This post was inspired by Valerie Jacobson.
Samaritan: What happened to you?
Wounded One: I was attacked by a sadistic robber.
Samaritan: Really? Which way did he go? I have to find him.
Wounded: Could you help me first before you bring him to justice?
Sam: Bring him to justice? No, I need to go find him and befriend him and show him unconditional love and help him see the error of his ways through long and patient counseling and maybe some lunches together at that sweet little inn in town.
Wounded: But . . . he took all my clothes.
Sam: Oh yeah, I noticed—that was how I could see the bruises all over your body. Hey, here’s my extra cloak. Take care, and remember that this suffering is for your good and your greatest problem is your own sin.
Samaritan: Hi, are you the one who robbed the Wounded One on the highway?
Robber: Oh yeah, my temper just got the better of me for a minute. I don’t know why it happened.
Sam: Hey, it happens to all of us. After all, we’re all sinners. I was wondering if you’d like to catch some lunch at that sweet little inn in town.
Rob: Oh yeah, that’d be great. I have some extra cash on me today.
Sam: Perfect, but it’ll be my treat. Let’s go. And, you know, I’d like to talk to you about learning to do the right thing because, you know, God commands it.
Rob: Absolutely. [A tear forms in his eye.] I want to do the right thing. My temper just gets the better of me sometimes.
Sam: Well, I know how that is, for sure. No condemnation here! In fact, the Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and I’m not about to be the one pointing fingers.
Rob (at the inn, eating his lunch): This means a lot to me. Thank you.
Sam: Oh, don’t even mention it. It’s the least I can do, really. After all, when it comes to repentance, I’d rather err on the side of grace, you know what I mean? Look, I see plenty of evidences of grace in your life already. When I found you, you were counting your money, which indicates frugality. You’re carrying with you an extra set of clothes, which indicates forethought. You have great manners. Buddy, I could go on and on!
Wounded One appears in the doorway on all fours.
Sam: How did you get here?
WO: I crawled.
Sam: Look, this is really inconvenient. I have a tremendous gospel opportunity, right here, right now. If you come in, it could mess everything up. Anyway, if you pray about what you did wrong to cause what happened to you, I’m sure you can keep it from happening again. (turning back to Rob) Sorry for the interruption.
Rob (his mouth full of food, calling to Wounded One): Hey, I’m really sorry for what happened!
Sam: Whoa! Did you hear that? Wounded One, hey, now it’s on you. Forgiveness is mandated by the Scriptures, by Jesus Himself. Good job, Rob. I didn’t even have to bring it up! Fist bump!
WO: I need help.
Sam: Hey, Innkeeper, could you close that door? We’ve got some heckler interrupting our lunch.
This post was inspired by a Facebook post by Valerie Jacobsen, who adds that instead of this parable that represents the dire state of the modern evangelical church:
“If we’re bringing the true Gospel,
and if our expectation is that God Himself will raise the dead and replace stony hearts with hearts of flesh,
we can kindly care for victims
even as we urge perpetrators to humble themselves before the living God,
repent of their sins before him, confess their crimes, and make restitution.”
This contemporary application of the Samaritan’s story rings so true in the church as well as the secular arena. It brought me to tears. Victim blaming is demonic and is rampant in our culture. The words of Christ on the cross, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” are so relevant here.
In many cases they don’t know what they’re doing. In some cases they actually do know very well what they’re doing and are in fact malevolent. I’m very thankful the Lord can sort this out.
Thanks for pointing that out Rebecca. You are so right that some are in fact intentional and premeditated in their oppression.
Excellent. Excellent. This is exactly why I wrote ” Behind the Veil: Exposing Domestic Oppression and Providing Hope.”
Thanks Warren Lamb, someone who is following this comments thread pointed me to your book. I’m going to read it. 🙂
This makes me think of so many family and friends of murder victims who make a big fuss to say they forgive the perp. It’s usually standard fare for the Victim Impact Statement time to include the family and friends of the murder victim saying how they forgive the murderer, despite no repentance or indication the murderer is seeking forgiveness.
Then, by contrast, those who want justice, who rightfully hate the wicked, are admonished as being vengeful, vindictive, bitter, wrathful, and basically bad/wrong. Blanket forgiveness is cheap, meaningless forgiveness. And yet it has come to be the expectation of any professing Christian to be a grace-on-steroids/cheap grace supporter.
Or, I get a lot of judgment from others for hating the wicked, usually told ‘judge not, lest we be judged’ line and yet nobody seems to recognize that’s a condemning judgment and criticism of the person rightfully hating the wicked. And yet anything other than standing with the victim, siding with her, is by default solidarity with the victimizer. There is no neutrality. ‘Neutrality’ is siding with the perp.
And finally, this post had me thinking about the Psalm 26:5 “I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked” and yet it has increasingly become like a badge of Christianity to me out there, befriending and coddling the wicked, as though such is godly. No, it’s not.
In any crime there is a victim and a perp. In such circumstances there are guilty parties and innocent parties. The perps are criminals and guilty of wrongdoing. Victims are innocent. They were victimized. And yet people rush to victim-blame, scrutinize all actions and inactions of the victims and give the benefit of the doubt to the guilty, lying criminal. It’s abominable.
