“But you can have a heart full of forgiveness, full to the brim, ready to overflow the moment repentance appears. Until that happens, there is no forgiveness. We need to distinguish forgiveness in principle and forgiveness accomplished” (For a Glory and a Covering, p. 95).
Have 'Em Delivered
Write to the Editor
So, we hold back “actual” forgiveness… until the person “earns” it by asking for it… what if judge his “asking” as insincere or redundant as he or she has asked already 70 times… if forgiveness truly and only possible if repentance or request are the precondition? Honestly, I mean this, because I used to believe that… but it doesn’t work… not in the real world… or at least not for long… its not the way of Christ or his martyric disciples… Besides, wouldn’t that make forgiveness “earnable” in some sense and less scandalous than it really is? Does that make… Read more »
if our forgiveness is dependent on our capacity to forgive others… and it is… then in theory, an unrepentant person could hold our “forgiveness” captive by not asking for forgiveness in a spirit of repentance.
i do realize God is not that petty… but i can’t help but wonder why our theology of forgiveness often is so self rewarding in what it demands as preconditions from others.
before I say any more, let me say that the book he is quoting from is AWESOME… of the best out there on the practical aspects of living day to day in married life – I truly love that book… that said, it does fall short here and there : ) as do the rest of us…
In response to a “sincere inquiry,” the way I said this in Unpacking Forgiveness is that we “wrap the package.” It is up to the other party to receive the gift.
As I have posted, a therapeutic / unconditional approach to forgiveness is problematic, see http://www.chrisbrauns.com/2012/06/5-problems-unconditional-forgiveness/
The very first word that Jesus preached was, “Repent” (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14). Why don’t people who claim to love Jesus know this?
Elise, with SO many other ways to emulate Christ, why would we chose to camp out and withhold such a grace and “imitate” God in *that* regard?!?!?! With that as your focus – assuming your sense of right and wrong, perfectly align, perhaps one ought to look to your divorcements for clearly you have the clarity of Christ and the righteous there in to call sinners to repentance (especially those that sin against you?). Why not imitate Christ at the END of his life, being murdered mind you, crying to the Father to forgive them – even though his murders… Read more »
Chris, I was underwhelmed with your book… seemed very American… very hmmm how shall I say this… something that would slave the consciences of those of us who want to withhold even just a little something. The minute we can find a reason NOT to forgive, is the minute we have found a loop hole in the gospel. So many other resources that I have found closer to radical nature of the Gospel I read about in the gospels… But you’d probably bracket them out as liberal or charasmatic or (eastern) orthodox, or silly… must be nice to experience the… Read more »
salve not slave
Bless My Enemies O Lord by Nikolai Velimirovich Nikolai Velimirovich was a Serbian bishop in the last century who spoke out courageously against Nazism until he was arrested and taken to Dachau. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world. Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds… Read more »
I think folks are misunderstanding what Doug is saying here. He’s not saying we should withhold anything at all. He’s saying that forgiveness is a particular transaction, a transaction that has, as it’s end, a full restoration of fellowship between the offender and offended. The offended can be full of forgiveness, tell the offender they are forgiven, resolve to never bring up the offense again, and move on in life never thinking about, considering, or harboring the offense in their heart again. But forgiveness still hasn’t taken place. It takes two people for forgiveness to occur, and no matter how… Read more »
Rick (and Doug, potentially)
so then when I think I am forgiving, say, the guy who just cut me off in traffic, what is it, in your view, that has actually taken place? Is it like “pretend forgiveness”? Am I simply being bullied? If it’s not “objective forgiveness”, then what is it?
I suppose another way to ask the same question would be “when does God forgive my sins?” After I repent of them? Rather, is not my repentance the result of his deciding to apply Jesus’ blood to my account, and thus secondary?
Forgiveness only needs to occur when there has been an offense. Love covers a multitude of sins. If someone cuts you off in traffic, your response should be, “Eh, no big deal.” They don’t need to seek forgiveness and you don’t need to give it because no offense has occurred for which forgiveness is necessary. If your neighbor kills your dog with rat poison though… You can offer him forgiveness all you want, but until he admits he was wrong to do it, it’s going to be really awkward having him over for dinner. There is some break in the… Read more »
Again, Rick, your missing the point… awkward contexts aren’t the test or the standard of forgiveness… We are called to bear that awkwardness… and those little cut offs in traffic… well, some people have died over them… I am sad you haven’t, or aren’t willing, to experience the full radical nature of Christ’s forgiveness… believe me my friend, many things you have done that he bears and you have yet to confess… same goes I dare say for many of your loved ones. In all, I think you are missing the profundity of Nikolai’s prayer above. And again, if we… Read more »
@ a sincere inquiry
Is Satan forgiven?
If not, is it because God is unwilling to forgive him?
Could Satan be forgiven? Will he be? Such questions are silly and dumb and expose ignorance and immaturity… Can God make a rock so big and heavy that he can’t lift it? Hmmmmm…. OH MY! You’e got me. God is bigger than your tightly wound “logic” and he certainly exceeds your mentally challenged thought experiments. At some level, I believe he has been, the fact that he is permitted in the presence of God (in Job) says something… or was/is that just “really awkward”…. but yet must endure the consequences of his actions. Don’t get me wrong. Forgiveness doesn’t act… Read more »
Let me answer the questions I posed and explain. Q. Is Satan forgiven? A. No (Rev. 20:10) No need to speculate on that. It’s pretty clear. Q. Is it because God is unwilling to forgive him? A. Admittedly this is a lot more speculative, but I think the answer is, “no.” If Satan were willing to repent, even he could be forgiven. However, he will never repent, and so never receive forgiveness. Repentance is necessary for forgiveness (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19). Romans 4:6-12 says that this forgiveness comes as a result of faith, so repentance for sins is part of… Read more »
I stand in awe of you… Your showing off really impressed me. I will now stop freely forgiving… instead I will withhold forgiveness UNTIL anyone and everyone repent. I will start living a life more petty and exacting justice at every turn. I now no longer hope that when Christ says he makes all things new – that is renews EVERYTHING – that that really doesn’t mean ALL. Silly me. And this is the first place I will start emulating God… in exacting justice… not in walking the way of the Cross, not in dying to self or the wants… Read more »
I didn’t realize that reasoning from the Scriptures was such a supercilious activity. In that case, I take heart that at least I didn’t sink to the depths of a Calvin, Aquinas or Anselm. For my next trick I think I might explain the use of Red Herrings, including the ever popular Ad Hominem, Imputing Motives to Others, and Straw Man Arguments. Or perhaps I’ll simply tip my hat to you, sincere inquirer, and suggest that you grab a nice cold beer and put on some Miles Davis. You’ll feel your blood pressure dropping, your indignation dissipating, and a growing… Read more »
Again, you stand on the shoulders of Giants, I am silenced by your greatness. I will bow out now. You win. Another notch in your belt. Good job. Especially since no logical facilities were committed in your comments. You should add Gordon Clark to your list… Again though, from down hear, I can’t see to clearly. I’ll go lick my wounds of all the faults I have committed in my reasoning and against you. Should I, or do I need to ask for your forgiveness though? I don’t want my passive aggressive satire to be a reason that “by necessary… Read more »
P’shaw. From where I stand, a bit of banter between chaps shouldn’t be something that needs forgiven on either side. Hope you have a good evening.
Did you ever get that beer by the way? If you’re ever in Lynchburg and want to theologize over an ale, look me up.