The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson
Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).
When you meet your maker, he will know all that you have said and done, and what was in your heart, and judge you accordingly and forgive you as appropriate. The truth of God’s forgiveness is in two tales from the Bible; 1) The New Testament Tale of Saul of Tarsus, and 2) The Old Testament Tale of David and Bathsheba, as follows:
For those of the Christian faith the Tale of Saul of Tarsus is apropos. Saul was a devout Jew who lived during the times of the teaching of Christ and his disciples, and after the death of Christ. Saul was also a Roman tax collector. Roman tax collectors were some of the most feared and despised people in the Roman Empire. This was because a tax collector had ultimate authority on what you owed the Roman Empire. A tax collector could come to your village, determine what he thought you owed, seize possessions as payment, sometimes seize your house and sell it as payment, they could banish you if they thought you were a cheat, and even sometimes have you whipped or executed. Saul thought he was protecting the Jewish people from the Roman Empire by making sure the proper amounts of taxes were collected. Saul was an evil man who thought he was doing good for his people.
Saul was responsible for collecting taxes in northern Israel and southern Syria. During his travels, he came across groups of Jewish people who were practicing the principles of Jesus Christ. Saul thought that this was blasphemous, and he became determined to stamp out Christianity whenever he encountered it. He utilized his power as a Roman tax collector to seize all the possessions of Christians and then have them banished. In some cases, he had them whipped or executed. His reputation spread throughout Israel, and especially amongst Christians, of a man to be feared and avoided.
One day Saul heard of a group of Christians who are practicing in a Syrian village. He determined to stamp out these Christians and proceeded to travel to their village of Damascus. Along the way to Damascus, a great storm grew, black clouds covered the sky, and thunder and lightning were everywhere. As the people of that time had no scientific knowledge of the nature of storms, they often attributed them to the anger of God. Saul was greatly afraid of the storm, and thought that he had angered God, and prayed to God to save and forgive him. The storm subsided, and the black clouds parted with a great ray of light, and Saul had a vision of God sitting on his throne, with Jesus Christ at his side. Then Saul heard God speak to him, saying, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute my people. They only wish to love me through my son Jesus Christ." The storm then departed from the sky to reveal a clear and beautiful day. After hearing and seeing this, Saul became greatly troubled and decided he needed to learn more about the teachings of Jesus Christ. Rather than go to Damascus, he proceeded to Jerusalem. There he found Joseph, the brother of Christ, and a group of Christians praying in congregation. He identified himself to them and told them that God had spoken to him, and he wishes to learn more about the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Christians present were very fearful, as they were concerned that Saul was trying to trick them into revealing the names of the believers so that he could persecute them.
They argued amongst themselves as to whether they should admit Saul or turn him away. Joseph reminded them of the teachings of Christ to love one another as themselves and to forgive those as they would ask forgiveness for themselves. It was decided to allow Saul into the congregation. Saul spent the next several months learning the teachings of Jesus Christ and became a Christian and was baptized into the Church of Christ. He then decided that he wanted to preach the word of Jesus Christ but knew he could not do so as Saul of Tarsus, as people would be fearful and not listen to him, or even flee from his presence. He, therefore, changed his name to Paul, who we now refer to as Paul the Apostle, a founder of the Christian religion, and the namesake of St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in Rome.
In Paul's teachings of the words of Jesus Christ throughout the Roman world, he was often approached by many who confess their sins and great misdeeds, if not evils, asking how they could be forgiven for their acts. Paul reminded them that the teachings of Jesus Christ preach that God was a loving and forgiving God. He would tell them his own story, and then he told them if God could forgive such an evil person as he was, and not only forgive him but make him a leader of the teachings of Jesus Christ, he could forgive them their sins. You only needed to sincerely repent, make amends as possible for your sins, and live a good moral life from that point forward, and God could forgive you. He also reminded them of the Old Testament, saying, "For the judgments of the Lord are true and just". When they meet their maker after their death, God will know what is truly in their heart, and forgive them, or punish them, as is true and just.
For those of the Jewish faith, I would remind you of the story of David and Bathsheba. The IMDB storyline from of the movie “David and Bathsheba (1951) is a good synopsis of this tale:
Though David has all the wealth, power, wives & children inherent for the King of Israel, he does not have what he craves most: the true love of a woman who loves him as a man instead of as King. He is attracted to Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers who is more devoted to army duty than to his wife. David & Bathsheba succumb to their feelings. Their affair, her resulting pregnancy, & David's resolve to have her husband killed so Bathsheba will be free to marry, bring the wrath of God upon the kingdom. David must rediscover his faith in God in order to save Bathsheba from death by stoning, his kingdom from drought & famine, & himself from his many sins. Written by E.W. DesMarais.
David grievously sinned, while Bathsheba was a sinner, and their sins were of a multitude of transgressions against The Ten Commandments. When David and Bathsheba realized the full extent of their sins, they repented and asked for the forgiveness of God. God, in his mercy, granted this forgiveness and absolved them from their sins. Henceforth, David and Bathsheba lived a moral and ethical life, according to The Ten Commandments. God forgave David and Bathsheba, and they were able to live a peaceful life after their repentance and God’s forgiveness.
I relate these tales for you so that those of you who may have sinned, have committed misdeeds in which you are greatly pained, or done evil, that if you repent and lead a good life forward, you can be forgiven by God. If you should repent and live a good moral life, thereafter, you should also forgive yourself, as you hope that God will forgive you will not be pained by what you have done in the past. You should also remember one of my “Truisms”:
"Just because you have committed an
unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act, and upon reflection
determine that it is an unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise
act, does not preclude you from speaking out against others
committing that unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act. It
does not make you a hypocrite, it makes you repentant."
- Mark Dawson