Praise for Sinning Done Right

Relax.  This is not what it sounds like, and it’s only my opinion, and not that of my co-admins, so keep the hate mail properly directed, please.

You know what we don’t do very well anymore?  In our modern culture, we have no idea how to sin properly.  We’re uncomfortable with the whole notion of “sin,” frankly.  Most of us think we know sin when we see it, but more often than not, we’re wrong completely, or we don’t recognize why something may be a sin, and most hazardous of all: we don’t have the slightest idea how to react to sin in ourselves and our friends.

I point this out now because Hollywood provided us, a few days ago, with a wonderful example of how to do it right, and no one seems to care.  In fact, the media and film industry are so busy myopically moralizing about the incident that they seem happily unaware that almost all their moral judgments about the event are off bubble, at least from a Christian perspective.  I’m speaking, of course, about the scandal of actress Kristen Stewart and director Rupert Sanders being caught sucking face in her Mini Cooper at a Hollywood Hills overlook while they were both engaged in serious relationships with others, in his case involving marriage and children.

Am I defending the kissing couple in their behavior?  Absolutely not.  Was it sinful in that it hurt numerous innocent bystanders?  It assuredly was, and it certainly did.  But here are at least three things that everyone seemed to get wrong.  First, as soon as the couple was exposed, they reacted immediately and independently with horror at their acts, and they apologized to those they’d hurt, expressing their desire to make amends.  This is exactly the reaction to sin that we Christians are called to adopt.  Exactly.  But instead of positive comments about that, the immediate response was that they were both “desperate” and “foolish” to accept blame so publicly rather than the customary weasel method adopted by all politicians and entertainers, which is to call for privacy and to admit nothing.  This reaction would be just amusing if it were not so destructive.

After all, we are sinners, every one of us, are we not?  We need practice in recovering from our sins just as much as we need help in avoiding them.  When those in the public eye discourage and berate those who are in the agonizing process of accepting blame and atoning for their sins, it is a horrendous thing indeed.  Souls are lost as a result, and God in his heaven is not pleased.  As for how God looks on the two eager sinners, I think it’s safe to say that he has already made his thoughts on that known, in the Gospels, where he made it quite clear that sinners who quickly and gladly repent enter heaven before those who think they are without sin at all.  So I would choose to praise them.  Well done, Kristen and Rupert.  What a refreshing display of post-sin repentance.  I am actually inspired.  I only wish their wronged mates had reacted so well, and that leads me to the second thing that everyone happily got wrong.

Forgiveness is one of those Christian doctrines that is troublesome for everyone, despite the inconvenient fact of it being absolutely crucial to salvation.  And it’s not just important to lean towards forgiveness.  We are called to forgive completely and totally, like God himself does, as he says, when he will “remember your sins no more.”  Further, in the Gospels, Jesus makes it very clear, harshly so, that if we do not forgive our brothers, then he will not forgive us.  Unfortunately, our culture interprets this command very loosely, and frequently preaches, as the commenters all did in the case of Robert Pattinson and Liberty Ross, that their forgiveness should be very slow, if it should come at all.  How very wrong a message to give.  It’s not generally known, but the simple fact is that a large percentage of married couples in the U.S. have survived actual infidelity (not just the first-base infidelity in this instance), and many of those, including several marriages I know personally, had their infidelity forgiven immediately, without condition, the way we are commanded to do it.  Good for them.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case in the Pattinson/Ross households.  The humiliated Pattinson, of course, chose to move out more or less immediately, and reports are that he and Stewart have not spoken since.  Not a good start.  Liberty Ross has not moved out of her home with husband Rupert Sanders, but her initial reaction, while reserved, may have included public digs at her betrayer.  Another bad sign, in her case, is that she’s recently made rather public statements about her unhappiness and disillusionment with her domestic life, and her husband.  My guess is that forgiveness may be a while in coming, but I pray that I’m wrong in that.

