I don’t remember now who said it, but someone wrote me in the last few days since we introduced the delicate and dangerous subject of sex offenders, “Maybe we should just admit we are all God offenders.”
I think she is onto something. Any time we all end up in the same boat, that is a good boat to be in. When we are all in different boats, we end up in trouble. Then my sin is either worse or less than yours, or I can forgive this, but I can’t forgive that. “You wouldn’t say that if you were in my boat!” It all has to do with measurement. Open the door on measurement of any kind, and we have opened the door that says, “Welcome all Pharisees.”
Better for us all to climb into the God offender boat and start singing about God’s amazing grace. Our focus needs to be, at all times, on our sin, and everyone else’s “forgiven-ness”.
Come on, I read through the comments this week and felt blamed and angry and defensive and then I belittled those who accused me. All that comes very easily, and I don’t even have to tell you. (Good for those of you who at least wrote your feelings down, if you thought them.)
One of the most amazing things about Jesus forgiving those who mocked him and crucified Him was that He didn’t blame them. He said they didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t know what they were doing? That is more earth-shattering than the earthquake that accompanied His death. He’s so right. We don’t know what we are doing. We are so blinded by our own hurt that we are hurting others and not even noticing.
I am not a psychologist or a corrections officer, but my guess is that everyone who commits a crime against someone else has had a crime committed against them. And I suppose, in its broadest sense, you could say we all had a crime committed against us because we were born into this mess. Blame Adam. It’s all his fault. Or better yet, blame Eve; she’s the one who started it. You really want to start down this road? We all have reason to make someone pay.
It’s true of all of us. We don’t know what we are doing because we are all God offenders. We were born that way. Can we say that about those who have sinned against us? “I don’t blame them because they didn’t know what they were doing?” What does it take to say that? The impossible, inconceivable forgiveness of God in your heart.
Maybe that is one of the reasons the Sermon on the Mount is so ridiculously radical about loving your enemies, praying for those who persecute you, returning good for evil, going another mile when someone forced you to go the first one, “Slap me once? — Slap me twice,” “Want to steal my shirt? Here, take my coat, too.” In other words, go way overboard on this because the human tendency will always be to go the other way and pay back. Unless you go way overboard on this, how else will anyone know you are any different? Jesus told us to do this because then people will know we are of the Father in heaven, who makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust alike.
“But God,” we say, “someone’s got to pay for all this shit!” And God says, quite simply and calmly, and never offended by us, or our language, “Someone already did.”