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Forgive - Forgiven - Forgiving - Forgiveness
 

Q. What does the bible say about forgiving? After reading what the scriptures say, be sure to read "THE CONTROVERSY" below.

A. You must forgive others who have wronged you before you can be forgiven (by God) for your wrongdoing (sins).
Matthew 6:15
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 18:21
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord,
how many times shall I forgive my
brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.

The Controversy...

Must the other person ask me to forgive them? This is widely argued. I can only go with what the scriptures say. And... the scriptures say that "If he repents forgive him." Jesus said it. It was not a quote from Paul. Don't confuse "carrying a grudge" with forgiveness. Do not carry a grudge under any condition, it is unhealthy. Drop it.

I know of one scripture that indicates "we must forgive unconditionally" and this single scripture causes doubt in my understanding... and that is: Mark 11:24-25.. "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."

However, that scripture is not clear as to whether the sinner had asked for forgiveness and repented. If the sinner had repented and asked then there is no question... you must forgive. Remember! It is better for you if you can simply drop it and never carry a grudge... never. That can be very hard to do but I know from life experience that if the sinner asks forgiveness and repents then it is VERY easy to drop a grudge and completely forgive.

Take a break... A woman had asked my thoughts on forgiveness and she replied: "Well, I think forgiveness and trust are VERY different.  If my child were to be disobedient, I will forgive them, even if they show no remorse, but that does not mean that I will allow them to continue doing what they are doing.  I understand that the sinner is making choices that will lead him/her to hell, but I’m not going to walk around with unforgiveness eating me up."

Her reply showed lack of understanding in the difference between forgiveness & "simple tolerance" that is expected in raising a child. As a parent, I rarely, if ever, felt the need to "forgive" my child for childish wrongdoing. Be sure we are talking about the same thing.

However: It is alarming for her to admit that she is allowing her children to make choices that may send them to hell but she is "not going to allow unforgiveness to eat her up."

Back to business...
Other than that scripture, Mk 11:24, this is my understanding
... This single scripture is enough to remind you that this page is my opinion and the way I interpret. You must decide for yourself and do as the Holy Spirit tells you. I try to forgive people unconditionally but read further what Jesus says...

According to Jesus, the offender must REPENT and ASK forgiveness.- as recorded in Luke Chapter 17 Vs. 3... (KJV) Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

(New Living Translation) 3I am warning you! If another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him. 4Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him."

I think the scriptures make it very clear - IF A BROTHER IN CHRIST ASKS YOUR FORGIVENESS AND MEANS IT, YOU FORGIVE THAT PERSON. "A BROTHER" refers to another believer, a child of Jesus Christ. That person, according to scripture, must truly repent in his/her heart and earnestly want you to forgive his/her transgression against you. You do not have the right to forgive a person for their sins against someone else. I know that will come as a "shock" to my Catholic friends out there.

"Take A Break For A Note From John" ... This is why people argue about religion and scripture. I find many such cases in the bible... I can be totally convinced on a topic and then find another scripture that indicates I may have interpreted incorrectly. This is clearly why Jesus had to send the Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit convicts us and leads us into truth. We can only exchange thoughts and things of the heart but the Holy Spirit has the final say.

However... I Know This...

If you don't forgive those who have sinned against you, it is very probable that you will suffer some health problems. If you carry around a grudge it will stress your immune system to the point you can develop everything from cancer to a common cold. THAT'S A FACT! Therefore, if it is possible and does not violate another's rights - forgive and forget. It is best for you!

Here's the real danger! If you are a child of God... "saved," "born again" and you carry a grudge, you are in danger of committing sin in your heart against that person! Jesus tells us that if we do it in our heart, we have done it! Therefore, if you entertain anger and hostility you may exercise a sin... even murder, although it is only in your mind, it is sin! I know! It's easy to get so involved in the resentment that you have unclean, violent thoughts against that person. That person may have truly wronged you! That person may not even be aware of their transgression against you but you commit the act in your heart. My advice... drop it! Let it go! Forget it! Even if you don't mean it at the time, say it... say, "I forgive that person." Then quit thinking about it! PRAY!

Spiritually speaking, I believe non-forgiveness can and will hinder your ability to communicate, in the Spirit, with God. In other words you won't get as many (if any) prayers answered when you have a grudge in your heart against someone. You just can't "get in the Spirit" as readily.

NOTE: Be Sure We are Talking About Forgiveness And Not Tolerance...
Be sure you and I are talking about the same topic. I recently saw this on another website;
"You are not likely to hear the person who jumped in front of you at the grocery store line repent"... That is not what I consider forgiveness! That is simply being TOLERANT! Don't get hung up on arguing different topics! OKAY... back to business...

Is This Subject Being Properly Handled By Our Teachers Of The Faith?

I for one have carried around a load of guilt. I want to live according to God's word and this is an area that I can't always make a decision to forgive... and accomplish.

I have a question for students of the scriptures:
When Jesus drove the money changers and merchants from the temple ~ Did he ask them to forgive him?
After all, as far as those merchants were concerned, when Jesus bodily threw them out, they probably felt that he had wronged them.
Jesus did not wrong them. Do you get the idea? There are TWO VIEWPOINTS. If both side feels that they were in the right and neither of them feels that they have sinned against the other, there is not likely to be "confession and repentance." This is where the church must be confronted and a decision passed down. In the secular world that is why law suits take place. This muddies the water... in this case it is not cut and dried... the question, "who has sinned?" Most times it is obvious who sinned and that is what this page addresses.

This is where "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" becomes VERY important!

