God offenders

th-1If I don’t forgive you, who will forgive me?

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.”

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12 Responses to God offenders

  1. SteveRush says:

    Reblogged this on the Truth Divide and commented:
    This is a good word, esp for friends offended by Jpusa, an allegedly C commute.

  2. Lauri says:

    Wow! This is one of those life-changing Catch’s (no exaggeration). This is so against the grain of who I am – no wonder it is so hard to for me to grab hold of, but I will be reading and re-reading this one for a long time. Thanks John!

  3. David Gibson says:

    You hit one nail on the head when you pointed out the importance of understanding that “we are all God offenders.”, and how not being emotionally aware of that leads us down the path of saying “Welcome all Pharisees.”. But one thing that has struck me personally about this discussion is how much being on the “right” side of the measurement line has kept me from appreciating how much grace and love it took for God to accept ME, a “good” guy. I believe this has been a huge impediment in my life to feeling the full power and adoration of God for me, and to watching that boil over into a gratitude and confidence that overcomes all obstacles. I would love to hear your thoughts on that, because you seem to be better at putting into words the things I’m experiencing than I am myself.

    • jwfisch says:

      Gosh, I wrote a whole book about this called “Twelve Steps for the Recovering Pharisee.” You can get it on Amazon or download it as an e-book. It will allow you to explore this in depth. One of my proudest moments was what I realized I busted up a cult with that book. People were calling each other and reading it over the phone because they were afraid of being caught with the book. I met four couples that finally left that cult, at a conference I spoke at in Colorado. It was amazing.

      • THIS is a story I’d like to hear more about!
        If you’re comfortable with the idea, John – and if its appropriate to share – please tell us the whole story in a future Catch or other venue…

  4. TimC says:

    God Offender. I gotta admit, I resemble that remark.

  5. Tim says:

    Great not only do I offend everyone else I offend God too. Just can’t catch a break.
    I do hope God is less freaked out than people are or I got a snowballs chance in hell of making it.

    • jwfisch says:

      That’s the point. You can’t offend God. He’s already been offended on the cross. It is finished. Even judgment is a done deal. Though there is a Throne of Judgment at the end of time, aside of being an award ceremony for believers, it’s mostly a formality. Jesus said those who don’t have Christ have been judged already.

  6. TOM says:

    After reading the catch I just had to respond. I am a recovering addict. I came into recovery after a DUI arrest. An AA member turned me on to your books. And 28 years later and still clean I am a Catch member. The month I celebrated 25 years of recovery I was hit head on by a drunk driver. Since the accident I started attending the local Calvary Chapel and recommited my life to Christ.It took 2 years for the state to bring the case to court. It was a year after the mediation had taken place. God works in crazy ways. God provided for all my needs as a result of insurance . My only comment to the states attorney was that he realize his wrong. In recovery there is a step about making amends. If he had found recovery by this time it would be great to do that. He had and he did. He turned to me in the courtroom and asked for my forgiveness. I had already forgiven him while I was in the hospital. And I was prepared to do it in person when the time came. Now here comes the zinger. When he went to court I found out that he too had commited his life to Christ. and that we attended the same Calvary Chapel. Those who know they are much forgiven tend to forgive much.

  7. 2123clark says:


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