When redemption isn’t enough! December 10, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, church, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
Earlier, I posted a blog entitled “Is the doctrine of ’salvation by faith only’ hurting Christianity?” In it, I explored the idea that a Christian’s view of good works has led to a passivity or even an unsympathetic attitude towards how our actions may negatively impact others. After all, good works are irrelevant in our salvation. Only faith in Christ is required.
I would like to expand on this by addressing the issue of redemption. Being forgiven from our past sins and getting a fresh start in life has helped many individuals to turn their lives around. There is no shortage of testimonies of the transforming power of redemption. Many have turned from destructive lifestyles to the ‘straight and narrow’ and as a result, have seen great improvements in their lives.
However, should redemption stop there? Is it enough for us to be forgiven by God? Is being ‘saved, sanctified, and on our way to heaven’ all that’s important? What about those who our past sins have negatively impacted? Many times we have no idea how our actions may impact others. A simple apology to one of those individuals may do wonders for their psyche.
Back in 1999, I left my home church to work with a startup church in the same city. I was shocked to find many wounded, discarded souls from our former church littered all over the area. Many of these individuals carried very deep hurts that won’t begin to be healed until they have a conversation with their ex-Pastor. However, this pastor’s mode of operation is to refuse to speak with these individuals. Since that time, we’ve learned of many others who have been discarded from this church including many in leadership, worship leaders, and even an associate Pastor.
The sad thing is that this pastor can justify his actions using scripture and feel no guilt or even care about how his actions have affected others. However, let’s assume that one day he wakes up and realizes his sin. What will he do next? Christianity teaches that he simply has to turn to God, ask for forgiveness, and his sins will be remembered no more by God. Great! That helps the individual feel better about themselves and helps them to face the next day free of guilt. However, what about those who he’s wronged and who still carry the weight of his actions?
Redemption may help the individual, but it does not make restitution for a stolen item or heal the emotional scars we’ve caused along the way. I wish that at least attempting to right our wrongs of the past was a part of the redemptive process. As Christians, we preach grace with pride. However, I believe we need to rethink many of these ideas. We should not only focus on the individual and the future, we should also encourage that restitution journey into the past.
Can you think of an individual whom you’ve negatively impacted in the past? Make a call to apologize. It may or may not immediately help, but it may start that process of healing for that individual.