It is said that if a person repeats a lie enough times, it becomes the truth as it sounds true, people ‘sense’ it to be true (as they’ve been kind of brainwashed into believing the lie is actual truthful fact). And one of the big lies I see in the ‘c’hristian community is that ‘people are good/look for the best in others and you’ll be sure to find it/give the benefit of the doubt’ as though such is ‘c’hristian. It’s not. It’s not biblical. It’s like people don’t believe in evil and think that speaking of evil is evil itself. As though Christ wasn’t actually crucified. As though nothing bad happens in the world, until it does, and then, it’s a matter of the victim bringing it on herself/causing it somehow.
Things are flip-flopped. ‘Woe to those who call bad good, and good, bad.’
i’m glad you brought up Jesus on the cross since His example contradicts most of what you said here: “forgive them Father” while they were still unbelieving unrepenting + still in the very act of torturing Him to death.
being willing to give grace + forgiveness really sets US free from the prisons of bitterness + hate + self-righteousness… and opens us to having the heart of Jesus innocent + free.
i’d MUCH rather have Jesus’ heart than a book’s. 😉
A book’s heart? I don’t understand. You are saying I have a book’s heart? What is a book’s heart? Which book? Any book?
Also, I don’t think Jesus on the cross contradicts most of what I said. I give the example of Jesus on the cross and His scourging, suffering ridicule and mockery as examples that this peace, happy thoughts, la-la land so many Christians seem to think is reality actually isn’t. And Jesus suffered on the cross to atone for the sins of His chosen elect. He paid for us believers. He suffered. And thus, God forgives us when we are repentant and genuine in our asking for forgiveness, and we will be cloaked with Christ’s white, compared with out red-stained selves.
The world is full of evil, wicked, predatory people. The world is going to grow worse and worse. God’s people are the remnant. God’s people are the minority. Yet people who have privileged lives, who are relatively insulated from much of the evil, abuse, violence, and depravity suffered by others, tell those who cry out for justice, that the victimized, marginalized, targeted people are “bitter” “hate[ful]” and “self-righteous”.
That’s incorrect. I am not as you say, Chad. And God hates the wicked. Yes, God hates. And God is not some happy hippie, peace, love, let’s all hold hands, God. Nope. God is a God of justice and righteousness. God stands for the victimized and the oppressed and the persecuted. He stands with them, which implicitly also means that God is against the wicked, the oppressors, the persecutors, and the evildoers of this world.
Furthermore, it is as though you are implying Jesus was all “give grace + forgiveness” walking around giving blanket forgiveness, cheap grace for all. But He wasn’t. He held the money-changers to account. He criticized the Pharisees. He opposed evil and spoke out against it.
He didn’t get all chummy with His persecutors. He didn’t get all chummy with the Pharisees, sprinkling them with all sorts of grace and forgiveness. No. He was against them.
And did anyone call Him “bitter”? No. Did anyone call Him “hate[ful]”? No. Did anyone call Him “self-righteous”? No.
A person either loves God or loves the world. A person either loves evil or loves good. And getting chummy with evil is loving evil. The two masters. You cannot love both. You will hate one and love the other.
God didn’t dole out forgiveness without any repentance. God required Jesus’ atonement on the cross. God didn’t dispense blanket, cheap forgiveness to the unrepentant and the evil. God isn’t chummy with the devil. God hates the devil. God also hates the devil’s children. It is righteous and holy and proper for Him to do so. And we are to be like God.
It sounds to me like you have not thought through the doctrine of forgiveness very well. I’m wondering whether you have imbibed and are repeating the standard ‘biblical counselor’ line that is often laid on victims of abuse.
I agree with what Anonymous has said in pushing back at you.
There are three kinds of forgivenses and most Christians conflate them…which leads to all sorts of problems. I invite you to read this link. It describes and disentangle the misunderstandings of forgiveness.
Chad, it sounds as though you have never been the wounded one. When justice hasn’t been served and the victim carries the weight of the abuse, even after the physical heals.
I read your words as regurgitated nonsense.
You know why the fields are ripe? Victims.
Victims need Jesus and unconditional love.
Please don’t ever share this nonsense with a person suffering because of the hand of another.
I’m a little late to the discussion–sorry about that. Anonymous and others, I appreciate what you’ve said here. Chad, I believe it’s important to remember that “Father forgive them” was followed by “for they know not what they do.” It was only those who didn’t know they were killing the only begotten Son of God that Jesus was praying for there. That would mean the Roman soldiers who were just doing their job. We know that at least one of them believed on Jesus right there at the Crucifixion, and we can be confident, since Jesus prayed this, that others came to Him later.
Do you really think that “Father forgive them” means there is blanked pardon, the wrongdoers not suffering any consequences while their lives remain unchanged? I see that Barbara linked you to an ACFJ post, and I’ll also link to another post I wrote on forgiveness, one of several: https://heresthejoy.com/2019/04/that-forgiveness-talk-at-harvest-bible-chapel/
[…] Written by Rebecca Davis and originally published on 19 June 2019. Inspired by Valerie Jacobson and posted in honor of #SBC2019, the convention of which has a theme this year of dealing with sexual abuse in the church. […]
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