TRUE FORGIVENESS


#1

Luke 17:3 Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him…

Clearly Jesus taught here that our forgiveness of a person is conditional on his repentance.

Indeed the very concept of forgiveness implies repentance. When a person sins against us, repents, and we forgive him, the relationship is restored. It’s just as if he had never sinned against us.

What would it mean to forgive an unrepentant person? Does it mean to let go of our ill feelings toward him? If we have ill feelings towards him, we should let go of those feelings, and cease to have them, but that’s NOT forgiveness!

Some people say, “I forgave him, but I’m not going to go out and have dinner with him!” If that is a person’s attitude, he hasn’t forgiven the offender. How would it be if God said to us, “I forgive you, but don’t bother praying to Me, for I won’t listen; I won’t do a thing for you, you vile sinner.” If God said that to you, would you believe yourself to have been forgiven?

True forgiveness implies the restoration of a former good relationship.


Baptize in whose name?
#2

True forgiveness implies the restoration of a former good relationship.
Paidion

That’s the point, it may not. It’s desirable but we can’t control the transgressor’s repentance and what will a lack of forgiveness do to our hearts?


#3

Thank you for replying Steve. You seem to have expressed a common notion of forgiveness. You are right about not carrying a grudge, not looking for revenge and letting it go and giving it over to God. Certainly we should not “stew in our own juices.” If we already feel a resentment, we definitely should let it go. But doing all of these things is not tantamount to forgiving the person in the sense that I am using the word “forgiveness” (and also in the sense that Jesus used the word when He said IF he repents, forgive him." You could do all of the things you suggest, but if he had been your friend, and had not had a change of heart and mind about his actions, you might still not want to communicate with him. But God is not like that in His forgiveness. Before He forgives, He doesn’t carry a grudge or look for revenge, or “stew in His own juices.” And after He forgives, His relationship with you is restored.

Yes, unlike many people who think they have forgiven someone because they have let go of their ill feelings toward that person, when we have sinned against God and repented, He restored the relationship with Him that we once had. It’s the same when we forgive a repentant person. Our relationship with him is restored.

We may have no ill feelings toward a person who had done wrong or offended us. We may bear no grudge (and we shouldn’t). We may have no desire for revenge. But if the person has not repented (had a change of heart and mind about his behaviour), our relationship with him will be different from what it was before his offense. When he has repented and we have forgiven him, our former relationship with him is restored. It will be just as if he had never done us wrong!

Yes, He did. But He didn’t say we must forgive an unrepentant person.


#4

Didn’t Jesus say we must forgive or our Heavenly Father will not forgive us?
Yes, He did. But He didn’t say we must forgive an unrepentant person.
Paidion

Yes that’s true because he didn’t mention repentance at all as a condition one way or the other.


#5

The following words of Jesus surely seems that He indicated repentance as a condition for forgiveness:

Luke 17:3 Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and [size=150]IF[/size] he repents, forgive him.

If repentance wasn’t a condition, why did Jesus include the clause “if he repents”? He could have said, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and then forgive him.”


#6

Don, do you really think that applies to us in 2017? Do you really go by this in your now a day church? :open_mouth:


#7

Luke 17:3 Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and IF he repents, forgive him.

If repentance wasn’t a condition, why did Jesus include the clause “if he repents”? He could have said, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and then forgive him.”

Jesus could have meant repentance deserves forgiveness without making it an absolute condition of a person forgiving another person. As i mentioned before i’m not sure if the method of obtaining forgiveness from God is necessarily the same as between people.


#8

As i mentioned before i’m not sure if the method of obtaining forgiveness from God is necessarily the same as between people.

How about Paul who said that everyone abandoned him but asked God not to hold a charge against them except for Alexander the Coppersmith because he had interfered with the preaching of the gospel and Stephen as he was being stoned to death who asked Jesus not to charge his murderers.
Even David who never held malice against his personal enemies but only against those who opposed God?


#9

I agree, I’m not sure the main point was to teach “forgiveness is always conditional to repentance”. it was to teach that if someone repents we should not turn back their appeal, but restore them. I do think restoration of relationship is always dependent on repentance, because relationship is mutual- but even then, God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

“If you find a brother in a fault, let those who are spiritual among you restore such a one in a spirit of meekness considering your own selves.”

Some people will not forgive those who have done wrong, even after they repent.

“If your brother sins against you 70 x 7, and repents, forgive Him”.

“Forgive them Father they dont kno what they are doing”

Jesus’ appeal was for the Father to forgive these ignorant, unrepentant people.

So I see objective and subjective forgiveness.

Objective forgiveness is that which was given from the beginning, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world…In the beginning the Logos was God…

Surely we know what is is to forgive someone who has not repented- however, if they hav not, it limits the relationship.

