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

Narnia Concept Album

This weekend I released Of Lampposts and Lions—my 20 track, 80 minute concept album based on C.S. Lewis’ books, The Chronicles of Narnia. If you’re familiar with all 7 books, I think you’ll enjoy the story being told. If not, I hope you’ll enjoy the music anyways as it’s quite a blend of genres. You can download it for donation or for free on NoiseTrade.

Our First Weird Cartoon

My brother Joel and I are influenced by the same weird stuff. That being said, let’s take a quick break from the usual spiritual posts for a random cartoon we worked on about some kind of fancy piece of corn…

Click

 

Spirit-Led Worship

I got a chance to preach about letting the Holy Spirit invade our lives and church services at Revive Worship Conference this past week. Thanks to Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church for having the video available.

Free Book: Random Musings on Worship

I recently released a new free book for download. You can download it for yourself on your iPad or on iBooks for those of you running Mavericks on your Mac. Click here to check it out.

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 2.07.40 PM

COLOUR: A Free Photo iBook

Throughout the years I’ve taken a lot of pictures. I am by no means a professional photographer as any professional photographer would happily point out to me. However, my desire to take photos remains. That being said, I have taken some of my best pictures to create a book I call COLOUR. Why do I spell it as though I’m from the UK? Because face it: it looks cooler that way.

If you have an iPad, I hope you’ll consider downloading it here. Unfortunately it won’t work on an iPhone because there’s more going on than simple writing. But I do have a few other writings that will be coming out soon that will work on both iPad and iPhone.

The point of COLOUR is to captivate you with the beauty of God. He’s so amazingly beautiful and creative and it’s so obvious in absolutely everything He’s made. So again, feel free to download it for free at the link above. Here’s a few screen shots of what the book looks like:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Desperate Love

I’m no stranger to instrumental worship. I do after all listen to a ton of electronic music. But even that kind of instrumental music tends to have at least has some kind overlaying words.

I’ve been asked quite a few times in my life to make an acoustic piano album. It wasn’t until yesterday that I gave it a real shot. So here’s a song I recorded called Desperate Love. If people accept it well, perhaps I’ll finish the album which will probably be called The Intimacy of God.

A lot of my songs usually have words because I love to write worship lyrics to God. But as I’ve come to know more about worship soaking, I now see use for an instrumental worship album. And on top of that, Jon Thurlow just put out an album entitled The Anointed One to further illustrate that.

Anyways, here’s my song: