Friday, August 7, 2009

Forgiving completely

Dusty idea today is: Lets forgive people to the point the Bible says we need to.

It's getting tougher each day to take the humanity out of humans and be able to forgive as Christ spoke of and did. Perhaps a definition of forgiving is in order. My definition would be the ability to not allow an offense or a negative action toward you or someone else to affect how you treat the offender according to Christian values. I'm only concerned with Christian values in the blog, because if you have that approach it will be superior to any other way that seem right to humanity. Another definition of forgive found in the Greek text in Jesus' sermon on the mount is to "lay aside".

Luke 17:3-4 can be a real stumbling block for the forgiver.

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him,
and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven
time in the day, and turns to you seven times saying, "I repent",
you must forgive him. (ESV)

We might could say, "Lord, what if they keep doing the same thing to me or us over and over?"
Looks like Luke 17 is saying we have to forgive if the brother repents. In fact Luke says that even if the brother says that he repents we need to take that at face value since humans can't discern the intent of the heart. Proverbs 16:25 says there is a way that seemth right unto men, but the ends of those ways are death.

Luke 17:1 also says that it is impossible that offenses will not come. It is only our reaction to them that is going to be in question. Forgiveness to our closest family members, an uncle, aunt, mother or daddy, but especially a spouse is hard to come by. It seems to be in our culture or humanity to hold things over or against our spouse. If they're brothers or sisters in Christ they also need the same level of forgiveness we would afford anyone else. If they're not members of the Lord's church and there's no forgiveness how would that spouse ever be able to convert the other.

There's also a certain amount of judgemental thought processes that go along with this. The process of getting offended to the point of deciding you need to approach someone with a problem needs to be tempered with the amount of judging we want leveled our way. Matt 7 doesn't say people can't judge others. It says that whatever judgment we use it will be measured to us also. If you don't give Christ any help in judging others then He won't judge you.

After we've forgiven someone and put the matter squarely in God's loving hands, we run the risk of the matter not being handled as we'd like. We may have decided that God is our fire and brimstone vengeance deliverer, and he may be. He may also be what we know him to be, a loving God that wants everyone to be saved that shows great mercy. He may bless them, prosper them and save their eternal souls, rather than strike them dead with a lightening bolt. This may not satisfy our sense of what should happen. If this is the case have we really forgiven completely?