Subjective forgiveness is the restoration of the benefits of relationship, because the stumbling block has been removed on both sides.


#10

Well, if we surely know, then it should be easy for you to explain what you believe forgiveness without repentance to be.

Personally, I think it should be called by a different name, since true forgiveness is conditional upon repentance.

However, I am well acquainted with the fact that many people define “forgiveness” differently—not only different from the way I define it, but different from the way others who believe one can forgive without the repentance of the offender. So I can’t make sense of your “surely we know” statement.

Here are three different understandings of forgiveness without repentance that I have encountered, and I know that there are even more.

  1. Forget the offense; let it go.
  2. Let go of your ill feelings toward the offender.
  3. Do not require the offender to “pay” for his offense, or to try to make up for it in any way.

None of these is the Biblical meaning. I still think Jesus’ words indicate that forgiveness is conditional upon repentance. He said, “If your brother sins against you rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” He didn’t add, “And if he doesn’t repent, forgive him anyway.”


#11

Interesting discussion. So with all of you thinking about the nature of forgiveness, let me rekindle the issue of blasphemy against the spirit. Why won’t God forgive a person who commis this? Is it retribution?


#12

Well how about it? Paul and Stephen asked God not to punish those offenses. They truly had a heart for people; even evil people. Jesus also asked us not to seek vengeance, but to do good toward those who hate us, and also to pray for them. But doing that is not forgiveness, nor was Paul and Stephen’s actions forgiveness.


#13

I absolutely do, Chad!

I will go even further. Unless we attempt to live our lives in accordance with the words of Christ, we are not his disciples. And “a Christian” is just another word for a disciple of Christ.

Immediately after Jesus gave instructions in living, as recorded in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, He said the following:

That “everyone” means “EVERYONE” not just the immediate disciples whom He was addressing. Jesus had many disciples besides the ones to whom He was speaking. Do you think it was unnecessary for them to carry out Jesus’ instructions in living, just because they were not present when He gave those instructions? Jesus’ instructions applies to ALL of His disciples of every age!


#14

Well how about it? Paul and Stephen asked God not to punish those offenses. They truly had a heart for people; even evil people. Jesus also asked us not to seek vengeance, but to do good toward those who hate us, and also to pray for them. But doing that is not forgiveness, nor was Paul and Stephen’s actions forgiveness.

While Stephen is being stoned to death he asks Jesus not to hold this against them and you claim this is not forgiveness? To me it’s the essence of forgiveness!


#15

I don’t claim to have the correct answer to this, but please let me offer my thoughts about it. Blaspheming the spirit of God in the context in which this was said, was attributing the work of God to Satan. The Pharisees had just accused Jesus of casting out demons through the prince of demons. After speaking some other words on the subject, Jesus said, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit does not have forgiveness into the age, but is guilty of a lasting sin.”

As I see it, those who attribute the work of God to Satan, have been so greatly deceived by the enemy, that they are not inclined to repent of this false belief. Their ongoing sin lasts right into the next age, and as long as they hold onto it, and do not repent, they will not receive God’s forgiveness.


#16

So you think that if they repented they’d be forgiven?


#17

Yep! I most certainly do!

All of God’s judgments are remedial. He doesn’t punish people penally or retributively as we human beings often do.


#18

I would first of all say, that all you say can be explained in the context of the coming calamity upon Israel. But to take it further, then you have to go to the point where Christ’s death was not actual but conditional. Christ said they HAD TO REPENT TO AVOID DESTRUCTION. A very true statement for them, but we have to realize that the statement was not meant for us. This historical context puts many discrepancies of the new Testament into context. Our position with God is in pretty good standing because of what Christ has done. :smiley:


#19

I like and understand what you are saying… If taken within the contexts of scripture, yes He did punish those Israelite rebels. They all died, and died tragic deaths. But your remedial judgment would be through Pauls’ understanding of what Christ has done. Thus the understanding that all of the believing Gentiles and believing Jewish converts who listened to the Christ were going to be forgiven and escape the fiery judgment to come.

The idea of repentance is narrowly confined to the Israelite contingent in Jesus’s time. For a specific reason. We are at a different place and time and the covenant has changed. Let us understand and cling to our freedom. Freedom in Christ. :slight_smile:


#20

Paidion since you believe forgiveness must involve repentance between parties i’m wondering what you would call this?

“So he got up and went to his Father. But while the son was a long way off his Father saw him and was filled with compassion . He ran , threw his arms around his neck and kissed him” Luke 15.20
In this Parable of the Prodigal Son , the son’s Father (God) saw his son heading home but before anything was said the Father ran to meet & greet the son and threw his arms around his neck and kissed him!

So i see this as forgiveness & before the son said a word so there was not yet any repentance the Father’s behavior indicated something happening on the part of the Father, what would you call his reaction?