Condemnation and unforgiveness are so easy to hold onto.
Whether aimed inwardly or towards others, our capacity to think the worst, to hold onto grudges, to count mistakes as unforgivable sin and error as mortal wound remains almost infinite.
Even this bible verse – arguably the most well-known and quoted:
is too often packed in turn or burn paper and tied with a ribbon of red tape and sub-clause.
Imagine – even if just for an all too fleeting moment – what it might mean to live in, and with, and for forgiveness, hope, possibility…
For those of us with a Christian faith, this is a non-negotiable that we have an ignominious relationship with and relentless capacity for debating. But our text strongly suggests that G_d believes in us.
not…to condemn (but) to be saved*
To believe – whether that belief is rooted in a faith or anything else (and of course we root our beliefs in a messy combination of known, knowable and unlikely-to-ever-be fully-known) – is a great starting point.
But belief should be a living thing – a tool reached for so often that the edges are smooth, gently wielded so as to contact with a kiss, any sharpness solely directed at the bearer, tested, questioned, critiqued, played with.
This post is part of a collaborative project called #LentVoices. For more details of both the project and contributors, see here.
(*There are – naturally – a range of interpretations to this text that exist. Some might take issue with my dramatic and heretical over-simplification of the verse and surrounding passage – perhaps most significantly any inference they find to humanities agency in the act of salvation. All I will say is this: you are fully entitled to your opinion, as I am to my own – and you might find we share more common ground than different)