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July 01 • Infinite Forgiveness

Day 357

Why I have not been abandoned by God is still a mystery to me, even though I’ve been telling other people about his forgiving nature for most of my life. I believe it, I feel it, I see His fingerprints everywhere, yet I do not claim that peace often enough.

My 85-year-old father preached a sermon yesterday about the Prodigal Son, or — as he preferred to call it — the ‘found’ son and the compassionate father. No matter how far down we have fallen in our behaviors, he said, we must never forget the infinite capacity for forgiveness that awaits our return to the Father.

There are a lot of ‘versions’ of our Higher Power around the world, throughout history, and even around the room of most 12-step meetings. The overwhelming theme of virtually all of them is forgiveness and redemption. This recognition speaks to our need for those things and, I believe, the legitimate expression of a personal Abba who wants to give us those things.

Even if we reject the Christendom version of God as we seek forgiveness, we are still attempting to be forgiven. Even if we reject the need for forgiveness, there is still our uncontrolled acting-act, our selfishness, and our living contrary to our own values that have us in need of redemption.

I believe in a God of reconciliation that reaches out to us through each other, as well as through His other divine methods.

Through cultural morality, God is often credited by the self-righteous for making things worse for addicts because of our high levels of guilt in disappointing Him. I reject God’s role in that.

Our shame and guilt and inability to deal with our disease, and years of hiding our real selves, are not the fault of God. The wrongs of rejecting the hurting and ignoring those who could be helped, lie at the feet of holy broken people trying to use religion to advance their own agendas. These people may well be sincere in their tightly held beliefs that they have the ability and responsibility to control others. Or they may suffer from plain arrogance and a hunger to be better than all they can see.

It is a mistake to confuse religion with our Higher Power. They are sometimes tightly connected, but sometimes all that is available to us rests in the spiritual world where nothing is more important than recognizing the power and authority of a goodness we cannot deny nor reject. This is where we find both forgiveness and redemption, not in the physical world of ‘earning’ our way to a Higher Power’s good graces.




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