guilt forgiveness

guilt forgiveness cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

(Did you see my new Sophia, “BlackSheep”?)

Some things never change.

Some people and churches actually believe this and administer it. And many people subscribe to it. There’s lots of guilt to go around. With leftovers! And oh, what you have to go through to get and keep your forgiveness!

Well… you know what I mean.


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36 Responses

  1. Syl says:

    Is ‘t it amazing how something that is supposedly a “free gift” – and from God, too! – becomes so expensive, so quickly. It becomes an endless bait-and-switch. You thought it was free? Fooled you! The gift may be free, but the maintenance is a killer.

  2. Gary says:

    “The gift may be free, but the maintenance is a killer.”

    Syl I absolutely LOVE this line. I am going to have to steal it for my facebook.

  3. Sabio Lantz says:

    What sells religion in general:
    (1) My parents did it (sells 80%)
    (2) It helps me fit in (sells 15%)

    It makes me feel good is because of #1 & #2 but people can’t see the connection and instead, buy into the rhetoric. “Forgiveness” can often be just one piece of the rhetoric.

    Religion, from my experience, is essentially a commodity.

  4. nakedpastor says:

    just out of curiosity sabio, what’s the other 5%?

  5. mark says:

    I am the other 5%
    Church = timeshares?
    I still feel you are manipulated to the degree you allow
    I got rid of my timeshare though

  6. Steve Martin says:

    God is not interested in keeping the same ol’ you.

    He wants to kill you off. So that He can raise a new man/woman in place of the old one.

    How does He do this? Law, and gospel.

    Churches that do not employ God’s tools of law and gospel but engage in feelgoodism are doing a great disfavor to those in the pews. One would be better off staying home and watching football.

  7. Gary says:

    “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~Jesus

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” ~Jesus

    “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Matthew 7

    Jesus didn’t think too highly of those who taught the law in His day.

  8. BW says:

    Oh, yes, I finally agree with Steve Martin! I am better off staying home watching football πŸ™‚

  9. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ BW:
    Cracked me up ! Thanx. (PS – I hate football but would watch it to avoid sitting on a pew, listening to a sermon and singing hymns — yuck).

    @ Naked Pastor:
    The other 5% are those that think they have freely choosen — yeah, right!
    Don’t get me wrong — I love commodities. It is just that when someone thinks they are free of the influences of their demographics, I laugh.

    @ Resident Theologians:
    I thought there was controversy about what Jesus really said about the Mitzvah (the rules in the Torah = the Law). Some say he wanted every rule obeyed PLUS the spirit of the law. Whereas Paulites (most modern Christians) say, “nah, law no longer applies.” <– and that is the one that sold! He needed that to spread it to the gentiles. Exactly the point of this cartoon — albeit accidentally, I'm sure.

    Gotta love the verse cherry-picking == some ole habits die hard, I imagine.

  10. Gary says:

    LOL Sabio…

  11. Gary says:

    To clarify Sabio…since I still consider myself a follower of Jesus…I still look to His words for truth. Illustrating the way He spoke of the law and those who taught it is hardly “cherry picking”.

  12. Sabio Lantz says:

    To clarify Gary, I am pretty sure scholarship shows us that the early Christians were very divided. One of the divides was over the role of the Torah’s mitzah — with James’ crowd (bishop of Jerusalem, no?) following a Judaic Christianity where they held that Jesus wanted the law followed to the letter (remember the verse which you did not quote?? Matt 5:18) plus the spirit of the law. James’ Jesus wanted a reformed Judaism that obeyed the law but also understood that its basis was love.

    Paul came along, and sold a different version which met the market better and bang — orthodoxy! And then scripture was chosen and passages improved to match the preferred Jesus.

    The point I was making about liberals is that many of you understand that the bible can not be taken at face-value, but do so when it is convenient for you. Again, as I said, probably just an old bad habit.

