The Difference of Christ – Forgiveness

People often say that religions are fundamentally the same and superficially different. May I reverse that for you and tell you that religions are fundamentally different and at times superficially similar. If I am asked what separates Christianity from other religions, or  “what’s different about Christianity, aren’t all religions the same when you get down to it,” one of the first things that I would say is bound up in one beautiful word: forgiveness.

Even those not aquainted with the writings of William Shakespeare are familiar with the rueful cries of Lady Macbeth. In the story, Macbeth was spurred on by his wife to murder King Duncan and seize the throne, but after the murder it was she who took the blood of the king and smeared it on the sleeping guards to implicate them in the murder. Later, Lady Macbeth ends up walking in her sleep night after night. Staring at her hands she pleads, “Out, damned spot! Out I say!…Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!” Observing her pitiful plight, the doctor says, “This disease is beyond my practice.”

This word disease is expressive when it carries its underlying meaning—dis-ease. This speaks of the connection between the spirit and the body, the suffering of one who is no longer at ease in the flesh because of the torment of the soul. Guilt is, in fact, one of the oldest

Accept Forgiveness

sentiments ever expressed in writing and it is dealt with in the earliest verses of the Bible. After the temptation, we read of Adam and Eve hiding from God’s voice as he was calling, “Where are you?” The question was intended not to highlight a place, but to highlight a condition. And who can forget the image of Pontius Pilate trying to wash his hands of the guilt that he feared from having sent Jesus to the cross? Even today there is a mountain named after him in Switzerland and legend says that every so often his ghost is seen coming to the waters of Lucerne to wash away his guilt.

Whether it is thought of as a ghost that haunts or a disease with no remedy, all cultures wrestle with the issue of guilt. Such is the quest of religion. The Hindu pays his Karma through millions of reincarnations. The Muslim intones hopefully, “Insh Allah”—if God wills—and even at death never knows for sure if he is forgiven. But the one who comes to Christ knows for sure that the debt has been paid, once and for all. The guilt is eradicated completely! This is the Grace of God. He faces our guilt head on and is big enough to forgive. This is the difference of Christ.

THE DIFFERENCE OF CHRIST: FORGIVENESSPeople often say that religions are fundamentally the same and superficially different. MayI reverse that for you and tell you that religions are fundamentally different and at timessuperficially similar. If I am asked what separates Christianity from other religions, or“what’s different about Christianity, aren’t all religions the same when you get down to it,”one of the first things that I would say is bound up in one beautiful word: forgiveness.