I have hit an awesome chapter in Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward and I am trying to unpackage it.
Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationships that God wants to create with us. (pp. 56-57)
I always thought of forgiveness as being like taking a Mulligan, something bad will not be held against me. But there was always an inner compulsion to try to keep the rules and a deception that somehow I could. While I always said the relationship was based on forgiveness and grace, I embraced another mental track that upheld the importance of the rules for acceptability by God and even for me to accept myself.
In fact, when I abandoned all hope of any real significant rule-keeping and begin to grasp the absurd, scandalous nature of grace, a whole new motivation perked up within me that had nothing to do with earning acceptance and everything to with knowing I am accepted and loved no matter what.
Jesus is never upset with sinners (check it out); he is upset with people who do not think they are sinners. (p. 59)
He must have seemed like a crazy man. People must have been telling him all the time, “Don’t you know who this is?” Yet, He kept infuriating the “righteous” and endearing himself to the “sinners.” Christians have turned it all around by condemning “sinners” and exalting the “righteous,” earning their reputation for being judgmental.
Much of organized religion tends to be peopled by folks who have a mania for some ideal order, which is never true. So they are seldom happy or content. (p. 60)
Our minds force us to try to make sense of things, so we form systems and theologies, but they are too confining for reality and even for our own personal experience. Usually, that means we try harder to defend our point of view, but reality always violates it. Isn’t it better to live life as an adventure, rather than having to figure out how every thing fits in our system and trying to squish it in.
Salvation is not sin perfectly avoided, as the ego would prefer, but in fact, salvation is sin turned on its head and used for our favor. (p. 60)
Normally we think of personal sin as a haunting evil curse, but it has many wonderful functions.
It causes us to think that maybe God knows what he is doing and wants to keep us from hurting ourselves and others.
It tells us that we are not focusing on something positive in our lives, and are, instead, opting for a substitute or prostitution of some good gift.
It helps us reach the end of ourselves and get ready to embrace grace.