There are a collection of verses that protestants like to ignore.
Don’t believe me?
Take a few of these verses to your pastor and see what she or he does. The reason is…they don’t fit into their framework of “salvation.”
Here’s some examples:“Don’t judge…and you won’t be judged.”“Don’t condemn…and you won’t be condemned”
and…Matthew 6:15…”But if you do not forgive others their sins….your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I mean, what do we do with that? I’m edging ever so slightly to 40…and I have stood countless hours in front of that verse dumfounded because…it also doesn’t fit into my framework…or any framework I have…simply put…how else do you take this verse…except for how it was intended: at face value.
But how can we? On one hand, it defies what so many of us would define as the “way to salvation,” and on the other hand it makes God seem like a very strict Father…and even, dare I say, unmerciful. Just being honest.
But over the past six months of my faith journey…I have come to pull back another layer of this verse…or should I say…I have had it pulled back for me….
This past year…when…(no other way to put it)…God just changed my heart…and I was able to forgive my parents for years of tears, memories of meanness, and piles of pain….something amazing happened…I felt free.
I didn’t know it…but I had been so used to living with “unforgiveness”…that I didn’t realize I (almost physically) had been walking around with an anvil on my chest…barely able to breathe…
Now I give myself loads and loads of grace for not forgiving my parents…because, one – I tried. Two, I didn’t know how. And three, ultimately the deepest answer is…I couldn’t forgive my parents…until God changed my heart.But aside for over analyzing my own process of transformational forgiveness…what I want you to see can probably be best described in the metaphor of a strong current of a rolling rapids river.
The love of God and every other fruit of the spirit for that matter is a constant flow with unimaginable strength, velocity, and power…and when I live my life in contrary to that flow…or current…(one would call that sin…and for this example let’s say…”Unforgiveness.”)….I am literally trying to swim against the flow of true life, joy, peace, and the spirit of God himself…
If I am taking you whitewater river rafting…and I am your guide….and I say to you….paddle with the current and you will go far…but if you paddle against the current…you won’t go anywhere….that wouldn’t be a threat…but a reality.
Do you see?
So, when God says…if you don’t forgive…and you won’t be forgiven….he’s not making a threat…he’s describing a reality.
This isn’t a salvation issue….in terms of your eternal destiny…but it is a salvation issue it terms of your RIGHT NOW.Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Let go and you will join the flow of God’s love headed towards the source of all life and love…God himself.You are forgiven.
But if you wish you can live in the illusion of unforgiveness and swim against the current of God’s love.
I mean, you can, but you won’t go anywhere.