Forgiveness is the highway where apologies, explanations expectations, regrets, rationalizations and remorse lose their crutches and acquire wheels.
Forgiveness is not a religious phenomenon. People of all stripes are capable of letting go of injuries they have suffered. People who are not religious or spiritual are equipped emotionally and rationally to make a firm break with animosity and hostility that may arise from injustices they have experienced.
It is curious how many religious people have a set of talking points about forgiveness which are wholly unattractive and inconsistent with a God of infinite mercy and compassion.
Take the sacred tent of the Levitical order. It’s purpose was for divine residence and for divine communication with the priesthood, but at its innermost recesses there were operations for the expiation of sins.
Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.Exodus 25:8
To see that this atonement process did not work one only needs to read the rest of the priest-temple narratives.
There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.Exodus 25:22
It is beyond question that the people pursuing that ancient concept and its supporting regulations are outrageously bewitched, and the leaders wilfully forgetful, that “there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God;” (2 Peter 3:5). All things from the beginning are not automatic contributors to the kingdom of God.
We say that after forgiveness comes the gift of the Holy Spirit not testing and failure. We say that after forgiveness comes the guarantee of the final redemption- of the body – not bondage to human and bodily discipline.
We are recipients of certainty, finality, rest, and peace. When Christ liberates people they are free for real, from death, bondage, and condemnation. When Christ saves people they are safe. What else could they be?