Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday: Whither forgiveness?

This clip from ER has already made the rounds in the blogosphere, but if you haven't seen it, it's worth watching.


"Love is at the heart of the Apostle Paul's account of Christ's death. But surprisingly, even scandalously, love not just for victims but also for perpetrators - for those who are "powerless" because they are caught in the snares of "ungodliness," those who are "unrighteous", sinners deserving of God's "wrath", "enemies". [Referring to Romans 5:6-8]. It is not, of course, that love for those who suffer is absent from Paul's writings...And yet at the heart of the gospel is a powerful conviction that God loves the ungodly - loves them so much that Christ died for them and in place of them. Ungodly - the kind of person Paul himself was before being called as an apostle...

...Since no third party is involved, in Christ's Passion no one is forced to do anything for anything else. Substitution is a gift initiated and willingly given to Wrongdoers by the One who was wronged, not a burden of service placed on an outsider. And it is a gift that, far from signalling the passive acceptance of abuse, most radically calls into question such abuse. For it condemns the wrongdoing while at the same time freeing the wrongdoers, who receive forgiveness in repentance, not just from punishment and guilt but also from the hold of the evil deed on their lives."

- Miroslav Volf, The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World, pp. 116-7

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