I am writing with reference to Rabbi Brad Bloom's May 11 column. He articulates the serious, very personal process of repentance that is familiar to many people of both his tradition and my Christian faith.
Anyone who has gone through that process, whether a public figure or private citizen, knows well the need to be honest before God, to admit the sin and ask forgiveness of both God and the people wronged and to amend one's life going forward. David, in Psalm 51, describes the process and the joy of receiving God's forgiveness with both honesty and eloquence. True repentance is both a humbling experience and a cleansing and joyous one, and as those in both our traditions know, it is not to be taken lightly.
Christians believe in the grace of God, expressed in the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. Through his taking the penalty of death for our sin upon himself, we can be forgiven through God's grace and live to serve him. The availability of that grace cost Jesus his life; that grace is very meaningful to us and not to be taken lightly. As the apostle Paul says, "It is by grace that we are saved."
But when it is taken lightly and restoration is too quick and without the demonstration of a changed life, it looks like the American failing of seeking the "quick fix" and a far cry from true repentance. Thank you, Rabbi, for clarifying the truth for us all.
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