Alright, #Evangelicals and #Exvangelicals. It's story time. Saddle up.

Imagine this: you live in a society where being unable to pay back a loan is punishable by death. (Why, you ask? Because I'm the emperor of this society, and I make the rules, and those are the rules.)
Now imagine that you were born very poor, through no fault or choice of your own. And society is structured in a way which entails that, through the normal course of life, you've come to owe me $100 dollars... which you couldn’t avoid, and you simply cannot pay back, now or ever.
Of course, as your very exacting and by the book Emperor, I keep perfect records and accounts. And I can plainly see there's no way I can ever get my money from you… So what I decide to do is torture and kill a member of my own family, and take the money from his belongings.
And thus I've received my payment – which I demanded in the first place. (Remember that: Your debt was never actually let go or forgotten, because I absolutely got what I wanted.)

And now imagine how you'd feel if I came to you and said not to worry, I had "forgiven" the debt.
Would you call THAT "forgiveness" in any meaningful sense, since I've gotten what I wanted? Would you be amazed at THAT kind of “forgiveness?"
And what if I told you the "forgiveness" of your debt would only prove effective if you then spent your life in service of my greatness?
Would THAT seem like "forgiveness" to you, with the debt still hanging over your head and motivating your relationship to me? Like “Hey, I did this thing for you, and if you really believe that I did, you must never cease talking about it, and how forgiving I am.”

So why is that the sort of "forgiveness" people interpret from scripture and God? Why does that shape the modern Evangelical view of atonement?
It’s bizarre to me that church culture is so big on “forgiveness” when the view we hear from most churches is *literally the opposite* of forgiveness. And it’s not even how the same folks believe WE are told to forgive – freely, without repayment, without demanding retribution.
So why would we be asked to forgive in a way God is unwilling to forgive? Why would anyone believe we are called to a higher standard of compassion than God?

And why aren't more people asking this question of their faith communities? Why aren't more looking for something better?
If you’re going to believe it, at least believe something that makes sense and inspires you to goodness. I dunno… Something a "good, good father" might do? Something that's actually good news? At least allow “forgiveness” to actually be forgiveness. Why bother otherwise?
If you’re going to believe in God, don’t try to impress regular people with how forgiving that sort of God is… because it’s not impressive. It’s about as impressive as a mob boss killing someone and getting his money and saying “We’re even. I won’t come after you anymore.”
I mean, gee, thanks - what wondrous love is this!

Yeah... No.

Okay. Story time over.

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