Could the forgiveness of sins hang on the greatest commandments?


#1

When Jesus spent his time on Earth, he would have lived by the greatest commandments; this would have been the greatest way he could respond to each and every situation in his life. But how did Jesus love all his neighbours as he loved himself, Judas who betrayed him, the soldiers who nailed him to the cross? Jesus was an innocent man, with the power and authority to ask God for justice.

But it seems that nothing, and no one should stand in the way of Jesus loving all his neighbours as he loved himself, and we know that he prayed on the cross, ‘forgive them Father’


#2

Jesus is God. He loves us unconditionally. But to forgive us of our sins we must have true repentance.


#3

Is there one single way that can be identified as the greatest way to respond to each and every situation in life? I don’t think so. I think that commandments differ from guidelines in at least two respects. First, commandments are not merely options, like some tactic or strategy that you might consider while involved in a game of chess. They are like the rules of the game, so that violating them is unacceptable. Second, because life (like chess) involves making choices, commandments leave open a lot of options. If there is a single best way to respond to each and every situation in life, then a description of that single best way is not provided by commandments.

I cannot explain how Jesus maintained his attitude of love in those circumstances. However, that He did maintain that attitude can be imagined and understood as follows.

Weak human beings can, as a result of what is known as “Stockholm syndrome”, sincerely adopt the attitudes of people they know committed a crime by kidnapping them, and they know continue to commit a crime by detaining the victim without lawful authority. If weakness allows an ordinary human being who is not divine to sincerely adopt the attitudes of people who are known to be evildoers, then we can understand that strength allowed a Man who was both completely human and completely divine to maintain a sincere attitude of the One who is Good.


#4

Yes,* Jesus loves*-because He is love.


#5

The greatest commandments are profound and beyond my understanding, it does not seem natural to think that Jesus loves us unconditionally. How do you love the person who is nailing you to the cross, and how do you love them unconditionally? To love someone unconditionally, means you love them even if they do not repent.

But to forgive us of our sins we must have true repentance

Beyond a doubt, I agree with you, it is far better to admit our sins and repent.

In my own life, I am starting to find that it is far better to forgive the other person even if they are not sorry, and they do not repent. I was out with the Street Pastor team about 2 am, when we tried to get in the middle of a fight, and calm things down. Eventually the fighting stopped, but one tall lad was still angry, he was inches from my face and spitting out the words, 'yur a Christian, you are supposed to forgive, what if I stabbed your f… mother in the face and f… raped her, would you forgive me?

I said yes, as hard as it would be, it is far better to forgive you then to hate you, and he walked off.

About a month later, he was with a group of mates, he saw me, he crossed over the road towards me and shook my hand, he did not say much, then walked off.

When I looked back at this incident, I felt as if repentance was not on his mind, but for me to live by the greatest commandments meant trying to love unconditionally, whether he was sorry or not. I can only say, that not carrying any anger against this lad, was a healing process for me, in a way, it had little to do with the other person being sorry.


#6

He loved them because He** desired and did what was for their good – especially their eternal good.**

We often confuse “love” of neighbor (commanded by God) with our “feelings” for them, rather than our actions for their good.
If, regardless of our negative feelings, we desire that our enemies be saved, and pray for their salvation, we ARE loving them.


#7

Thanks for sharing. Your faithful response to the lad obviously had positive effects in him. An inspiration for us to follow Our Lord’s commands even in difficult situations.


#8

I still struggle to understand at times, how we love someone for their eternal good. The parable of the Good Samaritan has the priest and the Levite walking past the wounded man, they may well have been trying to obey their religious duties. If they had tended to the man, they would have become unclean, and not able to perform their duties for a while.

All the religious laws came from God - Jesus, yet Jesus gives us a parable for understanding the greatest commandments that almost seemed to bring the priest and Levite into conflict with their religious laws.

We often confuse “love” of neighbor (commanded by God) with our “feelings” for them, rather than our actions for their good.
If, regardless of our negative feelings, we desire that our enemies be saved, and pray for their salvation, we ARE loving them

We love and pray for our enemies in a spiritual way, but we cannot leave everything to God, we also have to do something. A kind of contradiction, we pray as if everything depends on God, we work as if everything depends on our own effort.


#9

Our “eternal good” is to be with God forever in heaven after we die. For that we must die in the state of sanctifying grace – not be in the state of mortal sin. To “love someone for their eternal good” means to do what we can to help them not to commit grave sin and risk eternal damnation.
We can pray for them - especially if we know they are committing grave sins. Pray that God will pour out graces of repentance and conversion upon them, etc.

The parable of the Good Samaritan has the priest and the Levite walking past the wounded man, they may well have been trying to obey their religious duties. If they had tended to the man, they would have become unclean, and not able to perform their duties for a while.

All the religious laws came from God - Jesus, yet Jesus gives us a parable for understanding the greatest commandments that almost seemed to bring the priest and Levite into conflict with their religious laws.

They would have been unclean and unable to do certain duties for a period of time, but they would not have been guilty of sin.

An example of something similar for us:
We have a regulation that one must fast for an hour before receiving Holy Communion. If we break that fast and eat, we cannot receive Communion. By eating we break the fasting requirement for receiving Communion, but we have not committed a sin.

Jesus was telling them that caring for someone in need was a compelling reason for them to break the regulation for cleanness and forego being able to perform the duties that required cleanness.

We love and pray for our enemies in a spiritual way, but we cannot leave everything to God, we also have to do something. A kind of contradiction, we pray as if everything depends on God, we work as if everything depends on our own effort.

In addition to prayer, some things I can think of doing:

  • NEVER agree that a gravely sinful act is okay (because they can’t help the way they are, because doing the right thing is too difficult or inconvenient, or any other excuse put forth as a justification for committing the sin.) This can often be particularly difficult in social gatherings when everyone else is saying or agreeing that the act is perfectly okay and not sinful.
    *NEVER try to persuade someone to commit a serious sin (eg. fornication) or assist them in committing a gravely sinful act (eg. driving to an abortion clinic);
    *DO/SAYanything we can to convince them not to commit the act
    *TEACH the faith to others (our own children, CCD classes, and just in conversation when the opportunity presents itself).
    *LIVE OUR FAITH – to be Christian examples to others through our lives.

Those are a few ways I can think of. Are there others that you could add?


#10

I see it simply as Jesus Understands. He Understands the Element/Entity within us that blinds us to having full knowledge of why we do what we do - and why my actions for many years were contrary to Christ.

As St. Paul wrote: Rom. 7:21 - I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 7:23 - But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bring me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

The more I seek to understand myself, the more I understand why others do what they do. I’ve caught myself acting on a bad motive and justifying it with a ‘good motive’ that others will accept. Unraveling the mess that is me gets really interesting…and freeing.

Of course, I wasn’t able to begin seeing the ‘underbelly’ until I prayed for the willingness and courage to look.

“The motive we have before an action is often very different from the one we tell after an action.” - Unknown

I now try to curb asking others why they did something - they really don’t know, and I’m just inviting them to lie/make something up that sounds ‘reasonable’.


#11

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