Many sentiments can be found out in Christian writing with regards to the subject of forgiveness; some of them are quite fine, and (hopefully) Scripture needs no introduction on the matter.

I feel the need, however–a huge need–to speak on matters distinctly missing on the subject of forgiveness due to the lack of sincerity of Christian culture.

I’ve shared my weaknesses, hurts and grievances to other believers. There’s a huge, huge difference between the interactions you’ll get when speaking about such personal matters with close friends who are truly (at least somewhat) in your life and then those who are playing their Christian charades. My experience with the latter is, they love–just love–to jump on top of you and give a wishy-washy, high-handed, canned, and possibly brow-beating lecture on how you need to forgive the person; not a speck of interest in the matter at hand that actually needs forgiving, let’s get back to the Sunday morning charades in the spectacle of singing and sitting uninterrupted by anything actually going on in the Body of Christ–which is meant to thoroughly take care of itself as the body does, and function and move like the body does.

Someone who actually cares about you, however, shows compassion. Your hurt is their hurt. They bear with you. When you’re with such a person, you know that you matter; and consequently, you know that it matters when you are hurt. You know that a sin committed against you is a big deal.

Now, which one of those is Christ? Does he command us to forgive? Of course, but he’s also the friend who loves you, as he made you and died for you. He cares about sins against you because a precious life was done harm, and sin–including the sin committed against you–is the reason why he’s coming back ready to burn the world in judgment.

Consider when we ask God for forgiveness. We are commanded to confess our sins (1 John 1:9); when we ask for forgiveness, we embrace the knowledge of the sheer harm that our sin has done. Otherwise, what is it that we are asking God to forgive?

In the exact same way, there is an important step of forgiveness that is missing in virtually every discussion of forgiveness I’ve ever encountered: a full appreciation for the debt–against YOU–that you need to forgive. When someone is not afforded any notion of justice for the harm done to him, that proclaims that he is worthless, that harm done to him doesn’t matter. How, then, will such a person forgive if no one is really in his debt but he’s simply made to be abused and sinned against?

Jesus’ golden rule was, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) So furthermore, If you’ve internalized this idea (even unconsciously) that you’re intended just to be kicked around and that nothing is wrong with the sin against you, what will stop you from passing that on to other people as well? The core matter is that we understand injustice itself, whether it’s against us or others, which is all ultimately sin against God’s law.

I’m saying, justice precedes mercy. You cannot skip that step. The Old Testament to the New Testament was a long process of God showing us our SHEER sin by way of judgment that results from the law. It’s a big, BIG deal–Paul discusses this in Romans. It is NOT a step you can skip, to preach the covenant of mercy without the judgment that needs to be forgiven. The entirety of the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament (“Testament” meaning covenant) entails a rigorous exploration of the sin and harm that mankind has done, and THEN–not before, but after–are we introduced to the way of mercy.

ALL of this plays out in our process of forgiving others. And it’s a step that Christianity tends to be eager to skip in its fondness of charades. Harm is done against you, and that harm really–REALLY–matters. Once we’ve established that, Jesus commands us to rebuke the wrongdoer.

I repeat: Jesus commands us to rebuke the wrongdoer if at all possible.

Matthew 18:15

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Notice the second half of this passage, because it is very important. It speaks to the relationship status to the person. IF–and right now, I wish the word “if” had about ten more letters so I could embolden it across the page, but I’ll say it again, IF–he listens to you, the relationship is restored

Here’s the word “if” again, out of the mouth of Christ, for repentance being a prerequisite for forgiveness for a sin against you:

Luke 17:2-3

 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

If he never listens?

Matthew 18:17

And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

The relationship is totally broken (recall verse 15: if he repents, you have “gained your brother” and the relationship is restored). Are we commanded to hate the unrepentant person? Not at all. We still love with tolerance and patience, desiring the good of the person (who, if guilty of sin, will need to repent for his own sake). But the relationship status is broken. We are not to play games, pretending that “everything is okay, we’re still brothers,” because we’re not. We have to be clear that the sin is intolerable, even as we maintain love for the person himself.

(Furthermore, sometimes some sins have a tough road to repentance in full due to incomplete understanding and we are commanded to bear with each other in love in this learning process, just as God shows us compassion as we develop and learn ourselves, Romans 2:4)

We are NEVER commanded to be bitter or hateful. The forgiveness of the heart (Mark 11:25) means saying that we know we are owed a debt and accepting that we’ll never get back what we are duly owed for injustice and be at peace with it. Respond, rather, in love. We have our rich Father in Heaven who has unlimited love for us, easily compensating for every injustice committed against us with those riches–we can take the hit, hard as it may feel. 😉

Those are, of course, the same means by which God is able to forgive us–He absorbed the damage. It’s not “hard” for God to endure the sin, but it did have to be repaid to Himself by the blood of His Son.

