I woke up this morning thinking about how in most cases failure isn’t fatal. Unless you take yourself out of the game. Unless you bench yourself. Unless you let shame and pride keep you from the mercies most don’t even need to think twice to extend. Because bumbling as they can be, people love you. Their acceptance of you wasn’t ever based on thinking you were perfect.
But somehow then the verse about blaspheming the Holy Spirit came to mind. Probably because that story is commonly labeled by men in your Bibles as the one unpardonable sin.
So am I wrong? Is that a failure that is fatal?
And what does that even mean? Blaspheming the Holy Spirit? I’ve never felt like I understood what that meant.
Lots to unpack.
So I started thinking about the word “blaspheming”. What does that word mean?
I used to think it meant taking God’s name in vain. Like saying, “God damn it” or “Oh my God!” But now I don’t think it’s that trite. Although maybe in damning people we find a clue to the greater truth.
As I now believe that adultery is actually believing something different about yourself than what God believes about you.
Coupled with the verse about it would be better to drown in the ocean than lead any little ones astray… maybe blaspheming really means to say something so false about God or another that it would cause someone to turn away from Trinity, themselves, or others most likely out of false fear that we induce?
Could that be it? But it seems like there is more to it. Why couple specifically Holy Spirit with blasphemy?
Maybe the key is in the rest of the reference. Where Jesus said that if you blaspheme Holy Spirit then you will not be forgiven. Hmmm, what does that mean?
I no longer believe in a Father who eternally literally barbeques His kids if they mess up even one time. I’m settled on that.
I also no longer believe in a Creator who punishes in the sense of arbitrarily causing pain as retribution for missteps.
But I do now believe in a Father who is not content to let us continue in any separation. For OUR sake, not His ego. And in that end will allow us to take on the pain we insist on carrying if doing so will get us to the next stage in our healing.
So how do I reconcile all that with a God who says that if you blaspheme Holy Spirit then you won’t be forgiven? Maybe I don’t understand forgiveness? Maybe I need to also revisit forgiveness in terms of what I now believe?
Because I no longer consider sin a behavior that fails to meet the requirements of some morality laws. I now think of sin chiefly as ignorance. A perception problem versus a behavioral failure. Where you get confused about how to see God, yourself, and others. And then yes, the symptoms that produces can be a whole big host of mess. The repercussions of which will, in the genius of God, ultimately drive you right back around to healing. And thereby wholeness. No reason to fear wrath and judgment when framed in that context.
So if we don’t believe in a God that ever gives up on us, then what does Jesus mean when He said you won’t be forgiven if you blaspheme Holy Spirit?
I think back to The Garden. Where God said that in their dying they would die. I was taught that verse as one of the cornerstones of the hell and punishment arguments. But I now think people read more into it than is actually there. I’ll try to explain.
Think of when a parent tells a child, “Don’t touch the stove or you’ll get burned”. And let’s say the child ignores the parent, touches the stove, and gets burned. Then turns around and says, “My parent burned me.” Understandable coming from their child mind. But incorrect. The parent never burned the child.
I think the same can be said of us and that verse back in Genesis. God tells us that if we forgo Trinity’s direction for a happy life, then we will experience the hells of the ensuing natural consequences of our decisions. Which are themselves still redeeming and healing because they will ultimately drive us back to what we don’t yet realize will best bring us what we sometimes don’t even really know we truly need and want.
But we don’t listen. Because we’re kids. And that’s what kids do. No condemnation.
But we misread it all to think God told us, “If you mess up, I AM going to burn you.” Versus the natural consequences playing themselves out without God’s help. Just like the kid who touches the stove.
Does that make sense?
I only harp on it because maybe this whole time we’ve also been reading wrong what Jesus said about blaspheming Holy Spirit? In that it was maybe incorrectly taught to us that Jesus or God would not forgive us for blaspheming Holy Spirit. When it doesn’t say that at all. At least in the English translation. We imply it, but it’s not said.
So if in Genesis it is sin that will kill us. Not God. Then is it the same in the New Testament with forgiveness? Who or what is doing the un-forgiving? Is it us? Is it others?
And why is it so important specifically with Holy Spirit?
If God doesn’t have a courtroom or a literal eternal barbeque pit that we need to avoid. If God isn’t the one condemning us. If there isn’t a divine punishment to escape, to pardon. Then how should we see forgiveness? And why is it so important?
Especially in terms of blaspheming Holy Spirit?
As my view of the Bible is being healed, thanks in great part to John MacMurray, I am now learning to read it literarily versus literally. So I see The Garden back in Genesis as a metaphor maybe of our minds. Although I am open to it also being something that happened literally. But even then more on purpose as a picture for us.
And then also God has been showing me time and time again that the purpose of the Bible, which I now refer to as an invitation to relationship, is to chiefly tell us about Trinity and our relationship to Them, ourselves, and each other. Versus being used as an accurate historical account of everything contained. Or a rulebook that we should read literally.
So now when I come to these difficult verses, Spirit over and over helps me break out of the old thinking that was ingrained in me. Helps me let go of holding so tightly to what I never questioned before. And revisit each verse with these questions instead: Is this trying to tell me something about how Jesus sees us, how we see God, how we see ourselves, or how we see others? And that’s where the door opens to so much comfort as only Trinity provides. Complete peace in regard to so many Bible verses that used to torture me.
So is it the same with forgiveness? And blaspheming Holy Spirit? Have I been missing the Love in these verses this whole time? Is it actually so much simpler? So much more easy? Than the self-righteous performances we were repeatedly taught to force on ourselves and everyone else?
Holy Spirit, please help me see. Please help us grab hold of all the beautiful Freedoms I sense eagerly awaiting to embrace us on the other side of our breakthroughs about these things. And now, specifically this. For so much more than we were unknowingly taught to settle for in times past.