God is forgiving

January 26, 2016 | 8 comments

It was heart wrenching for me to read a story about a 15-year-old boy who cut off his right hand after being falsely accused of blasphemy by an imam in his local village.

It was an ordinary evening prayer session. While preaching, the imam asked his audience for a show of hands of those who did not love the Prophet Muhammad. Thinking he heard the cleric say, “…those who love the Prophet,” young Anwar shot up his hand. Noticing his was the only hand in the air, and realizing his mistake, he quickly withdrew. But it was too late. The imam ripped into him accusing him of blasphemy, as did others around him. Feeling horribly ashamed and guilty, Anwar went home, found a scythe, and showed his allegiance to Muhammad by cutting off his hand.

After reading the story, I couldn’t help but believe there was a better way for the boy to deal with the false accusations. He undoubtedly was feeling intense pressure from the imam, his family and his peers to prove his loyalty to Muhammad. Even though he was loyal and he knew he was loyal, he still felt he had to take this drastic act to prove his commitment.

But what if he had been taught about a God of Love? What if he had been taught that God is a forgiving God? And what if the imam had been living and expressing a God of Love in his preaching? Wouldn’t the boy have realized that his mistake could be forgiven, and that he didn’t need to handicap his entire future on earth for one innocent misunderstanding?

This story headlined to me the importance of first interpreting Scripture spiritually, rather than literally. Even in the Bible, it states, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell” Matthew 5:30, NRSV. But Jesus Christ, the one who preached this verse did not practice the literal interpretation of cutting off people’s hands. “Your right hand” in this verse, is symbolic for the leading sin in your life. He taught them to forsake their sin. Sin is what needs to be eliminated, and that is accomplished through reformation and increased love of God. And from the Muslims I know, I’m sure this is the same goal that peace-loving students of The Koran strive for, too. Hands do not act on their own. Thought always guides them and that’s where the correction needs to take place.

This imam perverted sacred teachings to serve his own selfish pursuit of wielding mental control over his local youngsters through intimidation and fear. And the young boy unfortunately became a victim of it.

And this point brings out how critical it is for humanity to learn a God of Love. For the more people understand that God is Love, they will not be gullible to evil tyrants of the mind that would convince them otherwise, as this imam did. God is compassionate, understanding and forgiving. And God’s man was created to express this divine Love in all their relations with others.

As Jesus taught, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” Luke 6:36, NLT.

God gives us a second chance, and a third chance, and a fourth chance…

God is a forgiving God.


8 thoughts on “God is forgiving”

  1. Thank you Evan, It helps me to understand just how valuable it is to reflect God’s quality of Love holding high this attribute for ourselves and others.

  2. Thank you, Evan, I read that story, too, but did not handle it as well as you did! Sometimes a hard concept for all of us to understand is that God does not punish, but we are responsible for our actions and often suffer consequences that we bring on ourselves. One thing I love to remember is that No One or No Action is beyond Redemption. Our God is a Forgiving and a Compassionate God! Praise God!

  3. Thank you Evan for pointing this out. It is important to recognize the value of standing for good and speaking up when necessary, especially in church. The silence and failure to stand up to authority is happening in other churches as well. Failure to protect the loyal and sincere spiritual thought is often lacking. Thank you Evan for the courage in pointing out the Imam’s wrong action as well as the Godlike right action, that is demonstration, and is what Mrs. Eddy writes about. A teachable moment.

    With gratitude….

  4. Truly God is not only forgiving but EXTREAMLY FORGIVING! No matter what the mistake, God is ever leading us in his way to correct it and move forward without condemning. The answers he gives us when we sincerely ask him blesses us and never berates.

  5. This story vividly brings out the importance of the first Tenet of The Mother Church: “As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal life.” It is the INPSIRED WORD not the literal translation that we must heed. How very grateful I am to Mary Baker Eddy for giving us this Truth.

  6. Thanks, Evan! What I love most from reading the Koran and learning from Islam and from my Muslim friends is the many-times-a-day affirmation that God is the Merciful and Compassionate One. The one and only, as Mary Baker Eddy calls the Only Cause and Creator. This comes from Mohamed’s reminder that Jesus was a holy prophet who taught and demonstrated how God is all-powerful love, merciful, compassionate, gracious, redeeming and healing all. And how we must stand up fearlessly to tyrannical abuse of power and false assumptions, such as selfish materialism, to re-think and repent, sacrificing all, even social status and physical comfort, for God, submitting human will to God’s will and grace, and that we are here to glorify, obey, serve, and love God, expressed through daily kind deeds and charity to all of God’s creation, being a witness and example for others’ edification coming to God. I love how Jesus ad Mohamed defied the sexism, racism, nationalism, religious bigotry, classism, materialism, etc of their time and dominant culture (Judaism, Roman empire, a form of capitalism, etc.) that we, today, must also defy by defining in and as our own lives, the infinite goodness and grace of God as all-forgiving, all-healing, all-redeeming, all-saving LOVE. We know that and communicate our loyalty and integrity to that by how we love and bless our “enemies” and those who wrong us or who we have been brainwashed or socialized to hold in contempt or scapegoating or fear or hostility, for example, for the British and Americans to justify terrorizing and killing so our corporations can take their oil, gas, pipeline and oil shipping routes. Thank you, Evan for giving me a specific case to pray about, for my growth in listening, loving, grace. I love how I am glimpsing that throughout the boy’s life he can know that he is no less for his passionate self-mutilation or human zeal, and that he can never be denied or limited from his or another’s mistake, but is always protected and nurtured and affirmed and uplifted and healed by The Merciful and Compassionate One, and that submission to God’s will never harms, but blesses all. Nothing can infect or punish that sweet innocence and love and full-hearted desire to do God’s will and be at one with God. The Merciful and Compassionate One gives him and his family and village and imam everything they need, and they can each recognize and enjoy this and build inspired and inspiring lives based on this indomitable truth.

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