This brings me to the last thing I think was mischaracterized by the media and the public in this case, and that’s the bizarre selective outrage and harsh judgment about the sin itself.  Hollywood, of course, is a place where this kind of false moral outrage and hypocrisy are standard operating procedure.  That’s no surprise.  But this is a town in which very few people care to speak up about some of the most outrageously evil sin-mongering there can possibly be.  Let’s take just one example.  Recent witness testimony in the lingering investigation of the death of Natalie Wood indicates that it’s very likely that respected actor Robert Wagner and his friend Christopher Walken covered up the fact that Wagner had brutally beaten his wife, Natalie Wood, during an argument on their yacht and thrown her overboard to her death.  I was paying attention when Wood died, and I was listening when the recent testimony happened and I don’t remember any particular outrage about it.  Why is that?

But contrast that silence with the outrage and hatred directed against Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders over their betrayal of their loved ones.  It’s a little weird, especially since there was, by ALL accounts, no actual affair, and both parties conducted themselves admirably in the past in every way professionally and socially, at least regarding each other, up to last week.  There’s no reason, factually, to think they planned any betrayal.  How often does a couple of Hollywood glitterati text one another: “Hey, come on up and meet me, during broad daylight, in a public place, so we can get jiggy in front of the paparazzi’s telephotos.  It’ll be fun!”?  This was not at all like, for example, John Edwards’ secret rendezvouses in hotels with Ms. Hunter with lookouts and such.  This looked like a meeting between friends that got out of hand and didn’t go very far.  And if you’re going to sin, that is the kind of crime of passion you want to be guilty of, not the kind where you premeditate and then cover it up afterward.  But the irony is that such an evil plan and coverup would be more respected in our culture!  That is why I think this is a tragedy.

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About GruntOfMonteCristo

Fearless and Devout Catholic Christian First, Loving Husband and Father Second, Pissed-Off Patriot Third, Rocket Engineer Dork Last.
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48 Responses to Praise for Sinning Done Right

  1. gib says:

    AMEN, Grunt
    “This is not what it sounds like, and it’s only my opinion, and not that of my co-admins,”

    I believe Someone of the highest authority in the universe holds the same opinion. When God questioned the first husband and wife, in the history of the world, what happened? No apologies were given, no guilt was admitted to. According to the first man and woman on earth everyone was at fault except themselves, even though there were only two people. What harm could a little kiss between two friends, a male and a female, do when the two were “both engaged in serious relationships with others, in his case involving marriage and children.”???????

    12 And the man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
    13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.(Gen 3)

    Move on. Nothing to see here? Yeah Right unless anyone cares to consider what harm Adam and Eve did to the entire human race and by expansion the entire world through their little sin(s). This set off a chain reaction that has spread around the world beginning with Cain killing his own brother. and then questioning God “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
    Since God is always ready to forgive I have the idea that all the “first man and woman” had to do was own up to their “sin” and the world would be completely different today, morally that is.
    Obviously “SIN(S)” even of one person has world-wide consequences. Satan is only one of many angels and I am sure he was the influencing spirit behind the sin of the first man and woman and by expansion sin is most likely universal, if we ever find anyone out there other than God. Other than God simply because He has said “There is NONE RIGHT, NO NOT ONE”. Not even Christians, all are sinners right? If all people are not sinners then there is not one person on earth and maybe the entire universe that needs Jesus Christ.
    You are “right” Grunt, nothing is worth doing if it is not “done right”, including sin.

    for every death there is a resurrection

    • barnslayer says:

      Finger pointing and covering your butt does go way back, doesn’t it.

    • Thanks for the good words, gib! Quite right. For every sin, every death, there should be a resurrection.

