To a group of unbaptized Gentiles and Jews, Jesus says, “Pray… ‘Our Father, our Dad.’”
If Jesus, the Truth, commands you to pray “Our Father,” it means that God is your Father.
And it also means that God is your neighbor’s Father… and that changes everything.
When a child says, “Abba,” a father comes to know what every mother already knows: that inside of every baby, every bundle of clay, there is an unspeakable treasure—spirit, soul, breath of God, a presence capable of loving and being loved, a treasure to die for.
Every baby is good for nothing—just Good. But as a baby gains “the knowledge of Good,” and tries to make themself good, we tend to forget the unspeakable treasure buried underneath all their successes and failures, under their ego.
A mother or father has encountered the treasure and is much less likely to forget, and of course, much more likely to forgive.
In their children, no matter how old, they see their baby.
George Floyd, so brutally murdered, is somebody’s baby. Derek Chauvin is also somebody’s baby. Everybody is somebody’s baby, and God is Father of all.
What does a good father do when his children don’t see each other?
In Matthew 6, Jesus says, “Pray, ‘Our Abba in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
Next verse, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But… if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Yikes. Sounds like, “If you don’t forgive, you’re going to hell, where ‘sons of the kingdom weep and gnash their teeth in outer darkness.’”
In Matthew 12, Jesus says, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but whoever (or “whatever”) blasphemes the Spirit will not be forgiven…”
Folks have endlessly wondered, “Have I committed blasphemy against the Spirit? And what is blasphemy against the Spirit? What is the unforgivable sin?”
Christians have postulated all sorts of bizarre answers, which is a little bizarre itself, for Jesus just told us the answer: “Unforgiveness” is the unforgivable sin.
The Spirit blasphemed is the breath in the blood that circulates throughout the entire body of “the Adam,” humanity. It’s the “Spirit of Grace.” It’s the Spirit that cries, “Abba Father,” from the depths of every child of God.
The thing that blasphemes that Spirit is your ego—that thing in you that believes you must create, save, and justify yourself—that believes you are NOT a little child of God. Forgiveness destroys the ego and liberates the children of God; it crucifies the old man and gives birth to the new.
There is one sin that a good Father will not forgive, and that is unforgiveness.
And, I’m pretty sure that we’ve all committed it.
To “forgive” (“aphiemi” in Greek) means: “to let, allow, or release.”
To forgive a person does not mean that you approve of something terrible they’ve done; it means that you’ve released them from any debt incurred to you as a result of whatever they’ve done.
My youngest son crashed my truck, and I forgave him the truck.
It means that he no longer owes me a truck.
But if he said to me, “Dad I won’t forgive my brother,” I would say to him, “That’s a debt that I will not forgive; you don’t have to pay for the truck, but you must pay for your unforgiveness… with forgiveness, or you may not eat at my table.”
Jesus told a similar story. A father forgave his prodigal son, and his other son would not forgive his prodigal brother or his father for forgiving his brother—he refused to join the party. You could say that Grace cast the unforgiving brother out, or that he cast himself out with resentment. Whatever the case, the father went and stood with his unforgiving son in the outer darkness.
“Our Father” suffers the pain of all our unforgiveness, until all of us, his children, surrender to his Spirit and forgive. The Father can’t enjoy the banquet if his children don’t enjoy each other. Grace is what’s for dinner—roast lamb, broken bread, and red wine. And as always, the Father pays the tab.
Our Father has prepared “a feast” for “all peoples,” prophesied Isaiah: “the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.”
Wouldn’t that mean that the Father brings all of his children in from the outer darkness, for he succeeds in convincing everyone of them to forgive?
Many say that the Father cannot succeed.
Upon reflection, it seems that many don’t want the Father to succeed, for they don’t want some to be forgiven; they want to be right because others are wrong; they want to win for their brothers and sisters have lost.
If God is “Our Father,” I suspect that’s unforgiveable.
It’s time that the institutional church stopped teaching its “members” to commit the unforgivable sin.
To cherish unforgiveness is to cherish a place in “the outer darkness where men weep and gnash their teeth.”
It’s not that the Father won’t join you there; it’s not that he hasn’t already died for all your sins; it’s not that he won’t ultimately destroy your flesh and liberate your spirit (or Spirit); it’s not that you can never be saved.
It’s just that you’re not saved until you forgive as you’ve been forgiven; you’re dammed.
If you don’t forgive, you are literally dammed (and maybe “damned”), for you’ve dammed the Spirt of Life that flows in the blood through all the members of the body and back to the throne as praise; you’ve wrecked the party.
Forgiveness is the Life; forgiveness is the Dance; forgiveness is the Party. To forgive is “to let.” When you forgive, you let the river of life flow, you let the Kingdom come, you let our Father enjoy his banquet.
You can forgive, for your father has forgiven you far more than a truck.
He’s forgiven you himself, your self and all things with you.
He will even descend into the depths of hell to show you that this is true.
But why make him? Forgive your debtors as he forgives your debts… NOW.