Judgment and Forgiveness

The Christian Century, April 7, 1999 | Go to article overview

Judgment and Forgiveness


I AGREE WITH most of David Heim's political and legal judgments ("Judging Clinton: The Religious Debate," March 10), but I believe he misunderstood the appeal to love in my book, From the Eye of the Storm. My first concern is with love as spiritual reality, within individuals and in the culture at large. I have felt that in our response to the presidential crisis we were, as a society, defining ourselves. When the president is savaged by judgmental attacks, that has cultural consequences. It leaves the impression that if we can just punish a highly visible sinner enough, that will restore the moral health of the land. I doubt it. Moral recovery must show greater respect for his humanity and, indeed, for the many aspects of his life and character that are quite commendable.

The president's repentance, which bothers Heim and the authors of Judgment Day at the White House, registers the unacceptability of the conduct. Then the question is whether there is a loving way to move on.

Heim speaks of nonjudgmental love as a "flimsy instrument" of analysis. Love certainly requires thoughtfulness in application. But I am bothered when he speaks of "grounding love in moral principles, or in norms of justice or in the practice of virtues." Of course, we must make judgments and uphold justice. But we do not so much ground love in moral principles or norms of justice as we ground the principles and norms in love. Without love, there is no norm or principle or virtue that really matters much. Love is not just a flimsy tool of analysis; it is what keeps all other tools from being flimsy.

Hence even the terms "cheap grace" and "tough love" have to be scrutinized more carefully. How often, when we use the words "cheap grace" dismissively, we imply that there should be no grace at all. And how often when we speak of "tough love" it is all "tough" and no "love." Of course, so much more needs to be said. And yet, the spirit in which we say it really does count. When the spirit of love is present, we can think more lucidly and act more creatively--as the South Africans have done with their ingenious Truth and Reconciliation Commission and as the civil rights movement did in our own country. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Judgment and Forgiveness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.