pixabay image of Calvary

This Easter Follow the Way of Love Through Forgiveness


By Ernesto Tinajero

Forgiveness is the door to love. When we commit to following Jesus, we commit to following the way of love and forgiveness. This week Christians celebrate Holy Week. With Palm Sunday we celebrated the triumphant entry into Jerusalem mocking the great military processions on which conquerors like Caesar would display their might by riding war chariots, the tanks of the day. The message was clear: we bring order through violence. Don’t cross us or else face our sword, guns and power. We are now your police, judge and jury.

Jesus, offering a new vision for humanity, entered on a donkey or tractor of the day. He offered not the threat of death, but life and love. Both Caesar and Jesus claimed the title of “Son of God.” Caesar backed his claim with the might of the Roman army and by the point of a sword. Jesus only pointed to his father, who is love and backed up his power with forgiveness.

We then wait for Maundy Thursday  when the mighty man who is God, humbles himself to wipe off the muck of his followers’ feet. After sharing a meal, he leaves his followers the commandment to love one another and calls them friends. Then on Good Friday, the Empire of Caesar strikes back in the only way it can with violence. The temple police came to Jesus then hand him over to Caesar’s man, Pontius Pilate. Love is tortured and executed as a common criminal to display to the people the weakness of love as compared to the way of the sword. The Son of the God of Violence strikes love down then strings up love for the world to understand who holds the real power. All Jesus offers in his moment of torment is forgiveness and love. And it was enough. For on Easter, he rises again. Love rises again. We killed off love, but love returns to offer forgiveness. Power of life and love will not be killed.

What do we Christians have to offer the world? At the beginning of the 19th century, Immanuel Kant destroyed the rational proofs of God, and then offered his own proof, new one, the moral argument for the existence of God. We needed God to be good. Kant changed God from Father to God the Cosmic Cop. A cop keeps the peace by the threat of violence much like Caesar’s legions. The church followed Kant and now offers itself as the source of morality. Many preach “behave or else.” This is historically novel and an error.

The stoics offered an atheistic morality concurrent with Early Christianity, and the church did not differentiate itself by offering a better morality. It offered love and forgiveness. And it grew. The American church today offers morality and it is in decline. The early church recognized that the stoics did give a moral compass, but what it didn’t give was life and a life animated by love. If we just say the church is about morality or making people play nice, then we lose the life giving aspect of following Jesus. Jesus offers himself in love and forgiveness. Know this, even if we crucify Jesus on a cross of morality, rationality or any other cross, he will again rise as love always rises in the face of violence. For God offers love, for God is love.

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