But I want to speak to today’s culture, which glosses over the matter of justice in the matter of forgiveness. And why do they do it? I suspect the answer can be hinted at with the apparent–and virtually ubiquitous–ignoring of Scriptures for how to deal with injustices between believers.

In Jesus’ words above, I skipped a verse knowingly. Let’s get it right this time:

Matthew 18:15-17

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Sins committed against YOU are a big, BIG deal!

They’re supposed to be a big deal to the entire church. It’s not the church’s job just to jump on you with a forgiveness lecture. It’s the church’s job to get its hands dirty, get involved, and get to the bottom of the problem. Somehow I feel it’s important to repeat, the church is full of “works in progress” and sometimes repentance can be a little difficult due to a struggle with wisdom, again, just as God bears with us as we make a serious effort to repent to the fullest before Him while He patiently teaches us.

How much do today’s “churches” drop the ball in this regard? Try quoting the following command from Scripture on the subject of grievances between believers to your local “pastor” and see if he looks at you like you’re from another planet:

1 Corinthians 6:4-5

So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

Can it be that no one among us is wise enough to settle disputes between brothers, and all anyone knows how to do is brow-beat about forgiveness so we can go on happily as if nothing happened?

I’m not counting on the church to shape up anytime soon, but if we’re interested in matters of our own hearts, my summary and conclusion about forgiveness is, let’s make sure we take the steps of fully understanding the seriousness of wrong done to US when we are sinned against, the reality of the debt, and how much we matter and the damage matters. Meditate on this. Once that is established, oh yes, let us forgive joyously because our Father makes it all up to us.

Christian MGTOW? Some of My Reactions . . . 

My writing here, on this blog, represents getting a lot of my thoughts down on the matter of men’s personal fulfillment. Christian mainstream culture is darkly polluted with misandry: a constant railing against men for their duties and responsibilities without an element of compassion with regard to the actual situations of men. Men are human, and that means two things for the sake of the discussion: we have the same innate value as women, and we can’t function without being taken care of as such (whether we do so on our own or with help).

To answer the question of the article’s title, I would say “almost.” Defining MGTOW is something of a paradox, because it has no definition except that a man MAKES his own definition for the course of his life, after identifying a misandric culture which means to use and exploit him. That said, there are a number of tendencies that I feel can be addressed.
First, I’ll speak about my disagreements with the MGTOW approach, if they are in fact real disagreements. The end goal of a man should include a give-and-take relationship with the Body of Christ which currently makes a habit of ignoring men’s issues, and is thus simply not a viable option for a man currently; my advice is to keep that at a safe distance and keep your guard up. “Christian” culture must get the message, in my opinion, that wanting things from men is fine–in fact, complaining about men is fine–but not without some serious legwork on the part of those who want to reap from men, that “love your neighbor as yourself” stuff.
In terms of men, they sow with their effort sparingly, and fail to realize that they ought to expect to reap sparingly. (2 Corinthians 9:6) But all they know how to do, for the most part, is to keep on complaining about what men do or don’t do, slog on the “duty” and “responsibility.” Such entities deserve nothing from men and can expect not to receive anything, not because men ought to outright spite others–do not hear me wrong–but because we need to take care of ourselves so as to be capable of having something to offer. The Body of Christ was meant to interact with and take care of itself, or it cannot expect its members to function.
So I agree with the necessity of MGTOW. We are called to be free, to be loved, and to give generously. Another phrase going around out there is “men on strike,” which I also feel is misleading, because in all reality, it’s the mainstream society that went on strike on men first. The proposed scenarios–not the least of which being the unacceptable legal/societal/cultural conditions for marriage–for men are simply no longer even doable. But again, my end goal is to see a restored, healthy interaction between people. Perhaps other MGTOWs believe similarly, but I am not so clear on this point.
Another matter is the MGTOW approach to women. Where I agree is that men must–absolutely must–know how to preserve themselves from women in a world fixated on protecting women from men but has very little interest on protecting men from women; in today’s society it is simply too easy for a man to become an abandoned victim of a woman (investigate Men’s Rights resources for a LONG run-down of how that happens). Effectively, we have men white-knighting Jezebels and slaughtering one another, among other problems. This matter is the doing of the mainstream–that is to say, men and women both–but I believe the exceptionally rare case of a woman who demonstrates fully capable of recognizing a man’s equal personhood ought to be recognized and SUPPORTED by men. A woman who is demonstrably on the same side as men? Precious–and no, for the ignorant, being married to a man is not automatic proof. But I believe if the MGTOW movement wants to be thoroughly credible, part of its modus operandi ought to be supporting such women. Men must make room for them, rare as they may be, in the discussion with full appreciation.
Dear MGTOWs: friendly fire upon women who actually have compassion for men as equally human is absolutely the worst. They too are precious human beings with value unto themselves, and have much to offer the world, just as men, should they so choose. To me, the institution of marriage (that is, of the 21st century) is unsafe because of the legal and cultural context, but that is not the fault of the woman who desires to be part of a solution and not part of the problem and she does NOT deserve to be a casualty of MGTOW. Negative effects on her are every bit as unacceptable as negative effects on men. Men can demonstrate support of such women and that can be a huge factor in its success in changing our greater culture.
Oh, and then there are the PUAs. Misguided to say the least, PUAs are the opposite of self-respecting, degrading their bodies on sexual immorality. MGTOW PUAs are of course cynical in women’s abilities to offer a loving relationship, but they go after sexuality alone. The nature of lust, people, is idolatry, which means saying “come to life” to that which does not have life on its own: if a woman does not love you, but you think her body can, then it’s only your vain imagination at work saying “come to life” to her body in your heart. If a woman truly does not love you, such as a prostitute (see Proverbs 6:26) then you REALLY degrade yourself by being reduced to a “piece of bread.” You sin against your body (1 Corinthians 6:18), by joining it with that which does not love you. Women are not “prizes,” but can potentially offer loving relationships or people involved in sexual immorality are simply reducing themselves to objects.
MGTOW is what we had coming. And frankly, for the most part it’s an absolutely necessary movement provided that it takes productive steps forward. Men are achieving what the mainstream does not want them to achieve: self-awareness, a recognition for their value as individuals and the futility of our current culture that wants to take from men without paying attention to their needs. Men are becoming aware and, as I titled this blog: “self-defensive.”