      I was a little worried that I would be misinterpreted about the sin thing. Even my wife, when she read it, first rolled her eyes, thinking I was trying to justify sinning. Of course, I wasn’t, but she can be forgiven for thinking so. She worries about me because I don’t believe God wants us to live in fear of sinning, or anything else, for that matter. It’s not the way either of us were raised. We were both brought up to be terrified of screwing up in any way, but as St. Paul says(2 Tim 1:7), that’s not the Christian view. Instead, I believe we’re called to live boldly, driven by love of God and man, which precludes any fear at all. When you actually do that, it doesn’t keep you from sinning, but it does change the kinds of sins you commit. Instead of the devious sinning out of greed or fear or hate, you tend to work too hard, love too passionately, fight too fiercely, drink too much and commit a lot of petty improprieties that offend some people’s sensibilities. In King David’s case, God berated him for all these things, including “killing too much,” but King David’s worst sin was something else entirely that was not very honorable.

      So, my wife’s concern was that it would look like I was praising some sins over others, and making the mistake of justifying some kinds of sinning. She was right to be concerned, because I did attempt the first part, but not the second, and she realized that soon enough. No sins are justifiable, after all, but some are more easily forgiven than others, and I would even say that some are more honorable than others. When a mother is working hard to raise her children and, in her exhaustion, screams profanities at them in a moment of anger after a setback, that’s a weakness and a sin. But, it’s an honorable one, not deserving of condemnation, but rather encouragement, perhaps even admiration for the bravery of her undertaking. It would be foolish to try to justify the sin itself. You don’t tell her “You were right in telling them to go to hell. The kids needed that.” Of course you don’t do that. But you don’t scream at her, call her a bad mom, take the kids away and throw her in jail, either.

      Oh, in the spirit of full disclosure, after my wife and I came to full agreement about this essay, we celebrated by abandoning the children, having dinner at a well-known cougar hang-out in South Denver where we watched some Saturday night pre-sinning going on, enjoyed it too much, then drank way too much at Darcy’s Pub while flirting shamelessly at the bar (with each other), while she was dressed somewhat immodestly, then broke several traffic laws and neighborhood ordinances involving fully licit but inappropriate marital acts in a pickup truck. Our dilemma is this: Would it be sinful to confess this stuff to Fr. Joe next Saturday? Because, I think he’s getting tired of hearing about it. 🙂

  2. zmalfoy says:

    Grunt,

    Really liked this. Been thinking on it all day. As you wrote in the comment above, while all sin is, er, sin, and wrong, some sins are more honorable than others. Or maybe, more honest/ They’re mistakes, screw-ups, foul-tips into right field, accidental foul to your teammates face. For which you get a yellow card or a few minutes in the penalty box, because you didn’t mean to cross-check the guy quite that hard, you just lost some of your control. Honest mistakes, but still mistakes. I can see how the example you used in the essay can fall into this category– an honest slip-up, a mistake, a momentary lapse of reason and control, which, once passion is cleared, sparks immediate repentance. “OMG, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to–!”

    Totally different than a planned affair that involved sneaking and lying and all manner of subterfuge. . .

    • Thanks, Zoph. Exceedingly well said, and I like your word, honest, better than mine. Honest mistakes are what I was trying to describe. I don’t think my choice of the word honorable was quite right, because that’s not how a sin should be described. I guess I was trying to say that these are the kind of sins that honorable people commit. Good points!

    • Oh, and your thoughts reminded me of something else that I think is important. Honest mistakes are not always sins, of course. In fact, if we are allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in our lives, and we make unintentional “mistakes” that cost time or money or even injury, I think it’s wrong to assign blame for those. God clearly allows and uses apparent waste, injury and death to further his plans, and It has always been so. We should not assume that morally neutral accidents are an occasion for blame. Think of the lepers and cripples whom the Pharisees assigned moral blame to, when Jesus made it quite clear that the afflictions served God’s purposes. I know this seems obvious, but how many people do you know who needlessly torment themselves over lost fortunes or lost children or other misfortunes? And, of course, your examples of honest mistakes were not of this kind. Those were actual sins of momentary passion or misjudgment, which do involve blame, but are easily forgiven (or should be).

