Friday, May 10, 2013

Fr Georges Massouh on the Unforgivable Sin

Arabic original here.

Do Not Forgive Them, For They Know What They Do...

Christ the Lord forgave those who scourged and crucified Him. As He was nailed upon the cross, at the apex of His agonizing passion, He turned to God the Father and said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Indeed, they did not realize that their crime was not only that they were killing an innocent man, but that they were doing it in God's name. Despite this, Christ forgave them their double sin, against Him and against God.

The obvious question, however, is: would Christ have asked the Father what He asked had another been hanginging on the cross? We believe that Christ would have acted differently, rising up against them and condemning them.

Did He not condemn the scribes and Pharisees? "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth" (Matthew 23: 33-35).

Christ forgave those who crucified Him without knowing what they were committing, but He Himself, when He spoke to His disciples on the night before His crucifixion about what would happen to them after His ascension to heaven said, "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you... If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin" (John 15:20-22). As for the sin that cannot be forgiven, it is killing in God's name: "They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God worship" (John 16:2).

Christ asserts that there is a sin that is not forgiven "neither in this life nor in the life to come," the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: " every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him" (Matthew 12: 31-32). What is meant by blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? It is to say of the Spirit of holiness that it is an evil spirit, and of the spirit of evil that it is a divine spirit.

It is interesting that Christ forgives those who commit a sin against Him and thus forgives His crucifiers. However, at the same time He warns those listening to Him against the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the sin of calling evil good and good evil.

There is nothing more horrible than the sin of those who, in God's name kill, commit massacres, and expel people from their homes... And God, here, is not necessarily only the god of any of the religions. He may also be a human whose followers have raised him to the rank of the gods, calling a god an emperor, sultan, king, or president...

They know the crimes that they are committing. They insist on persisting in their transgression, tyranny, and oppression. They are premeditatively crucifying an entire people: elderly, men, women, children, old and young.

They are doing evil and consider it good. They are carrying out the will of Satan and attribute it to God. "They have no excuse for their sin."

Until when, O Lord, until when?

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