Acceptance and Forgiveness
Acceptance seems to be the watchword of the day. The Left preaches acceptance of all religions, all lifestyles, and all people. For the record, I want to go down as saying that I don’t think “acceptance,” by itself, is the ultimate moral criterion.
What should you accept? And what should you not accept?
All Men Are Sinners
Okay, we are all sinners. I accept that. Put another way, I think, “Above all else, one thing is certain, men are not gods.” Same basic point, I think. Don’t need to belabor it anymore.
However, does the fact that we are all sinners mean that we must accept all sins? What does that mean? That we accept all sins without judgment, without condemnation, and without rebuke?
Prerequisites for Forgiveness
I don’t think that’s a good idea. Although I am sure that God can forgive any sin ever committed with the possible exception of maybe one or two things, I think there are a few preconditions to that forgiveness being given.
Specifically, the sinner in question must ask for forgiveness and be legitimately repentant. They must actually regret committing their sin. And, as I can’t read the heart of any individual other than myself, I as a mortal human can’t tell if another human is legitimately repentant and is therefore forgiven by God. Well, maybe I can tell in some cases, but definitely not in all. I can usually tell with people who are close to me, but strangers I’ve never met? Not so sure about that.
Forgiveness versus Punishment
Another question: what about penance and punishment? If someone is forgiven, is there a need for them to do penance or to be punished? Does forgiveness consist in the washing away of sins without the sinner experiencing any consequences?
Two Cents from Jesus
I believe it was the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus says something like, “You’ve been told to love those who love you, but I say, what is the virtue in that? Even the Pagans do as much.” Yeah, I think I butchered that quote.
Anyway, “What is the virtue in that?” I used to interpret that kind of like: If you are going to forgive someone, then why not let them off the hook entirely? Don’t exact a price of retribution or what-have-you. Just walk away and let it go.
Is Forgiveness Without Consequence the Best Solution?
My view on that is currently changing, I think. Whereas you can easily forgive little sins like a lie, an insult, or even a slap in the face, some big sins, however, give me pause:
First question: Can God forgive such sins? I think my answer to that is yes. However, what about the question: Should we forgive such sins? That’s a little bit more difficult.
Does Society or the Individual Forgive?
Because I don’t think it appropriate to forgive someone for such sins if they are not repentant. And as I said above, I have no empathic/telepathic/whatever ability to read someone’s heart and determine if they are truly repentant or not.
And, I kind of think this is where the Left is going wrong. I keep hearing stories where Leftist governors or judges or whatever are letting out violent criminals and such or giving them sentences that are too light.
Who Forgives Whom?
I kind of see the quasi-Christian mentality about it. You’re a Christian. That means you should forgive, right? Here’s someone who’s committed murder. Shouldn’t we, as Christians, forgive them? And let them out?
Um, my inclination when it comes to forgiving crimes, particularly serious ones, is that the crime shouldn’t be forgiven unless the victim of said crime is the one doing the forgiving. In the case of murder, the victim is dead and can’t forgive. Failing communication from the dead person’s spirit, the next ones up to forgive the perpetrator should be the victim’s family – NOT the State/society at large.
Maybe that’s just me. But I don’t think I have the moral authority to forgive someone for what they did to someone else. I can’t speak for someone else in that way. Well, maybe to the extent it affects me – I don’t know. But it just seems odd. If someone wrongs someone else – shouldn’t the forgiveness that person should seek come from the person wronged? And God, of course.
And all of that doesn’t even address or discuss the interest of society in deterring, at the very least, serious crimes. But that last is a discussion for another day.