  3. Shalini says:

    Hmmm…

  4. Shalini says:

    I get what you are saying about honest mistakes (not honourable sins, as you first called them) but though I haven’t exactly been following that story (I have no interest in ‘Twilight’), from the video I posted that day I thought they apologised after their infidelity was exposed? May be these 2 people would have apologised on their own given the time but may be not. So somehow I think this particular example does not perfectly represent the case you are making here. But, of course, I am just a distant observer and I won’t know for sure.

    Forgiveness is a beautiful thing but it IS very hard. I should know. I struggle with it a lot. Especially forgiving betrayal. It makes trusting that much more difficult. Remember that Frank Crane quote? “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough. ” It takes a lot of strength to forgive and thankfully our God is always ready to provide that strength.

    But what do you mean full-on infidelity or first-base infidelity, Grunt? Look at a person with lust and we’ve committed adultery. That may not be how we see it but that’s how God sees it and eventually that’s what matters. In the case of forgiveness by the parties involved, it may not matter but I make that distinction for the people who might be the ones who commit adultery with their thoughts. He will show us His mercy if we plead for it but He wouldn’t make the law go away. Same as the modesty discussion we had the other day. Like GFC said, His rules we remain the same whether it was 2000 years ago or whether it is now in these ‘modern’ times.

    It’s the same thought I have when I watch debates with atheists. Their most common accusation (concern trolling) is “Why is there so much pain in the world? Why doesn’t God, if He exists, do anything about it?”. Pain and suffering is caused by man, by Satan’s tutoring, not God. One man’s greed causes pain to another man. What these atheists are asking for is God’s direct intervention to stop the suffering which would involve God stopping the person who is committing the sin in the first place. But what they fail to see is that, to God swearing is a sin like murder is a sin. If they want Him to stop murder with a lightning bolt, do they expect Him to taser us when we swear? They entirely miss the concept of free will which we, as Christians, know.

    So coming back to my point, just because He allows free will doesn’t mean we will not be punished for not using that freedom responsibly. Just because He is merciful doesn’t mean His rules are null and void. Every sin is deplorable to God. Isn’t the actual praise here for the acceptance of sin and repentance for the same rather than for doing the sin, itself? While, I might get your point people might miss your point about forgiveness and focus on your point of this being a lesser sin and hence, it being excusable.

    • This deserves a thoughtful response, and I’ll need to provide that later when I have more time, but to quickly address your last point: Yes, my title was intended to be slightly tongue-in-cheek, and I attempted to make it clear that I was not excusing any sin whatsoever. As you say, what I was really praising was the proper, and increasingly rare, public response to sin that these two exhibited. I was concerned that this would not be clear, and I regret that it was a little murky.

    • I had a chance to consult with Mrs. Grunt about your very subtle and excellent points, so I’m ready to disagree with you now. 🙂 First, some quick background info: This couple is in the news now, not because of the Twilight movies, which didn’t interest me, either, but because of a new movie which is still in theaters here, called Snow White and the Huntsman. The director, Rupert Sanders, directed both his wife, Liberty Ross (playing Snow White’s mother), and Kristen Stewart (playing Snow White) in the movie, and by accounts that I’ve read, they all enjoyed a close and professional working relationship during filming and promotion of the film. It’s been mentioned, ironically, that Liberty Ross may have been the one to suggest that Stewart be cast as Snow White in the first place, and they were friends, apparently. Despite rumors and diversions by gossip-mongerers, there was never any evidence of impropriety until very recently when Sanders and Stewart were photographed at a public place being too affectionate. Implication of an “affair,” which carries the connotation of actual sex, may be assumed by those who care to do so, but it was denied by the couple and relatives, so really what we have here is an embarrassing indiscretion, and my post had to do with the moral implications and their public response. Now to your points…

