What Forgiveness Isn’t

Forgiveness is not in any way saying something is okay or acceptable, nor is it saying that you deny appropriate justice. It's not even pretending something didn't happen—it totally happened and it definitely sucked.

What forgiveness is, is simply releasing someone from their debt. It's saying that the sin they committed is no longer held over them, for you have freed them from what was owed you.

Forgiveness and peace are not some masochistic way of embracing violence or seeking it out. This is a common misconception of Christian pacifism. People think we're somehow advocating that you should go get beat up by others and be all lovey-dovey and subject yourself to horrible situations without even trying to avoid them. But to quote Derek Flood, "The goal of enemy love is not to subject oneself to violence, but to act to break the cycle of violence" (Derek Flood, Disarming Scripture, p 191).

Jesus never said, "If someone molests you, forgive them and pretend it didn't happen and stick around." Absolutely not! Jesus came to set the captives free, not subject them to a theology of repetitive violence. Pacifism means embracing peace, love, and forgiveness over violence, hatred, and bitterness and it means doing it as many times as a sin is committed against you.

Pacifism and forgiveness still seek justice. The judgment and ruling of courts and judges and juries are completely acceptable—so long as a death sentence is not the answer, for Christians are to be pro-life in all ways, knowing redemption is always possible. Prison is still a possibility. Creative ways of making amends are still a possibility. God is a God of justice just as he is a God of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a way of allowing us to get away with things.

We often misunderstand what justice is as well, because we usually turn it into revenge. For example, I once felt that some injustice had been done to a friend of mine and I wanted to raise awareness so that those who had committed the injustice would have to face themselves. I called my friend looking for their opinion as to how far I should go to find that justice.

“Well, how bad do you want to get back at them?” they asked.

“I’m not trying to get back at anyone!" I laughed. "I’m just trying to find justice.”

“Right," they paused. "So how much justice do you want?”

I laughed again. We use the words so interchangeably and think of them as the same thing, but they're not. Justice is done in love, revenge is done in hatred. Justice is done in righteousness, revenge is done in unrighteousness. Justice is done in peace, revenge is done in violence. Justice is what's right in God's eyes, revenge is what's right in ours. We must be people of justice, not of vengeance, for Christians are to have nothing to do with vengeance (Ro 12:19).

This is an excerpt from my new book, "A Taste of Jesus." Grab the Kindle version for $10 or a physical copy for $20.

Advertisements

Jamin’s Top Albums of All Time

I’ve always wanted to let the world know what I believe are the best CDs ever created in the world. I will now do so. Please note, however, that I have a very wide variety of musical taste stretching from Motown to hard rock to electronic. So with no further ado: “JAMIN’S TOP ALBUMS OF ALL TIME!”

#11

Artist: Family Force 5
Album: Business Up Front / Party in the Back

Reasoning: Saw these guys live. Left with mixed feelings. Which you would too. Perhaps you already have mixed feelings just by looking at this album art. The dudes are weird. And in all honesty, the music is weird. It’s heavy, screamo, hip hop, electro, and incredibly fascinating. Ten stars for creativity and for being one of the only bands capable of pulling this kind of music off.

Quote:
I miss my first love bad
And it’s driving me mad
Just like a mixed up crazy person
Out of his head
It’s been a long long time
I’ve been on the decline
But now do a about face
So I can be replaced
180

#10

Artist: Paper Rings
Album: Paper Rings

Reasoning: Beautiful electronica, great vocals, creative music. These guys are still somewhat indie, but I’d say they have a lot going for them. Their unique sound could travel quite a distance. The only suggestion I could give is to alter the sound somewhat in the future, as some of the songs on this album kind of mesh together at some points with their familiar sound.

Quote:
My legs were weak and I travelled for miles
I heard your voice, but it took me awhile to see
My feet were cold but I knew it was fire
I felt Your hands, but it took me awhile to see
That You were here and I never looked back
That You would speak but I’d never take time to hear
You would whisper in the back of my ear
You took Your time and I followed Your voice from here

#9

Artist: Paper Route
Album: Absence

Reasoning: So there was this indie band I was in love with called For All the Drifters. They made the catchiest, most wonderful songs ever created by man kind. And now many of the members went all the way and got signed to Motown Records. It’s electronica rock, and they have one of the number one places in my heart as far as bands go. Their latest album absence is a must have and so I obviously suggest to you that you must have it. Soaring keyboards, awesome vocals, rockin’ guitars. What more could a man ask for? Also, you should note that when it comes to making catchy melodies, these guys are at the top of the food chain.

Quote:
On and on and on we go
Like a carousel that’s lost control
And we don’t know why
We don’t know why
We go, we go, we go in circles

#8

Artist: Jars of Clay
Album: The Long Fall Back to Earth

Reasoning: Jars of Clay has been around for many many years. Their first several albums were all hits in my heart. From acoustic to rock, these guys wrote beautiful songs. They right great chill music with inspiring lyrics. But for awhile they kind of went through a little bit of an awkward stage. But now they’ve totally revitalized their sound with their latest release “The Long Fall Back to Earth.” Their classic sound has now met the recent popular sound of electronica and all the noise of Jars of Clay has collided into their most beautiful album yet.

