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When redemption isn’t enough! December 10, 2005

Posted 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.



1. Monk-in-Training - June 6, 2005

In the Daily Office, there is a prayer that contains the line: We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ

It seems to me that the Redemption was for us to be a blessing to all the world. Hard to be a blessing if we are acting like jerkwads.

2. Roopster - June 6, 2005


I agree. It’s sad to see the amount of people hurt by Christians who never take the time to make restitution because they go about their merry way ‘forgiven by God’ and walking in ‘no condemnation.’


3. Paco - June 8, 2005

Like all human endeavor’s, churches like the one Roopster mentioned are deeply flawed because people are deeply flawed. When there are no “check’s and balances” often the leader becomes mesmerized with his own voice… he becomes a power-hungry narcissist rather than a gentle shepherd.

If one feels the need to be in a “church” I reccomend reading “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”… it is a good guide to finding a “healthy” church and of course it will help anyone having been “crushed” in the powerful grip of an unhealthy church too.

Me, I find most of what passes for “church” largely irrelevant and in the “healthy / unhealthy” scale, tipped toward the latter…

4. Paco - June 8, 2005

Roopster, Good thought’s… however…I truly disagree that one can’t have peace and healing without a phone call from this “pastor.” I’d suggest that view reveals a pretty limited view of what a relationship with God can (and should) be. I’d also disagree that you can in any way know whether this pastor feels any guilt… if I were a betting man I’d say he does, but pride and religous deception can be greater forces than guilt. However, all these seemingly contradictory forces are “birds of a feather” (ie, different sides of the same disfunctional coin).I rejoice that the gospel is proclaimed, no matter a man’s motivation… God still works through vessels of clay, even if they’re half-baked!


5. Scotti - April 10, 2007

This is such an excellent post and a great exhortation for all discilples of Christ!! Thank you!

We know that Christianity also teaches love and forgiveness.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Colossians 3:12-13 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

I am sorry that you and others had to experience such unkindness and unforgiveness from your former church. I pray for the Lord’s continued grace and healing on that situation.

May the love of the Risen Lord be with you today,

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