Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thoughtful About . . . Indulgence and Forgiveness

I got up this morning and realized it was Thursday. Time to get thoughtful. I opened my blog. Drew up a clean post. And sat. Staring. Waiting for inspiration to strike. Sometimes I know days or weeks in advance what I want to write about on Thursdays. Sometimes I even have my posts written on Sundays.

Today . . . not so much. =)

So I opened up my next project--editing Giver of Wonders, which will release November 1. And I started to read.

In chapter 2, a single line jumped out at me.

“Forgive me, my love.” But his tone asked for indulgence, not forgiveness.

I know I wrote those words, but I frankly didn't remember them. As I read them, though . . . it's a commentary, isn't it, on our culture today? It's a commentary, too often, on our churches. On our very lives.

I decided to hop over to the dictionary to see what the technical differences are.

1. the act or practice of indulging; gratification of desire.
2. the state of being indulgent.
3. indulgent allowance or tolerance.
4. a catering to someone's mood or whim; humoring:
5. something indulged in
6. Roman Catholic Church. a partial remission of the temporal punishment, especially purgatorial atonement, that is still due for a sin or sins after absolution.

the state or act of:
1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
3. to grant pardon to (a person).
4. to cease to feel resentment against:
5. to cancel an indebtedness or liability of 
 Some of the same words are used in those definitions, it's true. But there are some vital differences, aren't there? Indulgence is giving in to a person; forgiveness is giving up the account of their wrong.

Indulgence is saying "It's okay that you sin." or "It's not a sin."
Forgiveness is saying, "You sinned. But the account has been paid."

We live in a very "tolerant" society, which means one that makes an art of indulgence. Funny, isn't it, how that renders forgiveness, too often, powerless? Because if people have been told all their lives that it's okay, that it's not wrong, that we're entitled to live our lives as we see fit so long as we don't hurt anyone else . . . then how can they value the forgiveness of those sins they've been taught aren't sins?

One of the greatest gifts ever given to man--cheapened. Our society has filled up on the junk food of indulgence, and now we don't have the stomach for the real feast: forgiveness. We've embraced the look of a shirt with stains rather than taking the time and putting out the effort to scrub them clean.

Just one little line from a scene I added in at the last minute when wrapping up my first draft--but I'm going to be pondering that one . . . and wondering where, in my life, in my world, I'm substituting indulgence when really I ought to be doing the hard work and forgiving--or seeking forgiveness.


  1. So true! Thank you Roseanna for this very thought provoking post! Hopefully we'll learn the difference between indulgence and forgiveness,choosing forgiveness as the more important!

  2. That's excellent insight! I'm going to be pondering this one, too!