Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Asking for Forgiveness


In 2015 Donald Trump said he "had never asked God for forgiveness."

In January 2016 when Christian columnist Cal Thomas pointed out that repentance for one's sins is basic to becoming a Christian, dt said he hoped he would not "have to be asking for much forgiveness."

Today, on Yom Kippur, day of atonement in the Jewish year, repenting is what we all need to do, nationally and individually.

  • We have an exploding sex scandal in the last weeks of the presidential campaign.
  • We see the continued bombing of innocent civilians in Aleppo, Syria.
  • We fear terrorist attacks and the rise of ISIS, the group birthed primarily by US bombing of Iraq.
  • We read about the lasting scars of US torture in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in this week's NYT coverage.
  • We continue to see black Americans killed by police in interactions that did not have to end in death.

All of us need to look at our part in our nation's sins as well as looking at our individual greed, lust, lying, pride, anger, violence, racism and sexism.

We have not loved our Creator enough and we have acted in self-interest against our neighbors.  
To confess one's own sin is the first step in becoming a follower of Jesus--that is, the first step after recognizing that there is a Higher Power of some kind who is beyond us in intelligence and in caring about justice on earth.

The next step is to acknowledge Jesus as God's unique representative on earth, sinless but executed by political powers, and able to forgive our sins through his own duel with death and evil.  

The final step is to claim that forgiveness and begin a daily conversation with the God who deeply loves us and forgives us when we turn our faces toward our Maker.

I still like these "Four Spiritual Laws" as written by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1952.  I learned about them when I was a high school student in Bakersfield, California, in the mid 1960s.

Perhaps no one ever introduced dt to these basic components of Christian belief.  He seems to share the popular view of a Christian as a good person who goes to church, not a sinner who is redeemed by a savior who died on the cross and returned to life.

I'm going to start praying for Donald Trump, not against him.  

He's a 70-year-old man who will meet his Maker soon enough,  He shows signs of dementia: lack of impulse control, forgetfulness of what he has said and done, grandiosity and delusions.  

It's not my place to forgive dt, but to those who are urging forgiveness for him, I say: Fine. Forgive him.  

But forgiveness does not mean endorsing someone for the presidency of the USA.

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