THEOLOGY & Original biblical languages suggest forgiveness is something akin to waiving one’s rights.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In our fractured and litigious modern world, people often wonder what forgiveness means. Does it mean forgetting? Does it mean ignoring? The word used by the Bible authors tells us that, “forgiveness is something akin to waiving one’s rights.” Read on to find out more.

“What the Lord’s Prayer really says about forgiveness” by Daniel Esparza, Aleteia, 7/7/21.

What is it that we do when we forgive? Are we forgetting, disregarding, overlooking, ignoring wrongdoing? Are we giving up on our desire to pursuit revenge, retribution, even justice? How can I tell if I have really forgiven someone? The fact that we have a hard time answering these questions makes it evident forgiveness is multi-faceted and difficult to explore. It has oftentimes been historically (and tragically) confused with a vague understanding of reconciliation as the submissive acceptance of rather unacceptable states of affairs.

This is probably because forgiveness was not entirely considered a philosophical problem until the interwar and postwar periods of the 20th century, when genocidal war ushered in the question of the unforgivable — Can humanity forgive Auschwitz, the Gulag, the Bomb, the Apartheid? Who forgives? Who is forgiven? What are the limits of forgiveness? What constitutes an unforgivable fact? Is there such thing as “the unforgivable”? In more ways than one, forgiveness is a relatively new intellectual concern. And even if the topic became somewhat relevant in the second half of the past century, it is not exactly a modish preoccupation among most scholars today. Chances are it has never really been — perhaps not even among noted Christian thinkers.

…The original Greek text of the Gospels uses a number of different expressions for the concept of forgiveness, rather than one single word. What we do find in biblical texts, the Our Father included, are different expressions that can be translated as the waiving of one’s right over a debt, or to being unburdened. In that sense, Augustine’s understanding of forgiveness as almsgiving is thoroughly biblical: forgiveness as almsgiving and the scriptural understanding of sin as debt go hand in hand, as the former covers the latter: “for almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin” (Tobit 12, 9).

Read more at … https://aleteia.org/2021/07/07/what-the-lords-prayer-really-says-about-forgiveness/

SELF-CENTEREDNESS & St. Augustine’s Insights on a Gospel of Self-fulfillment

Glennon Doyle Melton’s Gospel of Self-Fulfillment

by Jen Pollock Michel, Christianity Today, 11/22/16.

… For those who have religiously read her blog since its inception in 2009, Melton’s news is dramatic—even earth shaking. And yet the “sky is not falling” because her story, like Elizabeth Gilbert’s before her, is hardly new. The gospel of self-fulfillment has been centuries in the making. As Charles Taylor explains in his dense, scholarly A Secular Age, the new invention of the modern age is a self-sufficing humanism that “accept[s] no final goals beyond human flourishing, nor any allegiance to anything else beyond this flourishing. Of no previous society was this true.” In other words, happiness is our only duty today, self-betrayal our only sin. It’s not simply that the lines of morality have blurred in modern times, making truth relative. It’s not even that religious belief has waned. Rather, the good life has been radically redefined according to the benefit of the individual while the former measures of flourishing—God’s glory, society’s health, the family’s well-being—have been displaced. We’re all on the throne now.

…St. Augustine’s conversion story, more than 1,500 years old, is still a resonant story of desire. Despite having a Christian mother who prayed for him and taught him the truths of the gospel, Augustine did not become a Christian until he was in his early 30s. He was taken with his own vain ambitions for professional success, and in The Confessions, he writes of his insatiable sexual desire. At some point, Augustine discovers that, although he has answered some of his biggest intellectual questions about Christianity, he still faces an ongoing obstacle to spiritual surrender: his lust.

“My old loves held me back,” he writes. “They tugged at the garment of my flesh and whispered, ‘Are you getting rid of us?’”

Augustine has a vision of a woman whom he calls, “Lady Continence.” In his despair, she says to him, “Why are you relying on yourself, only to find yourself unreliable? Cast yourself upon [Christ], do not be afraid. He will not withdraw himself so that you fall. Make the leap without anxiety; he will catch you and heal you.” It’s then that Augustine hears a voice, which implores him to pick up and read. He happens upon a copy of the Bible, opens to Romans, and the book falls open to 13:13–14: “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Augustine understood that human beings don’t flourish because they obey their most instinctual desires and follow their own yellow brick road of happiness. “Without [God], what am I but a guide to my own self-destruction?” he confessed. He had a better story of desire—the one Christ himself had, who for his greater joy and our greatest flourishing, forsook his immediate good. Thy will be done.Good news, indeed…

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2016/november/glennon-doyle-meltons-gospel-of-self-fulfillment.html?utm_source=todayschristianwoman&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=22592062&utm_content=479108186&utm_campaign=email