Mixed Messages – Part 2   3 comments

Jesus Does Maths

Jesus Does Maths (Photo credit: LivingOS)

Yesterday, I wrote about the problem of mixed messages.  There was one area that I felt deserved its own post so I saved that for today.  In my first post, I pointed out how in work, parenting, and the church mixed messages can be confusing and frustrating.  I even lifted up that a mixed message can become a barrier for individuals.  I think there is a mixed message than can be very destructive – the message of forgiveness.

The mixed message in regards to forgiveness happens way too often.  A person (or group of people) talk a lot about the importance of forgiveness and how they hope to be forgiven by others.  We all need forgiveness because we all make mistakes and behave poorly at times.  Yet while there is a lot of talk about the importance of forgiveness, many times it is not used in relationships.  This happens in all aspects of life but probably is most noticeable in regards to the community of faith.

One of the central components of the Christian faith is the understanding of forgiveness given to all of humanity by God.  The one person to whom Christians point as the author of the faith, Jesus Christ, came to demonstrate the expansiveness of the forgiveness that God offers to every person.  Scripture records time and time again the stories of Jesus offering forgiveness to those who were viewed as unforgivable.  Even while dying on a cross, Jesus extends forgiveness to one of the men who also was dying on a cross and even to those who placed Jesus on the cross.  It appears that forgiveness is a chief component of the teachings of Jesus.  Many sermons, writings, and blog posts over the centuries have lifted up forgiveness (grace) as something that has been received by every person and should be extended toward others.  The central prayer of the Christian faith which many congregations say together weekly has the petition:  “Forgive our debts (trespasses, sins) as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us, those who sin against us).”  So the message of Christians is:  We have received forgiveness from God so we will extend forgiveness to one another.

Yet, the mixed message comes in at this point.  While the message of Christian faith is forgiveness, many within the Christian faith do not extend forgiveness towards others.  If people do not conform to our way of thinking, if people do not behave as we think they should, if people do not have the same list of priorities as we have, then we label them and often hold a grudge against them.  If we feel that we have been wronged, we seek revenge.  So our actions toward others does not align to one of the central messages of our faith.  We send the world a mixed message and poorly represent Christ to the world.

However, this mixed message can be corrected.  It requires at least two important steps.  The first is acknowledging our need for forgiveness from God and one another.  Once our need is acknowledged by us, then accepting the forgiveness which has already be given is part two of the first step.  Realizing how fortunate we are to have received grace (forgiveness), we then should be led to respond by offering the forgiveness to others in our lives.  This is the second important step.  Our gratitude for what the Lord has given to us is demonstrated in the way we offer grace to others.  Instead of talking about forgiveness and yet failing to forgive (MIXED MESSAGE), we talk a little about forgiveness and we demonstrate it in a huge way by our actions toward others.

It is time that the community of faith (the church) stop sending a mixed message regarding forgiveness.  It is time that we live out a central component of our faith.  It is time that we open our hearts and arms to others, especially those needing forgiveness.  We need to invite the broken lives to become one with our life.  Then will the church truly become the body of Christ on earth.  After all, the Apostle Paul reminds us:  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  So if we are in such a great need of forgiveness, then we are no different from anyone else.


3 responses to “Mixed Messages – Part 2

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  1. Pingback: FORGIVE OR ELSE ! « Ioan17 – John 17

  2. Pingback: 121028–George Hatch's Inner Disciplines Journal–Sunday |

  3. Pingback: My Faith « The Sexy Politico's Blog

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