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Good Friday reflection by pastor Ģirts Grietins
Christian apologist and pastor Timothy Keller talks about “costly forgiveness”.
Why did Jesus have to die? Couldn’t God just forgive us? This is what many ask, but now we can see that no one “just” forgives,
if the evil is serious. Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it, so you can reach out in love to
seek your enemy’s renewal and change.
Forgiveness means absorbing the debt of the sin yourself. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into
resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears.
Should it surprise us, then, that when God determined to forgive us rather than punish us for all the ways we have wronged him
and one another, that he went to the Cross in the person of Jesus Christ and died there? As German theologian Dietrich
Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other ’s sins.
On the Cross we see God doing visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone, though on an
infinitely greater scale. Human forgiveness works this way because we unavoidably reflect the image of our Creator. That is why
we should not be surprised that if we sense that the only way to triumph over evil is to go through the suffering of forgiveness,
that this would be far more true of God, whose just passion to defeat evil and loving desire to forgive others are both infinitely
greater than ours.
It is crucial at this point to remember that the Christian faith has always understood that Jesus Christ is God. God did not, then,
inflict pain on someone else, but rather on the Cross absorbed the pain, violence, and evil of the world into himself. Therefore
the God of the Bible is not like the primitive deities who demanded our blood for their wrath to be appeased. Rather, this is a God
who becomes human and offers his own lifeblood in order to honor moral justice and merciful love so that someday he can
destroy all evil without destroying us.
That is why He has died for us.