Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Need for Sacrifice and Transcendent Forgiveness

Sacrifice is a religious rite in which an object is offered to a “divinity” (all so called divinities are false except the God of Christianity) in order to establish, maintain, or restore a right relationship of man to the “sacred” order. It is a complex phenomenon that has been found in the earliest known forms of worship and in all parts of the world. (Source)

The other day I wrote a blog that included the following statement: “To overcome bitterness, one must learn to forgive others; to overcome discouragement, one must learn to forgive oneself.  Forgiveness involves ‘pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing’’’ Encarta Dictionary.  Somehow “self-pardon” in human experience is woefully inadequate when we sense we have engaged in wrongdoing, for often such wrongdoing—intentionally or otherwise—involves many.  There comes to be a profound sense in which we have wronged not only ourselves or others, but also God.  As David observed: Against You [God], You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:4 New American Standard Bible).  That is, when I wrong others or myself, I can come to perceive that I have not only wronged human beings, but I have wronged the Creator—a transcendent third party.  That is why it is not good enough for others to forgive me or for me to forgive myself.  There is the nagging sense that further forgiveness is necessary.  From time immemorial, mankind has offered sacrifices for atonement.  This testifies to the common human experience of the perception of a Transcendent Other that deserves our recognition and faithfulness.  Therefore “belief” in God woefully understates the case.  It is not so much that we give a notional nod to a higher power, but that we are flooded with the sense of God emotionally, intellectually and spiritually with complete force.  It becomes not so much a matter of belief as recognition of fact.  For Christians, Jesus bled and died for atonement of our sins; what are called for now are not death rituals but confession, forgiveness, renewal, and participation in eternal life.  We should be wary of those who aver that mankind has entered some brave new world of feeling and emotion in which sacrifice has no place.  (It can take on many hidden and devious forms.) It has a central place, but the signal sacrificial act has already been accomplished and is totally sufficient to meet our needs.

Print Page