This is how I understand the difference between Salvation and Redemption from my own life.
When people talk of Salvation — being saved — they mean that they have been made whole again. Anyone who has lost a beloved knows what an injury that is — how fractured they feel — how undeserving.. But anyone who has found love again, that wonderful ‘aha’ moment when they find themselves back in the garden, feels forgiven. It is a humbling sensation. The rediscovery of love lost feels as if you have been found deserving of the opportunity to start again – like being reborn — by some powerful force outside yourself. Indeed, you once told me that in Hebrew, the ‘grace’ inherent to Salvation means ‘to be favoured.’
Everything is whole from the first.
Enlightenment realizes the wholeness still tacit in everything from its beginning.
Redemption is very different. It is not about being made whole again.
Redemption is the impossible mission of rectifying the world process, past, present, future, whilst at the same time giving up any expectation of happiness for yourself.
When you know 100% that you are not innocent is when you enter Hell.
Part of us feels we should not be in Hell. Don’t we have a right to happiness?
You plunge into Hell when, gradually or suddenly, you understand 100%, without a shadow of doubt, without any excuse, that you are not — and never were — innocent.
A rich man can be very generous with his riches, taking care of his workforce, not being mean with healthcare and insurance. He can give to charity, immerse himself in the woe of others, and work tirelessly to put it right. He is doubtless a decent man.
Sooner or later he has to face that his wealth is predicated on the poverty of the very people he is trying to help. Without their want, their grief, he could not be rich in the first place, whether his wealth is earned or inherited. He is simply playing one side of a very old chess game with a very wily player. Make no mistake — this is a terrible understanding.
In Redemption, the heart embraces its complicity in ‘what has gone wrong’, and accepts no one is innocent, most of all itself.
If you accept your complicity, you throw away the whole chess game. When you refuse to play anymore — “he is to blame, I am not to blame”; “I am on the right side, he is on the wrong side” — you cease to play your part in a fantasy of division, and then nothing anyone ever did to you, no matter how harmful or hurtful, has any more weight. It ceases to be of interest because you know you are worse.
The insistence that ‘I am innocent’ is the refusal of our suffering. If we refuse suffering, then we also refuse kindness toward the human tragedy.
We stay in Hell until we are redeemed. Redemption is through Hell. In Hell we rejoin the human race.