    • Point 1: This was not a perfect case to demonstrate a good public apology, because it was only made after they were caught. How would one go about making a public apology for a personal indiscretion that was not yet public? Wouldn’t that be weird and inappropriate? No, a public apology can only be made after one has been publicly exposed. As for the question of whether the timing casts doubt on the sincerity of the apology, that is very dangerous territory for either the public OR the private family to tread. In both cases, it is not our place to determine the sincerity of an apology. That is ALWAYS God’s domain, as final judge. Concern about whether or not an apologizer is sincere is necessary when making future decisions about where to place trust, but at the moment of the apology itself, worrying about sincerity is a temptation that can only interfere with the need to forgive, which is essential for the close family and friends. That is absolutely critical, not for the apologizer’s sake, but for those who need to forgive. I can’t stress this enough. At the moment of apology, sincerity is irrelevant (assuming, of course, that the apology wasn’t completely and overtly insincere). After forgiveness is given, then one can go about the business of judging future need to “tie up one’s camel.” We, the public, have the additional concern about whether people in the public view are leading by example or not, because it affects our children, our neighbors, and ultimately ourselves. In that sense, I thought it was important to praise the fact that these two apologized, and apologized well. The level of sincerity is nearly irrelevant to me in my concern, which is public welfare. They did their part. We can relax.

      • Shalini says:

        Why should there be a public apology at all? Just because some teenagers are obsessed with these people and perceive betrayal against them, it doesn’t mean she or he betrayed them. Their sin was against their families and their apologies to them alone would have been sufficient. My questions weren’t about the necessity of a public apology at all. As for questioning sincerity while, in theory, you make a good point, in reality if you are not certain about someone’s sincerity the forgiveness will not be complete (IMO). The point you make about forgiving first and then worrying about tying up one’s camel later is the point I am making here. If they are just friends, you can be cautious. That’s possible in distant family, too. But forgiveness without knowing one’s sincerity bears huge stress on a relationship which needs to go on ‘until death do us apart’. Forgiveness is not something that can be given lightly. I am certainly not saying that one should make a person beg and crawl till they are forgiven. No. Forgiveness is not just a healing to the person you give it to but to yourself. But if you make a mistake, by not being completely ready, by taking a person’s sincerity for granted and they really weren’t sincere, it is bound to have an effect on you. I can’t say you are wrong but this is a very personal burden that I bear. You may even be right but I find it hard to agree with you at this point in my life. May be one day I could grow as a woman and most importantly, as a Christian, to forgive without condition, may be even without apology but right now I find it hard.

        • I understand, and I won’t comment any further on forgiveness, except to echo something Sharon once said about a friend over on the Tree. She once mentioned that a woman she knew found herself unable to forgive her husband’s adultery because she “didn’t want to cheapen her marriage, by taking it so lightly.” Sharon told her that she didn’t understand. It was precisely because her marriage was so important, (“until death do us part” as you say) that she absolutely must forgive. If she’d failed to forgive, it would have proved that she was taking her marriage lightly. Forgiveness is hard, and it’s significant; it’s not the same as taking sins lightly.

          But about your question of why there was a need of a public apology at all? I believe there was a need in this case, not because of the fans. In fact, neither apology was directed at the fans; they were directed at their loved ones who were not in contact at the time, for obvious reasons. Even if they had been in immediate contact with their families and had opportunity for private reconciliation, the public word was a good thing, IMO, because like the public breast-beating of biblical times, like the chest-beating we still do today at Catholic masses as we say “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa,” the public acknowledgment of sins is a valuable thing for us all. We need more of it, at least around here.

    • Point 2: Forgiveness is really hard. Yes, it is.

    • Point 3: Betrayal makes it harder to trust in the future. Yes, it does, but it is horribly, critically essential that we get over betrayal, because trust in men, like faith in God, is our very lifeblood, something with which we cannot function normally at all. Never mind that we have been commanded to do so as our very first and second commandments ever enjoined upon us by God, himself. We need it. We ache for it. Just do it. It’s because this is so critical a point, that the gossip-mongerers make me so angry when they go on about so-and-so (Liberty Ross and Rob Pattinson, in this case) being made “such fools of” by their trust in their loved ones. Wags be damned! Have we come no farther than Canterbury Tales? No one, and I mean NO ONE, has ever been made a fool because she trusted in someone. No man was ever made a fool because he was cuckolded. Sin and betrayal are the occasions for shame on the betrayers, never on the betrayed. Turning the tables and casting blame on the innocents only multiplies the sin. I believe we should choose our friends wisely, but trust, like love, should be given generously without fear of betrayal. And when betrayal comes, as it surely will, it will only be a test of the lightness of our grip on this life, which was never really ours to hold too dearly, anyway.