To the Man Who Tries: You are not a “Fraud”

As I say under “purposes,” I hate most men’s (so-called) “ministries.” They place notions of duty and expectations upon men without compassion–that is, a thorough investigation of their real, actual situations so as to offer an actually pertinent ministry.
I have heard that it’s supposed to be a typical male angst to wonder whether he’s either “good enough” or a “fraud.” And I’ve been horrified to see that reinforced within Christian culture.

I’ve seen ministry to men enforce this. I’ve often wondered, with all of the alarm in the world about men’s sexual struggles, why I never hear anyone quote Proverbs 6:26:For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.

In both the first and second parts of this verse, men (and women in equivalent situations, no doubt) are essentially alerted to the illusion of one who loves you, when in reality the prostitute sees you as an object–a loaf of bread–and the wayward wife seeks to destroy you. It is an excellent motivator for men to avoid sexual immorality, along with the teaching that our bodies are sacred temples to be treated with reverence (hence Paul points out the atrocity of defiling that temple with a prostitute in 1 Corinthians 6:15).

I wonder no more: because the culture is actively TRYING to reduce men to pieces of bread; trying to convince them that men’s character is correlated to their material output.

Where was the wrath of God on Lazarus the beggar, and where was God’s approval of the rich man? (Luke 12:19-31) 
Where was God’s approval of the one who was blessed with reward for his labor and stored up what he had? (Luke 12:16-21)
Luke 12:15:”life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
1 Timothy 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. (James 1:9-10)

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

What in Scripture tells you that you ought to feel like a fraud for a lack of success? These sorts of passages could go on for pages. In today’s world, about 50% of recent college graduates cannot find full-time work; the AVERAGE salary for a man today in the United States is $32,000. It’s a frustrating situation, a figure that absolutely ensures that a very small proportion of men could possibly be a sole-income earner for their families, whether they want the situation or not. But why not just go to the injured and lay insult upon insult? Men are just always there to be society’s punching bags.

Moreover, men must struggle against the works of feminism which strictly examine comparisons between the successes of male and female, and women (real or fabricated) performing at less than men means deliberate, manipulative, tax-payer funded efforts in schools, job quotas, and propaganda to force the results to be “equal”; as surely as feminism is funded by taxdollars, they represent the attitude of the majority: men’s success is, somehow, simultaneously demanded yet not wanted.

My conclusion, simply, is to ignore the hatred, serve the Lord who loves you. If you’re struggling to be successful, forget the complaints of those who do nothing but complain about men. And think about this: if you ARE successful, are you observing 1 Timothy 6:17, or listening to the approval of the loveless? If we serve the Lord with our whole hearts neither bank accounts or others’ opinions can make us “frauds.”