Today’s guest post is by Leonard Grimm. Leonard has been a deacon in three of my churches in the old days (he was stalking me), and is my favorite axe-grinder. As you can tell, he has a bit of a different idea about forgiveness. Actually, Leonard has a different idea about a lot of things.
Leonard has issues. Lots of ‘em. But in the interest of equal time and continuing the uh, discussion, here’s Leonard.
Get a bunch of Christians and other religious people like me together, and somebody will eventually start talking about forgiving your neighbor, “seventy times seven,” and all that stuff. Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s a buncha hooey. If you’re pouting, shouting, or planning your next attack, hang in there and stay the course. Here are 10 reasons you should rethink all that forgiveness stuff:
1. It still hurts.
Just because you send the jerk on his merry way doesn’t mean his offenses don’t hurt anymore. And if you’re still hurting, why should he get off scott free? I think you need to remind his sorry soul every time you’re having a bad day.
2. It sends the message that you approve of what they did.
So the dirtbag comes along and says, “I’m sorry,” and you say, “Oh, it’s okay” with that sugar-sweet churchy voice. We all know what that means – “It’s really not that bad. I know you didn’t mean to drive drunk, cheat, steal or lie. I’ve probably done worse that.” Puh-leeze! You just signed his hall pass to do it all over again.
3. Somebody has to hold them accountable.
Accountability means reminding them of how they screwed up, right? Well if not you, then who? You were the one who was offended or hurt. They ought to see your face or hear your voice every time they ever think about doing it again.
4. Forgiveness is a sign of weakness.
It’s your way of saying that you’re clingy and needy and just can’t get by without having their lowdown self in your life. Man up! Let them know loud ‘n’ clear that you don’t need anybody.
5. If you forgive them, they’ll just do it all over again.
Perps need to pay, somehow. This business of letting them off the hook will only guarantee they do it all over again.
6. Forgiving removes the possibility of probation.
Hey, even in baseball, three strikes and you’re out. Same goes for the prison system. Like it says in the Bible, “God helps those who help themselves.” It’s a whole lot better when the wrongdoer recognizes that one more slipup means he pays for the whole load. Maybe then he’ll keep his act together.
7. Forgiveness costs money, time, and a lot of energy.
There’s something to be said for payback. Restitution, baby, with interest. Just look what you lose when you excuse. Hey, that rhymes. Anyway, why is it that the only people in long-term counseling are those who need to forgive or the creeps that need forgiveness?
8. Forgiveness makes you look stupid.
Show me a forgiving Christian, I’ll show you another reason that people think we’re idiots. Hey, I want to be nice like the next guy. But I’m not letting some repeat offender make a fool out of me. No sir!
9. Forgiveness hurts church planting and missions.
Think how many churches have been started because somebody in the Mother Church got tired of putting up with the crap from the people next to them. When you can get a group of people together who are sick and tired of another group of people, you’ve got the makings of a missionary enterprise. Heck, I know. I’ve started two and a half churches myself with this strategy.
10. People who forgive make Hell a nonprofit organization.
And without the devil to blame, where would we be?
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