    How can you be a “follower of Jesus” when:
    (a) You can’t really be sure what he said
    (b) He doesn’t talk to you

    The only way I can imagine is to form your own favorite theology and then go through the bible, look for things that support it, and there ya go! Instant religion — now all you need is a market for the commodity. Paul did it.

  13. Gary says:


  14. Brigitte says:

    It’s not really funny, Gary. I know you’ve suffered in the past under a certain kind of fundamentalism, but the answer is not to throw out “orthodoxy”. Forgiveness is exactly what should be selling this thing. Guilt and shame is something we carry because we do offend our own and other people’s moral values. What it’s about–Jesus was pretty clear: go out and remit sins and also keep them. The Jewish regulations were dealt with in Acts pretty thoroughly with eye-witness accounts and clear messages such as the sending over to Cornelius, etc. The Biblical accounts are not some late, great stuff, as many like to spout off to say and thus dismiss the whole thing. The stuff against Paul is rude and crude and uncalled for, really. It all hangs together, and precisely at this point, that we need to repent daily and receive and also give out forgiveness daily. All those — from Pharisees, to evangelicals, to overt sinners, to Gary, Steve, Brigitte, Sabio and NP–who have a little look around will see that they need it and that it is beautiful to be open and to be reconciled.

  15. Helen says:

    I’ve got this mental picture of Gary and Sabio with their shirts off chest-bumping each other, way funny.

    Anyhow, as I don’t like football or much televised sports, what do I get to watch on a Sunday? Need more options Steve Martin !

  16. Steve Martin says:


    How about the Food Network, or TCM?

  17. Steve Martin says:

    BTW, Brigitte is right. It’s a matter of life and death. We can joke about it, but the Lord is not messing around with this place and the price will be paid. We will ALL be let into the grave.

    We will stay there, eternally, or not.

    The time will come when all the joking will end.

  18. Brigitte says:

    On another note, this is the problem we also have. From someone’s FB:

    β€œWhen people say, “I know God forgives me, but I can’t forgive myself,” they mean that they have failed an idol, whose approval is more important than God’s.”

    ? Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

  19. Gary says:

    Yes Brigitte it is…it is often funny as hell. Unfortunately the exclusivist god of eternal damnation theory promoted by the fundys is only funny to those of us who have escaped the mind control and delusions. To those still trapped in that world of guilt and shame…it can be very destructive however.

  20. Gary says:

    “Brigitte is right. It’s a matter of life and death. We can joke about it, but the Lord is not messing around with this place and the price will be paid. We will ALL be let into the grave.”

    Sorry Steve…but you simply do not have the authority to make such a declaration. And don;t lay the scripture is on your side spiel on my…I read the same bible and come to a dramatically different conclusion.

  21. Gary says:

    Helen…not really a chest bumping kind of guy…but that image is funny as hell I agree. πŸ˜‰

  22. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Brigitte & Steve [Hell-Fire Preachers]:
    Apparently Gary, NP, and myself had the story and our beliefs right and were “reconciled”, but our beliefs slipped and we will now “stay in the grave eternally”. Or are you Arminean and us former orthodox believers are really still OK?

    @ Helen:
    “chest-thumping” <– why must women alway belittle the way boys play? πŸ™‚

    @ Gary :
    Does it really come down to which of you (yourself of Steve Martin and party) actually truly understands scripture? I think not. I think there are principles that far over-ride anyone’s scriptures: those of you various Christians, or Muslims, or Hindus or Buddhists ….
    “Getting the Scriptures Right” is a highly mistaken way of thinking. And using it to fight fundies, just feeds into their mistaken greedy-grasps for certainty and tribal exclusivism.

  23. Gary says:

    @Sabio – I am pretty sure having read my posts you know I don’t believe I have the “scriptures right”. In fact I have made the opposite point many times.

