They say that reading is fundamental, but it seems to be the lost art form that people have replaced with television or other mediums. This is especially true in the case of the Bible. 

The Bible and forgiveness

Several of my writings have been about knowing your rights and dealing with abusive, belligerent people. As a result, it has come to my attention that many of these abusive people like to justify their actions by using the Bible. In my own life, I have had to deal with someone who repeatedly harassed me even after I moved away and begged that person to leave me alone. This person was unrelenting and every time they did something mean or cruel, they would point to the Bible and say "forgive." For my part, I would forgive because T.V. and church taught me that forgiving was the Christian way of dealing with things. The funny thing is that as I began to read the Bible for myself and really understand what it entails, I learned that my former pastors and television were leaving a lot out. 

Jesus is not the man you think he is

The forgiveness argument always begins and ends with Jesus. In church I learned how Jesus restored the ear of the servant that came to arrest him (Luke 22:49-51), but I seldom heard about Jesus telling off the Pharisees and lawyers (Matthew 23:13-39). I learned all about the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), but I seldom heard about Jesus' end times prophecy of the same household delivering up innocents to death (Matthew 10:17-22). It was like the world wanted to portray Jesus as this benevolent, non-violent man who took unfathomable persecutions and never fought back. The stories of my youth, church, and television completely ignored his warrior side.

Did you know that he called his top three disciples (Peter, James and John) the Boanerges (Mark 3:17), which translate to the sons of thunder and makes them sound like a cool biker gang? This is on top of casting out demons, which the Bible said he did "with authority" (Matthew 7:29), healing the sick, and performing miracles. He preached peace, such as treating your neighbor as yourself, but most don't know that world peace was not a part of his doctrine. "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth," said Jesus. "I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law" (Matthew 10:34-35).

Now this last portion is important to the "forgiveness" argument. Jesus may have sat with the publicans, but he never condoned their behavior and as a follower of Christ, people shouldn't either. Contrary to popular belief, you are allowed to tell someone off when they are wrong. You are allowed to separate yourself from that person if they continue to wrong you. The only time you are supposed to forgive that person is if they repent. That's the seven times seventy argument. It's explained best in the 17th chapter of Luke. Jesus said, "And if he [thy brother] trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent: thou shalt forgive him." Again, the key word is "repent."

Now, naturally, someone is going to reply with the turning the other cheek argument (Matthew 5:39). This is true. As Christians, you are supposed to turn the other cheek and long suffering was something that both Jesus and Paul taught. However, both these men, though they were delivered up to death never turned their back on the gospel, never apologized for their teaching, and when brought to court, did defend themselves. Like it or not, defending oneself is biblical and abusers can refute this all they like, but there's a reason why many of these details about Jesus are left out. It's conditioning. The best way to make someone a religious docile is to tell them that God told them to do it. It's the ultimate guilt trip. The only way to refute this logic is to pick up the Bible and read it for yourself. 

#Health #Religion