      As an aside on betrayal, the nom de guerre I use comes, of course, from Alexander Dumas’ book, which is all about betrayal. It was based on a true story about a man who was betrayed by his best friends in the most horrible way imaginable, and his revenge upon them. Those who read the book know that Dantes didn’t really go after revenge so much as justice. In fact, his buddies all met ruin, but he made sure that they had a chance to repent, and in some cases make confessions before death. He was actually concerned with their souls. And Dantes didn’t hesitate to forgive. In fact, forgiveness was a big deal to Dumas, too. Perhaps his only widely-known quote is about how suspicion and love cannot occupy the same heart at the same time. Suspicion is, in fact, a love-killer. That is not to say that everyone should be trusted. You don’t trust your enemies, unless you trust them to try to make a messy death for you. Suspicion is reserved for our loved ones, and as such it’s an evil thing.

      • Shalini says:

        This I can agree with. ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is one of my favourite novels, BTW! 🙂 You know what my problem is? [redacted account of Shalini’s confession to being an international spy and Bollywood movie star and subsequent plunge into sin and obscurity… 😉 Don’t judge her!]

        [paragraph redacted]

    • Point 4: There is no point in distinguishing between different kinds of adultery because Jesus made it clear that even those who lust in their hearts are guilty of adultery and will be subject to punishment. This is an excellent point, and totally true. It may be that I should have refrained from my third point, because it deals with the “degree of sin,” which is really God’s concern, not ours. However, I did try to be clear that even their “lesser” form of adultery was still sinful, and I’ve made no attempt to excuse their sin, or any sin. So, what the heck WAS the point I was trying to make with the third point in the original post? I was trying to point out that people were mischaracterizing the degree of sinning going on. And that’s legitimate, right? Once it’s been established that someone has committed a crime, the next thing on the docket is to establish how serious the crime was. In this case, it was not a public crime, so we shouldn’t be too concerned about that. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with defending someone publicly accused of a crime that is worse than the one they actually committed. After all, false witness is a public concern, and I think it happened in this case. There is nothing honorable about any sin, and I should never have implied that this one was more “honorable” than any other. I should have been clear in only stating that it’s degree of sinfulness, and hence it’s presumed punishment, would be less. You never meant to say that all sins are equal in seriousness, did you?

      • Shalini says:

        You never meant to say that all sins are equal in seriousness, did you?

        No, I didn’t mean that. I appreciate the effort you took in explaining all that you have here but right now I am not in a position to respond. So thank you and please bear with me. If I am not ready to comment objectively than I am not ready to comment at all. I am sorry.

        • That’s because it’s after 3am there, girl! Get some sleep! And take care! 🙂

          • Shalini says:

            Well, this was embarrassing. 😳 I still don’t agree with you entirely, it’s just that right now is not the right time for me to respond. Good for you, I guess. 😛 Also, it’s not yet 3:00 AM here. We are only 11 and a half hours ahead of you.

            • That’s right; I forget that Chennai is a half hour off the other zones. That’s pretty cool, actually. I would explain why, but it would make me look even more like a geek than I already do. 😉 No worries, Shal. I will consider myself partially beaten, and wait for the proof later. 🙂

              • Shalini says:

                Nah, you were all right. (By that I mean, you were right about forgiveness) I’ve been told that my Unchristian-like behaviour, regarding forgiveness, is surprising given my vocal proclamation of my faith. And they were right.

                Anyway, can you please check your mail?

