Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Purpose Of Forgiveness

The Purpose Of Forgiveness

So now what are we to do if we are sinned against and then that someone confesses wrong doing, asks forgiveness and claims to be repentant? The Bible is very clear in its instruction concerning what we need to know and do when some asks for forgiveness. It is really a very easy formula! Basically, we are to forgive all that say they repent even if the offense has been repeated before (Lk. 17:3). Our model whom we are to pattern ourselves after is Christ Himself. The Apostle Paul instructs us in this when he calls for the Ephesus Church to follow Christ in “ forgiving one another just as God, in Christ has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32)

Now we are not to forgive the one that sinned and offended us if he or she has not repented. Forgiving the wrongdoer is to be granted only when the wrongdoer repents. Forgiveness was granted by God only when we repented. When repentance is proclaimed we forgive as we follow our model - the Lord Jesus Christ.

"forgiveness is not for the benefit
of the one doing the forgiveness"

One thing that is important to understand is that forgiveness is not for the benefit of the one doing the forgiving but for the one repenting. Forgiveness is for the benefit of the sinner, the wrongdoer! AS we remember that it was when we repented, admitted we were a sinner and believed that we benefited in that God granted us forgiveness, we entered into adopted sonship with all those benefits, we received eternal life and received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. AMEN!

"forgiveness is for the one repenting"

The greatest benefit is that of being granted forgiveness. In the granting of forgiveness the wrongdoer or sinner receives the commitment and promise of the one doing the forgiving that they will not bring up the sin and wrong doing to the wrongdoer, to others, nor to themselves. That is right the one granting forgiveness is not to set and think upon the wrong that was done to them. They are to love the person they have forgiven by believing the best and renewing their mind concerning this person since a new reconciled relationship has been established through the forgiveness.

If one keeps the person that did the wrong at arms distance, not speaking to them, not allowing them fellowship shows that forgiveness has not been granted. If the person states they forgive the person and does not walk in a renewed relationship to the person then there is wrongdoing from the person which stated forgiveness was being granted and there needs to be a change in heart so that there is true forgiveness granted. Forgiveness once again is to be modeled in the manner in which God forgives. And He forgives in a manner as in casting our sin into the bottom of the sea and in separating us from our forgiven sin “as far as the east is from the west”!

Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Now you may say, “But didn’t Jesus Christ pray from the cross, Father, forgive them?” The answer is yes, but note He asked the God the Father to forgive them. Jesus did not forgive apart from repentance. Guess what when they repent the Father forgives them. AMEN!

In reality forgiveness has a goal, a purpose. That purpose is to deliver the offender from the burden of guilt and hopefully the practice of the sin. If a person has done wrong and then that one has just a relief from the wrong they did by the person they did wrong to then the person that did the wrong still goes about in their sin and guilt before God. They are no better off. The sin has not been dealt with. Some sort of “release” has just happened and this sin may just snowball. Can you imagine a murder just being “released” form his or her sin of taking a life, or a thief being “released” from stealing $ 100.000.00. No repentance, no judgment, no restitution, no reconciliation of any kind. What a world we would live in! Therefore, you must admit that it really would be real noticeably inconsistent for someone to “forgive / release” an unrepentant person that has done wrong before the call to discipline and its work of repentance. This being whether the call of the discipline of repentance is in the church or in society.

Now we have established that forgiveness granted is a promise not to refer to the offender’s sin any more. Therefore we need to understand the thread of purpose in forgiveness – winning the offender. If a person does not repent the matter is not settled and the offense is to be brought up before the person again and again, not to irritate but to see repentance and lives changed for the betterment of the person. A thief is to be tried and found wanting. A murder is to be tried and retried if necessary and found guilty. A sinner is to be proclaimed guilty. An offender to a brother and / or sister in Christ is to be called to repentance and that repentance done before forgiveness is to be granted by those that were the recipients of the wrong incurred. The by product, not the purpose, of this will be a better Church, society and neighborhood as the persons life is changed for the better and they no longer practice this sin renew the relationships are established through formidable reconciliation.

