There is a large lie perpetrated through church and society today that permeates our world today having to do with forgiveness and the effectiveness of “sorry” as the offender steps over the wreckage of the person they just destroyed and moves on leaving the victim to pick up their own pieces. So let’s look at what Jesus really says in the Bible about forgiveness.
Yes, Jesus did say that famous phrase “you have to forgive 7 times 70” looking to mean whenever the offender comes to you for forgiveness with appropriate reparations and true repentance to never do it again to anyone ever.
The problem with what is taught and pushed in some christian denominations about forgiveness is what is required of the one who has done the wrong that caused damage to another. It is not a simple “sorry” and move on. The person who has caused the damage to another by some act of their own must repay the damage back 10 times more. So, for example, if you break the pencil of the student sitting next to you in class, then you buy them 10 pencils, present the pencils to them, say you are sorry you broke their pencil, and ask them to forgive you. Then the person whose pencil you broke is required to take the 10 pencils in reparation, forgive you and not hold a grudge. The relationship between the one who broke the pencil and the one whose pencil was broken is restored.
This is an example of forgiveness. “Sorry” does not cut it.
So the next question that must be in your mind if you get this is, “What happens if what you did cannot be fixed or at least cannot be fixed easily”? In the old testament, The Lord G-D set up refuge cities for people who kill another by accident or in self defense. They can go live there in the city of refuge in peace as long as they stay within the confines of the refuge city and do not comit any more crimes. Basically, it is house arrest. This protects the one who took another life by accident or in self defense from the family exacting their right for blood guilt. The families of the person who died had the right to take the life of the person who killed them regardless of why it happened.
This was justice in ancient Israel. It is scary and intense. Justice was swift and permanent. In the case where there is no chance to repair the damage, equal damage was exacted immediately and permanently. This kept Israel from “blood guilt” meaning Israel was not guilty of murdering or damaging the innocent in the sight of Creator G-D, the ONE so judgment did not come down on them as a group for the acts against another from one of them. The Lord G-D provided a safe place for the one who killed by accident or in self defense where no motive or intent to do harm existed.
Now lets look at us today in planet earth in 2022. Let’s look at false witness and malice with forethought. I have heard it said, “If their mouth is moving, they are lying.” WOW.
When we spread false rumors about another with the intent to do them harm, or even if we inadvertently take part in the lies of another, we have killed the one being lied about as effectively as if we took a knife and chopped them up and spread their body in the streets like they did to Jezebel. False rumors/lies about another is the soul killer. I have touched on this before here in this blog. Why we do it or what supposed damage they did to us that we use to justify our actions against them does not count. We cannot do this. There is no remedy no fix that can be effected in their behalf to make reparations even once, much less the 10 times more.
Jesus promises us “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” But, that can be a very empty promise even coming from Jesus. He is good for his word. He will repay but when and where and how are all up to him. So, we can be left feeling empty and not vindicated. We can begin feeling abandoned by Jesus and loose our faith if we stick absolutely and completely to allowing people to reek havoc in our lives and we just take it expecting some great thing to happen to them from heaven. This instills rage in our souls we cannot control …. because we were never built to have to.
Lets take a look at an example from work, a j o b. A person takes it upon themselves to defame one of their colleagues for whatever reason. There are thousands of reasons a person decides to do that. Some of the reasons have to do with “because they can” and “because they like it”. “It gives them pleasure to see another person suffering”. The reason why they chose to defame some one else and do them harm really does not matter in real life. It really does not even matter if what was spread through the rumor was the truth or a lie. It is much worse when it is a lie. But even the truth spread in rumor is damaging and the one spreading the rumor is putting their own soul at risk before God. Whether the rumor was truth or not does in the afterlife and before God, but to the one who has just had a vicious rumor about their personal character or some event in their past spread through the work place or in the community to shut down all of their ability to have a gainful employment and feed themselves and their family does not matter to the one who suddenly has their entire life turned upside down with no idea what is going on but this is nasty and pervasive. Everything can be lost. They can end up living in the streets. All because someone chose to start a rumor about them. This happens on a daily basis. It is ongoing and pervasive. There is no remedy.
Sorry does not cut it.
Sorry does not stop the damages that are now in place and seem to have a life of its own like a tsunami crashing into the shore devastating and flattening everything in its path.
Sorry only heaps coals of fire on the head of the innocent.
How to fix this? The best teaching I have had says it is important to go back to everyone you have spread your lies to and tell them you were wrong. Tell them the truth if you know it. Ask their forgiveness for involving them in your lie and ask them to go to anyone they talked to about it and tell them it was wrong and ask their forgiveness. You see the pattern here. This can have a calming effect. But even when the rumor is stopped the damage is there. So the person who set up the rumor must go to the one they have falsely accused and make absolutely sure whatever monetary consequences happen are replaced …… 10 times more. For instance, if the person looses their job because of your false rumor and lies about them, then you must make sure that person does not loose their house, their food, and can continue to live their lives helping them find a new job maybe even better than the one you effectively lost for them, restoring their reputation in the community, and keeping diligent watch to make sure the ugly lie does not resurface for at least 10 periods of time longer than the rumor ran through the community after the fixes are in place. You must do this like your very own soul depends on it….. because it does.
This is not a game.
The soul you will be saving may be your very own.
Think about this before you decide to join in “the fun” of talking about another at a bar or in a group of friends, at church….. or at work. Joining in is not worth it. Do not do it.