Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why Church is the Perfect Storm of Evil: Carte Blanche Forgiveness, Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 16, 2015

project-2016-logo-4However, the quality of the judge, or conscience, is determined by how it is informed. The law determines the judge. Therefore, how does carte blanche forgiveness inform the collective conscience of the institutional church? In failing to hold the offender accountable, the conscience is not appealed to. In this case, the law informing the judge states that all victims are just as much of a sinner as the offenders, and therefore obligated to forgive. Moreover, demanding consequences supposedly reveals a need for revenge, so we can’t have that either. Hence, why would a person enslaved to sinful desires go anywhere else but the church for purposes of performing their evil deeds?”

In part one, we examined presuppositions regarding mankind that makes justice irrelevant. In essence, only God has a right to demand justice because He is the only one that’s good. We also looked at the resulting illogical idea that anger over sin will destroy a person, while guilt is posited as a healthy emotion leading to “humbleness.” No surprise then that a popular adage in the church is…“We don’t forgive for the sake of the offender, we forgive for ourselves.” Supposedly, if we don’t extend forgiveness, anger, leading to “bitterness,” will destroy us. Forgiving isn’t for the other person, it’s for you, as if the other person’s guilt will not harm them. And supposedly, a decision to “forgive” will vanquish anger and prevent bitterness.

This circumvents a very important biblical principle; specifically, the solidifying of heart decisions through action. If someone repents and seeks reconciliation, you can put feet on that by fellowshiping with them. We also experience this principle in real life; many find that they have come to enjoy a task that they previously disliked by doing it. Blank check forgiveness rarely offers a sane or practical way to apply the heart decision to forgive someone. For the most part, blank check forgiveness calls for one to merely emote, and data reveals the fact that it simply doesn’t work. People badgered into blank check forgiveness eventually end up as broken, miserable people deprived of all relief. Isolated and alone, they feel like the world is indifferent to their suffering, and frankly, in a world without justice, that is true. Victims of violent crime gain some relief from seeing others angered by what happened to them. In the most severe cases, justice and time will supply enough relief to make life tolerable while reconciliation added to that can bring about total healing in most cases. A basic love for life, and self, also adds to potential healing. The Bible also recommends that one seeks out whatever goodness is left in the world as opposed to defining one’s life by a tragedy that happened to them. Purpose also comes into play: the Bible states that they can help others who have experienced the same tragedy. However, to primarily seek relief in only one of these options will limit the healing.

The Bible actually commands that we be angry about sin and advocate justice. The apostle Paul said, “Be angry and sin not.” The Bible instructs us on how to deal with anger. We are to always leave revenge (justice) to God and His ordained authorities. Nothing resolves anger like the repentance of the violator who seeks reconciliation and compensation if possible. If the violator is unrepentant, punishment, or justice, gives some relief. And of course, we know that God will settle all accounts in the end. But at any rate, the Bible never says that we will be destroyed by anger. The emotion of anger and its energy can be funneled into useful purposes while the Bible is clear as to what guilt will do to people (Judas Iscariot et al).

Also in part one we looked at conscience. This is a judge that either excuses or accuses through guilt. A guilty conscience can be a very powerful and vexing judge. However, the quality of the judge, or conscience, is determined by how it is informed. The law determines the judge. Therefore, how does carte blanche forgiveness inform the collective conscience of the institutional church? In failing to hold the offender accountable, the conscience is not appealed to. In this case, the law informing the judge states that all victims are just as much of a sinner as the offenders, and therefore obligated to forgive. Moreover, demanding consequences supposedly reveals a need for revenge, so we can’t have that either. Hence, why would a person enslaved to sinful desires go anywhere else but the church for purposes of performing their evil deeds?

And the proof is in the pudding. Consider an article written by Boz Tchividjian.1 In the article written for Religious News Service,2 Tchividjian bemoans a reality in the institutional church that he calls, “Mob forgiveness” and “selective grace.” This reality is absolutely commonplace in the institutional church and is the obvious result of blank check forgiveness. If the victim doesn’t agree to forgive the perpetrator regardless of any circumstance, he who doesn’t show grace should not receive grace.

We need to revisit this reality in more detail in part 3.

paul

1“Boz” is a former child abuse chief prosecutor and is the founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). Boz is also a Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law, and is a published author who speaks and writes extensively on issues related to abuse within the faith community. Boz is the 3rd-eldest grandchild of the Rev. Billy Graham. He is a graduate of Stetson University and Cumberland School of Law (Samford University).

2 Boz Tchividjian: An Unholy Alliance: When Mob Forgiveness Meets Selective Grace; Religion News .com, 12/11/2015 | http://boz.religionnews.com/2015/12/11/an-unholy-alliance-when-mob-forgiveness-meets-selective-grace/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: