Forgiving and Being Forgiven

This week, I am talking with my agnostic friend, Sam, about his thoughts on the Christian Union Events week. On Tuesday we spoke about his curiosity surrounding The Christian Faith and some of the things that he finds less convincing than others when it comes to the Christian worldview. (You’ll see that his thoughts are in italics.)

Looking back over the past two days of events, one thing that has become an interesting topic of conversation for us, is forgiveness.

What have you learnt about forgiveness this week?

I’ve been reminded that forgiveness is weirdly complex. Paul explained it with reference to a story. It struck me as being all about the forgiver – for them, it’s an opportunity to find peace, no matter what the other person has done to them, no matter whether the other person is remorseful. In this way, forgiving someone is about recognising that the other person has made bad decisions, and knowing that hating them doesn’t solve anything. Easy when a character in a bad movie does it, difficult in real life.”

I think that very much in this society we only like to forgive if we have confirmation that somebody is remorseful or apologetic or justified in what they did. We see in the gospel, how forgiveness logic is entirely backwards. This week we’ve learnt how God has already forgiven us all through a sacrifice of Jesus Christ. One of the great ways we can illustrate the way God forgives is in the parable of the prodigal son. In the story that Jesus tells we learn that a son takes his inheritance and flees his family for a life of indulgence to pleasure. His life ends up going entirely down hill, and years later he comes back to his father, having lost all of his money and to put it candidly, a broken man.

In the passage, it says the son was a ‘long way off’ as he approached his home, and the father is ‘filled with compassion; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Parables can seem outdated or ‘cringey’, do you find this?

“I feel like parables can turn off an audience. However, I feel like the main point of this week is encouraging discussion about moral issues, and a parable is a good way to express a point. talk demonstrated the value of going to a Wonder event. Yes, perhaps the Bible story might put off some, but ultimately all Bible stories are just talking points, and it’s these points that we don’t often think about as groups. Wonder isn’t an opportunity to be preached at, it is genuinely meant to be a discussion.”

If you’d like to come and discuss more then we have two more days of events happening! 12, 13:00, 18:00 and 19:30 for the next two days in the Wonder tent!

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