    My point is simple…the “greedy-grasps for certainty and tribal exclusivism” as you put it is a naive pursuit at best. No tribal group has any more claim to authority than any other. Even a non-theist tribal group. πŸ˜‰

  24. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Gary:
    Right, I would assume that is your position, but your said to Steve:

    “And don’t lay the scripture is on your side spiel on me…I read the same bible and come to a dramatically different conclusion.”

    Which seems to say, “He who reads the Bible right, knows what Jesus really meant.”

    [not putting words in your mouth, I am asking]

  25. Gary says:

    Appreciate the sincere question. My point to Steve was to point out that we do come to different conclusions using the same scripture therefore neither of us can claim scriptural authority. This of course represents the incredibly fragmented state of the Christian religion today.

  26. Sabio Lantz says:

    Ah, yes, I agree if I hear you saying, “No authority can be found in scripture.” [inspirations, stories etc … but not authority]

    Which I am sure the Hell-Fire Crowd will of course reject — as they should.

  27. Gary says:

    They have no choice but to reject it…their entire belief system absolutely depends on scriptural authority being on their side.

  28. Steve Martin says:


    I don’t need Scripture to know that I’m a sinner. You probably don’t either.

    But Scripture does amplify for us how wide the chasm is between God and ourselves.

    And then Scripture does point to Christ as the Savior. But hearing the gospel out of someone else’s mouth will do just fine to create faith in people.

  29. Gary says:


    Preach it brother. πŸ˜‰

  30. Helen says:

    Food Network and TCM? Never heard of them. I’m a “free to air” kinda girl who’s rarely in front of the big screen(TM) anyhow.

    Oh, couldn’t help humming this refrain:

    If you go down in the woods (blog) today you better not go alone
    It’s lovely down in the woods (thread) today but safer to stay at home
    For every bear (fundy) that ever there was will gather there for certain
    Because today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic.

    Actually cancel that last line as fun is not on the menu. Note to self: Jesus was never funny. Ever. It’s ruly serious stuff getting the doctrinal tees crossed and eyes dotted and making sure everyone else does too.

  31. Steve Martin says:


    I’m sure it’s better to not watch a lot of t.v..

    Jesus probably laughed quite a bit and had a great sense of humor. He cried, as well.

    He did have a mission, though, and that was to save sinners.

    Having some guilt over our shortcomings is a part of recognizing our great need of Him.

  32. VanPastorMan says:

    Forgiveness of sins can only be appropriated by faith. I am talking about the forgiveness of sins that lead to salvation. Once a sinner (which we all are by the way) understands they have sinned before a Holy God and are guilty, they understand that God placed all of our sins upon His Son Jesus. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so we as sinners could be forgiven. Sin has to be paid for, and Jesus did just that. So is forgiveness free? Yes it is, but you have to go through Christ,by trusting that He truly paid the sin debt for you. It is amazing to me how many people will reject what I just said, and it is so simple.

  33. Sabio Lantz says:

    Forgiveness can be “appropriated” — love the contractual deal.

    Why didn’t Yahweh pile all those sins on a goat and just pretend it was his boy. He wrote the rules, after all. Or did someone else write the rules and God has to play by them.

    This is such nonsense.

  34. Barry House says:

    Funny post. Sad post. Are there really still churches around that operate that way. I’ve in Alberta for 16 plus years and in numerous evangelical churches and have never seen or experienced this, quite the opposite really. As you inferred we all know and have been educated in our dispositions at birth but the gospel/Good news or “Good Glad Tidings” presents something free and liberating, unconditional. For the old schoolers out there, yes we know grace isn’t marshmellow in composition but the learning through grace has no preconditions, just an invitation to take a load off. And therein lies the true and obedient churches real task. To let folks know they can let go, drop that load of guilt they feel they need to continually beat themselves over the head with and move on to build a father/son father/daughter relationship with him.
    He who has begun a good work in me will surely be faithful in following it through to completion. Rest in that as we go on with him. Enjoy the journey.