I can imagine some of the answers I will get. Somebody will undoubtedly mention the fact that they were most assuredly sinning against God by turning his temple into a "den of thieves." In other words they were wrong... therefore, Jesus did not need to be forgiven (by the merchants) because he was not wrong. Although the merchants were probably sure he had wronged them. As a Christian who recognizes the obvious sins and greed of man, I know Jesus was right! Also the scriptures confirmed Jesus' charge.... Perhaps a person who is not a Christian and has no understanding of "right and wrong" will disagree.

Keep that thought in mind... When a thieving, cheating, greedy, demonic person steals your business, your life, destroys the well-being and future of your children... are you obligated to smile, turn the other cheek and forgive him? Even when he never asked forgiveness? There are those who say, "You must forgive him/her or not be forgiven by God." I stand with Jesus, HE had the knowledge between "right and wrong" and HE had the scriptures to back Him up. I have been in that situation. Family members who are blind... do not know the difference between right and wrong and they will not go to scripture for proof... perhaps they do know and choose hell... Their church and pastor will not correct them because he doesn't want to offend a tithing member... SAD! The pastor fails to correct the member and as a result the member misses the Kingdom. Things like this are why secular people will not engage in religious discussions or religious people. I can understand!

Just like the merchants in the Temple... they did not believe they had done any wrong... WELL... If that demonic person who wronged you does not believe he/she has done any wrong... what is there to forgive? He/She will never ask your forgiveness. Is that person spiritually ignorant of right and wrong and not held responsible for the sin against you? Makes no difference whether or not that person has been born-again, you bear the burden and it can destroy you. They are hell-bound, they wronged you unmercifully and you carry the burden!

By the way... I understand that what made Jesus really upset was that they were worshipping other gods in the temple. I am told that it is a mistranslation,, or a breakdown in underatanding. I wonder who made the mistake? Any learned students of theology out there that can shed some light? Email me please.

There's Something Here I Don't Understand...

It's true, God's word says we must forgive other people in order for HIM to forgive us of our sins... But use the guidlines and requirements taught by Jesus. Once again; LUKE 17 and MATTHEW 18

My question is this... At what point should the forgiveness begin? Suppose you come home to find two burglars raping your teen-aged daughter and you see that they have just killed your wife. Are you supposed to forgive these two rotten, rapist, killers? If so, when do you forgive them? Do you immediately begin to forgive them and let them finish raping your daughter? Remember, you can see your wife's lifeless, bloody body on the floor.

Do you shoot them (you have a gun) or do you just forgive them and send them on their way? You know what I would do and I'm sure you would do the same thing. Well... you get the idea...

Does God Hold Us Responsible...

For something we can not achieve? If you have prayed for the ability to forgive, you've tried to forgive but deep down you still have not been able to. Will God hold you responsible for something that has been unachievable for you? I don't know. BUT... remember, God knows your heart... I welcome your comments.

Why Doesn't God Forgive Satan And The Fallen Angels?

This question is strictly to encourage thought ~ I know... and you should know too that we lack understanding and we should never question God or imply he is wrong! He is all-knowing and we are foolish mortals who are still arguing over whether or not to smoke cigarettes! Get the idea?

It is scriptural that God will cast Satan and his fallen angels into hell for eternal punishment and suffering.

Yes, folks! there's plenty here I don't understand. Let's say the person who sinned against you reflects the nature of Satan. Let's assume you are a saved Christian who reflects the nature of God. Are we still required to turn the other cheek and let this son of hell destroy you? You represent God's nature and they represent Satan's nature?

ANSWER: NO... or at least, nowhere in the scriptures do I find that we are commanded to forgive evil people or even believers of Christ who do not confess and repent. You will hunt high and low for a pastor, priest who will explain that and agree with my interpretation of scripture. That's their problem. If they chose to not teach true scripture, that is their problem and they will have to answer to God for it. Case closed. If you have a preacher, teacher or priest who is willing, have him/her contact me. It will be a learning experience for you. I doubt you will ever find one who will contact me. Their income and place in the organization may be in jeopardy.

One person, who I address as "Son of Satan" wrote the following: "Did not Christ forgive his killers? Ya he did."
My answer is, NO HE DID NOT! He did not say he forgave them, he prayed to his father in heaven "Forgive them Father, they know not what they do." Remember, Jesus had the authority to forgive sin but he did not forgive them as he was hanging on the cross. I can't tell you why but he did not. He simply passed it on to Father God. There is much we don't understand for many reasons.

CONFESSION FROM JOHN: I am inclined to believe you don't have the right to forgive a person who has not repented - that may even be a sin against God - - to misuse your authority in this manner may be a sin. There is more evidence suggesting that the sinner must be rebuked - even excommunicated if he/she does not confess and repent. It's in the bible! Check the links to the scriptures hereI have prepared them for U.

Maybe some things are understood only with the help of the Holy Spirit and faith. There are many (seemingly) controversial lessons in the bible. I have heard the argument that there are none. I have found many. I believe it is a matter of (degrees) of understanding on the part of the writer as well as the reader. Because one thing is for sure... and you can take it to the bank... GOD IS NOT WRONG! Take the great book as an entire lesson and don't try to pick it apart. Man has had a role to play in the writing, translation and printing of God's word, therefore the finite mechanics may be flawed but not the lesson or intent.

For instance: Paul thought Jesus was going to return in his (Paul's) lifetime. Does that mean since Paul was wrong about that fact that he was wrong about the lessons he taught from Jesus? No.

Just keep on praying and asking, even though we don't fully understand. When you ask forgiveness from God for the inability to forgive someone... know that our sins are forgiven by the act of God's Son Jesus... If we truly have a repenting heart.

Anybody have any ideas? Do you know something that will help understanding? Do you have a question or story for discussion? Let me hear from you.

Your Friend,

John

Links To Scriptures On Forgiveness

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