Quote:
Not to undermine the consequence
But you are not what you do
When you need it most
I have a hundred reasons why I love you

#7

Artist: David Crowder Band
Album: A Collision or (3+4=7)

Reasoning: David Crowder Band has always been on the far side of worship music. Sure, they’ve always been called a worship band, but they never conformed to the stereotypical sounds of worship music. In fact, this CD is one of the most varied CDs out there. Acoustic to rock, electronic to bluegrass, and much more. It’s very intelligent music and soothing to ears conformed to hear in a world full of unoriginal boring music.

Quote:
The heart breaking makes a sound
I never knew could be
So beautiful and loud
Fury filled and we
Collide

#6

Artist: MuteMath
Album: MuteMath

Reasoning: See MuteMath live and there’s no way you will leave without buying their album. The most insane drummer meets the most creative musicians, who in all honesty brought the sounds of electronica to mainstream radio. It seems they can all play any instrument and are incredible at all of their main instruments. The most energetic live concerts come from these guys and despite how long it took them to put out a new album, this self-titled release held it’s listeners until then.

Quote:
Can I break the spell
Of the typical?

#5

Artist: Coldplay
Album: Viva La Vida

Reasoning: Not gonna lie. I was freaked out about this album. I mean, how could Coldplay really make an album as unique and beautiful as X&Y? Surprise! They did! From start to finish, Coldplay created a masterpiece that could never be created by another band. And on top of that, being one of the top bands in the world they didn’t even sell out. Their music is far from stereotypical and is somehow continually changing. I can only be excited for their next release.

Quote:
You might be a big fish
In a little pond
Doesn’t mean you’ve won
‘Cause along may come
A bigger one

#4

Artist: For All the Drifters
Album:
Drifter

Reasoning: Ah yes. Some of the guys from the band Paper Route above. For All the Drifters was just an indie band, but they won a place in my heart and everyone else I know that has heard of them. This has to be the most fulfilling, catchiest EP of all time. Put it in, listen from start to finish, go to bed, repeat in the morning. There is nothing better than starting at the beginning of the album and hearing the noise of the CD stop spinning when this masterpiece comes to an end. Unfortunately, I have no idea will you’ll ever find it, but you can listen to some of their songs by clicking above. Or head over to listen to their new band Paper Route which is somewhat similar, but a little more electronica based.

Quote:
My hearts a perfect machine
It’s making beautiful beats
They’re hopeless without you

#3

Artist: Andy Hunter
Album: Exodus

Reasoning: Oh Andy. You have by far made the most fulfilling full album ever. So many genres of electronica. So many sounds of beauty. Fast songs. Slow songs. This CD never ceases to amaze me. Or stop. Their’s literally hardly any silence in this CD between tracks. It’s the most journey-like album I’ve ever heard and it will forever be one of my favorite albums of all time.

Quote:
I look into Your blinding light
You’ve opened up my eyes
Crystal tears, visions clear
Your glory touch the sun

#2

Artist: Switchfoot
Album: The Beautiful Letdown

Reasoning: My brother Jaron discovered Switchfoot first. Therefore I had the urgent need to dislike them. It’s not like we could like the same band, I mean how could we? But then again, I didn’t really care too much for their works before The Beautiful Letdown. And then I was late to really listen to this album. But when I finally came around, I was blown back. This CD has the most insane, convicting, thoughtful, powerful, beautiful, lyrics I have ever heard in my life. It also has a very unique sound and is catchy beyond belief. Sadly, I don’t know that Switchfoot could ever make an album better than this, but that’s okay. I don’t ever want to have to replace it.

Quote:
Maybe redemption is stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here


#1

Artist: BT
Album:
This Binary Universe

Reasoning: No lyrics in this album. Just the most brilliant composer the history of the world has ever seen. And that’s not an understatement. BT beats Mozart to a pulp. There has truly never been a more amazing artist because this guy understands music unlike anyone else. The theory and mathematics behind this music give me a headache. But it’s a good headache! It’s a headache that burns with goosebumps. Yeah, try figuring that one out. The truth is, this album doesn’t need words. This album has everything it needs in the music itself. It’s full of passion and intelligence and it is by far the most creative album that you could ever own. My favorite song would have to be Dynamic Symmetry, and if you’re looking to understand how strongly I mean to use the word brilliance, you should take a listen to that song, especially as it transfers all sorts of musical science on it’s way to a jazzy ending. There is really no real way to describe this album, so I encourage you to just go get it and find out for yourself. A quick note however, the iTunes album seems to be missing some tracks. Make sure you get the entire album, and not just the 2 or 3 tracks they’re offering.