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A theory about how “redemption” works, in the Christian sense.
I have a theory about how Redemption works, in the Christian sense.
Our lives are a series of actions.
We can picture our actions as dice — lower numbers are worse actions, and high numbers are better ones.
An action is like a dice, in that:
it’s a finite object, but
you can look at it from many different angles.
When we look back on our “life story,” we’re really looking at the sum of our interpretations of our actions — what our actions ultimately mean to us about ourselves. The story they tell us about who we are.
If we believe we’ve done all bad things, we look at all the 1’s facing up and say
“Oy, I did many bad things, I failed to contribute anything good, and my life was meaningless.”
Without redemption, a life of bad actions literally doesn’t add up to much.
I’d guess most people feel more moderately:
“I’ve done some good things, and some bad things, and my life has been kind of meaningful — but not profoundly so.”
The effect of Redemption
When we are Redeemed, God does something specific.
He doesn’t let us go back in time and change what we literally did.
He doesn’t swap out old dice (actions) for new ones.
Instead, he takes those same actions and rotates them — he alters their meaning, so that they add up to the most that they possibly could.
Without changing what we literally did in the past — our life story ends up meaning what it would if we had done the absolute most we could possibly have done, all along.
God wraps our lives in a new frame. When we look back at our redeemed life through God’s eyes, we see “what could have been,” made manifest in what already is.
If you’ve read my spiritual life story, you know my life has been punctuated by profound regret.
Little by little, God is showing me that such regret isn’t necessary, or even accurate — He makes my life such that I don’t need to worry about what could have been. The meaning God gives my life now, makes my past regrets meaningful instead of wasteful.
I’m not saying there’s no need to repent and grieve over our sins — quite the opposite.
But if meanwhile we let God show us their redeemed meaning, perhaps that holy grief need not lapse into human despair.
I’m far from perfect here — to form this theory, I’m extrapolating from brief glimpses at my new Redeemed story. It seems to reveal itself in proportion to my trust in God. Right now, my life story appears to me sort of like this:
Let God do it
Our actions are infinity-sided dice.
We can’t possibly discern all the possible meanings of all our past actions, and then arrange them into a better story without either deceiving ourselves, or aiming too low.
Only God has the wisdom to reinterpret your life for you properly, so don’t try to homebrew this. Let him do it for you.