    • Helllllloooooooo folks. Let me interject a little something here to help clear my own mind 😉 .
      #1 I don’t even know who these people are and I could care less. (My confession).
      #2 The people I care about are those who are dealing with issues in their personal lives and LOVE God.
      #3 From the above and below mentioned comments I want to make a reminder to those who are dealing with these types of issues.
      #4 Always recognize your enemy and know who you are dealing with. The little temptation (the one in your mind) is just that – a temptation. Sin doesn’t become a reality until we act out or make a decission (that would be a CHOICE) to enact on that temptation. By doing that we make the temptation our own and the Devil has won that battle for your soul to join his. Many don’t always recognize the difference and feel like a rotten person because they have these temptations. However with that being said that is the precise reason why we are suppose to guard our intelect and senses i.e. what we see, hear, feel, eat, and smell. That is why I don’t follow these icons around (could care less now), watch any movie that may be harmful to my soul, and do not have any “friends” that are not “like-minded” or at least interested in God. If we play in dirt we will get dirty! It is that simple. Also all that we are subjected to in life leaves imprints on our brains that the Devil can use to tempt us, even in our sleep. If it isn’t there he could never do so. Every one of our Founding Fathers (Christianity) that have studied Holiness would tell you this very thing. Exactly why we don’t expose our children to certain things also. That is also why moderation in all things is wise and we won’t get carried away by our weaknesses.
      #5 Forgiveness is the most powerful weapon in the world, Asking for it even more powerful and receiving it Overwhelming. When we harbor unforgiveness we are wallowing in our own sorrow (sucking our thumbs so to speak) and often times this can be very understanding, however, as Christians we cannot allow ourselves that liberty or personal gratification, yes it is gratification, becasue Christ has forgiven all of us already and we have no business in not forgiving anyone else. Forgiveness heals ourselves just as much as the other person. When we CHOOSE not to forgive it becomes a cancer and eventually controls us in the long run. God has already given us the Grace to do, so it is up to us to make that CHOICE. These choices are what governs which direction we go in our lives. When we CHOOSE foregiveness a healing takes place within ourselves and we no longer have to carry that burden alone. We CHOOSE to cling to the cross with Christ and we will find our comfort in Him alone in many instances and issues.
      #6 We need to always CHOOSE to forgive that person/s whether they have asked for it or not. Did Christ not die for all sinners and not just the ones who asked for it? Once again when we forgive we forgive ourselves as well. Healing within our own souls can’t take place without us CHOOSING to forgive regardless if they ask for it. If they ask for it that is great but not necessary for our own Salvation.

      • I like what you say here, especially:

        … because Christ has forgiven all of us already and we have no business in not forgiving anyone else.

        I think that’s the main reason this is such a big deal. The whole choice not to forgive is a deceit, because we never belonged to ourselves in the first place. We literally “are not our own.” We have been “purchased at a great price,” and we are obligated to surrender our tormenters into God’s hands, holding no claim back for ourselves, and be very sure that he will deal with them justly. Justice here on earth may involve visiting violence upon our enemies, but we need to be like Joan of Arc, who slew the English on the battlefield, and after the battle was seen sitting crosslegged on the field cradling the heads of mortally wounded Englishmen and bathing them with her tears. I personally would draw the line short of that, but I’d at least make sure they got forgiveness a good blessing. 😉

        • Shalini says:

          Okay, both of you!! Consider me suitably chastised! 🙂 It is exactly what my parents taught me and that’s why my failure in this regard is even more difficult for me. There is no question about forgiveness being a blessing. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant and the Parable of the two Debtors has made God’s thought on this pretty clear. I am aware of my imperfections and I am learning to become perfect in Christ. To know something is wrong and yet persisting with it is a horrible feeling but God, being as merciful as He is, knows and understands our weaknesses and will be patient till I learn to forgive freely. After all, one who is forgiven the most will love Him the most! That’s the joy of being a Christian, isn’t it?

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  7. Shalini says:

    Hey! Look what I found!! 😀 (I obviously was going to go to Calvin and Hobbes for comfort!*sniff*)

    Calvin’s (and Hobbes) Guide to Sin and Confession

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