Can I interpret The Bible in an original way, never join any church or sect, and still call myself a Christian?

Great reply. I know what you're saying. I do have a simple interpretation. I didn't say it has been simple to live this simple interp. It has made life simpler, but these past 4+ decades has been a journey, and I've struggled at times, but I've discovered things along the way that have opened parts of my brain in a pandoras box kind of way. I haven't been able to close them again.

What I've discovered is that forgiveness is not something I give to someone. It's not a pass for their behavior or actions. It's realizing that the behavior and actions of others that have hurt me are in the past, and that it is me that is holding on to a memory. The memory pops up, and I feel the emotion tied to it (i.e. anger, fear, sadness). Forgiveness is letting go of the memory. The level of trauma caused by their actions on my mind will determine the amount of work I have to do in letting go until there is no emotional charge.

Once I have forgiven, this does not mean I have condoned their behavior, nor does it mean I have to hang out with the person ever again. There is something called learning. And you know what that is. I've forgiven, but I've learned about the person. I can still hold love for them, but I can choose whether or not to be with them. Once I earned how I held on to things, I was able to love, because it's always a matter of whether or not I'm going to hang on to the past. And in many situations that used to bother me, I've ben able to let go almost immediately, or they don't bother me. It's very hard to insult me, because I hear it, then move on to the ext thing I hear. No emotional charge.

Actions never have to be condoned, if you choose. There are people in ISIS that condone such behavior. They say it's the will of Allah. The reports about their actions are horrible. The challenge as a Christian is if you can still have love and compassion for them as human beings, while not condoning what they do. It's extremely difficult, until you learn what forgiveness really is. Then the love sort of just hangs out inside of you. You just kind of love and have compassion for everyone, even if they suck.

Grief still happens, though. When someone with whom I'm intimate (Friends, family) dies, I feel terrible grief for a period. It eventually passes. Working through it is not unlike the process of forgiveness. You learn to have the memories without the sadness.

/r/Christianity Thread