Now you may say, “When I forgive someone I feel good about it and I can move on with life. I can forgive in my heart and move on to better things no matter what the person does.” Again as stated above that is not forgiveness, nor the purpose of forgiveness. That is just a “release” of some sort. Some seek this way out when done wrong by others and a few try never to talk about the issue to anyone. That, I must admit, takes a strong constitution if one can pull that off! Experience however dictates that it is generally impossible for folks to just “let it go”. A couple serious errors happen here:

1) Many people that try this end up living with thought of the wrong done to them and many times this approach to life’s relationships cause anger, bitterness, hatred, etc. especially from the one that sought to “forgive through release”; and

2) The sin and wrong doing is inadvertently supported since the person that did the wrong never gets the call to the discipline of repentance and therefore they remain in the guilt of the sin and wrongdoing. And in this the sin can snowball and wrongdoing can be caused to others since it is still out there.

The person that did the wrong needs confronted and called to repentance. The person that this was done to needs to be a part of this process. You don’t have to go alone if the person will not hear you but you are not to “just let them be abd let the Lord take care of them”. That is very clear!

In conclusion, it is important to understand that forgiveness is not something one feels.It is something one person grants to another. You do not need to nor must feel like forgiving someone to forgive them either. Forgiveness is a promise to the repentant wrongdoer that you make and keep that no matter how deep the hurt the sin and wrong is, nor how feelings about it may come and go. Your promise to them is a promise and that promise is simply that the sin and wrong will not be brought up and discussed again either to them, to others nor to yourself no matter your feelings and emotions. That’s right nor to yourself! “But it want go away instantly.” That’s right but, when it does come comes in your mind you are to will renew your thoughts towards the reconciled person. Eventually it will be pushed far back in the thought processes and not be an issue that will float to the top. Remember Christ’s great sacrifice toward you by which He forgave your sins! If you truly forgive you bury the matter and no account is kept or ever referred to even to as much as seven multiples in one day or life.

Now perhaps you have not yet known the forgivness of God in your life. If not you are a sinner and are guilty before the Holy God of Heaven. You may not feel guilty and may not feel convicted but you are guilty and are convicted and will spend an eternity without God in hell if you do not repent from sin and believe in Christ. So if this day you repent of sin and rest in Christ who took the punishment of hell on the cross you will be saved. May God bless and save you from the guilt of sin and may you know true forgiveness you as you make your calling and election sure. Please let us know how we may help you.

Oh Lord may we walk refreshed daily as we walk in repentance from sin and forgiveness in your sight and in the sight of men. Amen


My struggle and yet blessing.

I feel I am chief of sinner. I am a person that continues to battle sin. Why? I sin a bunch. I am not glorying in that but I find that I just get upset or do stupid things and / or forget to do what God has directed. It seems I grow in one area only to find another area that sin seems rampant in. But thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit works in me and His word is ther to direct me and call me to repentance and to mortify the flesh.

I read many blogs and many Christian writers that talk about their desire to live godly and I do as well. It seems they do not struggle as I do. I am “jealous”. I just find it very hard to do. Therefore, I warn my friends and tell them or people I am becoming friends with that my desire will not be to ever maliciously hurt or sin against you or God but it may happen at some point. I also let them know that I will repent and seek forgiveness. Now I do not use this as an excuse to presumptuously sin. I am just pointing out that Jesus must have had me in mind when He stated “offenses will come”. I have had to acknowledge my wrong, apologize and ask forgiveness not only in face to face relationships in life but even in the internet world of blogging and talk chat. I acknowledged my sin, did works of repentance and verbally asked for forgiveness publicly even and writing a public apology. Thankfully I w as granted forgiveness and for that I am grateful. I have been given renewed relationships and that is precious. To live forgiven daily by the Lord and amongst men is one of the greatest blessings and feelings of refreshment this life offers!

I also know how difficult it is to forgive. It is clear from scriptures that to forgive others is our basic duty. I have written about this earlier so I will not attempt to discuss this at this time. Go to the URL below to learn of Christ’s instruction concerning the difficulty of granting forgive which is one of our basic duties: Our Basic Duty - Forgive the Repentant

Now I tell you this so that you know that I am not perfect and I also need God’s grace working in me to progressively sanctify me in many areas of life. And because I do understand the freshness of being forgiven and I know first hand the purpose of forgiveness.


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