“The Dogma of Forgiveness” by Michael W. Jones

Video commentary:

The Mayo Clinic staff writers do a wonderful job addressing the problems that imperfect minds struggle with: getting rid of the flaws that hinder our maturity. They say, “forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge”; the concept of forgiveness is to let go of grudges, bitterness, anger, and those things that we hold against one another. In other words, the one who forgives is getting rid of those problems that cripple one’s ability to enjoy life.

We should applaud the Mayo Clinic staff writers for bringing responsibility to the table of forgiveness: “Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.”

In religion, it’s nuanced that God is the primary One who needs to forgive us, or to let go of His resentment, grudges, bitterness, anger, and those wrongs that He has held against us since the first Adam. And if religion is right, the Mayo Clinic might be able to help Him if He were truly like that God that so many of the writers of the books postured Him to be, i.e., as One who had these kinds of flaws to get rid of, to let go of.

Unfortunately, we do live in a world which places more emphasis on the gloss systems of theology, than on the actual words of Christ. For this reason and others, English translations present God as One who is full of resentment, extremely bitter, burning with anger, occupied with rage, and ready to pour out His wrath. So, the question has to be asked: Did Luke actually record Jesus asking His Father to let go of His grudges, bitterness, anger, and those wrongs that He held against His created children, or did the English translators use the metalanguage gloss of theology to misrepresent the true character of God in this case, and in others?

We contend that Jesus was simply asking for His Father to help His created children who were so filled with problems and had no clue as to what they were doing. For Jesus in this context is acting like the great physician He is; His interest was healing, helping, and lifting the weights off of the ones who were overloaded with the disease-ridden problems of mankind.

So, did Jesus ask His Father to forgive, or to help?

I agree with the speaker that the Father doesn’t hold any grudges against humanity at all, and therefore doesn’t need to punish another to forgive us. We see in the parable of the prodigal son that the Father freely and warmly accepts and embraces the younger son home, without holding any grudge against him. So in view of this, the christian religion has misrepresented the heart of the father with their dogma of forgiveness and penal substitiution theory.

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