercy. And mercy exalteth itself above judgment.

So, let us always strive to forget the offense of those we have forgiven. Granted, we are human, we are weak, but, rely on His strength, His Love, His forgiveness to guide us, strengthen us, and encourage us to forgive others as we have been forgiven by Him. Remember, asking for forgiveness, and then bestowing forgiveness to another, is a two fold occurrence of humility. One must humble him or her self to ask forgiveness, and we being only human, must also humble ourselves, and as true Christians grant forgiveness to those who are truly sorrowful. Now, that having been said, that does not mean that once you have forgiven someone, you have to become "best friends", hang out together, have them over to your house for dinner, etc., etc. It just means you have to love them, as He loves you.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

Copyright © 2006 Steve Smith. All Rights Reserved.