Forgiveness was Radical

I have been Reading Peter Rollins Book "The Orthodox Heretic", for awhile now. I have just been reading bits and pieces at a time. The passage below really challenged me and encouraged me to love in a transforming way.

"Jesus' understanding of Forgiveness was so radical because he did not need people to repent before he would accept them. He did not require a change in their behavior before he loved, respected, and related to them. Yet, it was precisely this unconditional love and forgiveness that seemed so potent and transformative, often being the very act that drew people to repentance (a word that means to have a change of heart)." - Peter Rollins, The Orthodox Heretic

I agree with Rollins on the point above. I really believe that he is speaking the heart of Christ. Jesus did not look into the eyes of a "Prostitute" and see a prostitute, but he looked into her eyes and saw one of God's children that he dearly loved. Jesus showed people how much he loved them and accepted them despite their sins and failures. Christ never said, "Change your life and I will love you." The love that Christ showed to others was so transformative that people desired to change their lives to be like him.

As a believer in Christ, why do we want everyone to believe exactly what we believe before we accept them? Why do we indoctrinate people? Why do we try to conform people to our beliefs and standards of living? Why don't we love people no matter what their beliefs are, or no matter how they live their lives? Why don't we stop trying to transform people ourselves? If you want to transform someone's life, love them, and let the love of Christ do the transforming work.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this quote from Rollins Book and on anything else said here on this post.


David Henry said...

Good post Matt. I remember reading the parable that Pete says that after a little while ago, but haven't got back to it in my Lent reading. I am going to get caught up today on the lent reading and then will post some thoughts soon.

In regards to your post, I wholeheartedly agree. I think that the idea that someone or ourselves need to repent before we are forgiven is not what is demonstrated by Christ. Plus I don't think that being forgiven is really about being in a state of being forgiven, but about forgiven so we can repent and have a heart change. I think this is very different from our evangelical upbringing which was often times more about being forgiven so you didn't go to hell or were in right relationship with God, rather than forgiveness being the vehicle for a changed life first and foremost. Christ basically is saying that he always wants relationship with us and that is why we are always resting in his forgiveness regardless of our state of repentance. If he didn't not forgive until we repented, that would mean that he didn't want anything to do with us until we changed our ways, something that never comes through from the Gospels.

Good thoughts. Talk to you soon,


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