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Why We See Forgiveness Differently

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In reading over the previous conversation it’s apparent  that there is still disagreement about the nature of forgiveness.

We all know that we need it. But we disagree about when it is appropriate to give it.

Our problem is that the Bible, in wisdom, says at least two different things: (1) That forgiveness is to be given upon the offender’s confession and change of heart (2Chron 7:14; Luke 17:1-10); (2) That a heart of forgiveness is to be extended freely without requirement of confession (Luke 23:34).

The problem is further complicated by the fact that the principle of forgiveness i.e. “releasing,” “sending away,” or “lifting the burden” of guilt from another has different levels of meaning and applications. In one sense those born in Christ are forgiven of all “legal” and “condemning” guilt—once and for all. What remains is the need for restoration from “relational” wrongs.

As I understand it, we need to begin by noting from different Bible texts and contexts that there is a time to forgive, and a time to withhold forgiveness. The question to be asked is what do love and truth require in any given setting?

For instance, if someone is unable to see the wrong they have done because of a lack of spiritual discernment, emotional or mental impairment etc. then love, truth, and grace come together to say, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing,” or i.e “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

But if a person wrongs knowingly and significantly enough to do relational damage, then while love remains unconditional, that same love in wisdom does not just “forgive the offense” as if the wrong were not an issue.

The problem, as we have discussed in the past, is that “forgiveness to get let go of the bitterness and anger that is keeping us from going forward” may have “therapeutic” value. But it is not the kind of forgiveness that reflects the desire of God to show mercy to those who are willing to admit their wrong.

This is already longer than I had planned to post. But it’s important enough of a subject to try to clarify together the kind of forgiveness that is expressed in real love for another rather than to relieve our own emotional misery.

PS If, after considering this subject together, you’d like to do some further reading on what we (RBC Ministries) have published on this, the following booklets are available online for viewing in PDF:

What is True Forgiveness?

Avoiding the Dangers of Superficial Forgiveness

When Forgiveness Seems Impossible

The Forgiveness of God

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112 Responses to “Why We See Forgiveness Differently”

  1. foreverblessed says:

    It really helps to realise HOW much we have been forgiven.
    With the last topic, on the qualities we need to posses in inceasing measure, like faith, goodness etc 2 Peter 1:5-7,
    I just found out that Peter says that when we do not have them then we do not know how much we have been forgiven. v9 It is a very important starting point, and probably also one that is difficult.
    It makes our heart soft to know how gracious God has been to us.
    (I have not yet read all these booklets you mentioned, so I will be busy with them for a while.)

  2. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    Am I right in thinking that there are two forms of forgiveness.

    One is for our healing and the release of bitterness as in “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.

    And the other is the “done deal” of the cross as in “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us etc.”

    Is there yet another form whereby we are accountable as in the Lords prayer “forgive us our sins as we forgive others who sin against us”?

    Also the daily washing of confessing our sins and being cleansed (foot washing/Laver hand washing as in the Temple)


  3. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Mart for changing the subject topic. I will admit I have not enjoyed the past few topic discussions that have deteriorated into bickering and one up manship.

    When thinking about forgiveness I am drawn to 1 Cor. 13, If we love as defined here then love forgives all, always.

    That is easy to say and a noble cause to try and emmulate.

    I also am struck by the knowledge that there is a limit that God has placed on forgiveness. There is an *Unforgiveable* sin.

    Also in the end, God will send into eternal punishment all those He has judged as guilty of sin, and punished, instead of forgiven.

    If we are honest about our feelings, many times we can say we forgive another, but in truth we just do not want to be around that person any longer, and further agrivated by the offense of whatever issue is in play.

    Is that forgiveness, or just washing our hands of the matter?

    Remembering that we are forgiven by a standard we set into play ourselves, places the responsibility to always forgive on our hearts and hands, if we want forgiveness from God.

    All we need do is ask, and we are forgiven. Does this mean if we do not ask God for forgiveness we are not forgiven?

    So then if we are offended and the offender does not seek forgiveness from us, are we to immitate God and so not forgive?

    Hmmmm more to this subject than meets the eye.


  4. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Forgiveness seems such a simple concept but has so many ways of being expressed?

  5. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Like you Ria(Foreverblessd) I to will have to study these booklets.

  6. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Bob, I already did some reading, and if you read Luke 17:1-5, that is some command Jesus gives us.
    For instance, in my home I have 3 men, they do not care about dirty shoes coming in the house, Jesus actually says, if he comes in 7 times a day with dirty shoes, and he asks for forgiveness, I have to forgive him. I would begin to think that even at te 3rd time, I already would not believe he really meant it, otherwise he would have changed his behaviour. (And I also must admit that after one time I am getting upset about it, talking about self control here.)
    But Jesus says, forgive him!
    and then in verse 5 the disciples say: increase our faith!
    SO that’s what I’ll do, ask GOd to increase my faith.
    We apparantly need a lot of faith to be in able to recieve the “sorry”.

  7. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, you ask a lot of questions, and I add a little more, this topic can be a real big thing, too much to think about.
    I was trying to say, that even that what Jesus commands us that is understandable, in Luke 17:1-5, is difficult.
    What Mart is trying to convey, withhold forgiveness..
    I believe that in your heart you always have to forgive, leave the matter to God, and what you actually say to the offending person is another thing. You do not say it, until the person asks for forgiveness.

    If we read in the context, the chaptre 17 goes on in v7-10, is about an unprofitable servant, is it a coincidence it is put here, just after the forgiveness thing?

  8. dja says:

    Good Morning All!
    I, too, thank you, Mart for changing the topic. Like Steve, I was not enjoying the past few topic discussions.
    Forgiveness is hard to do on our own. I want to forgive because that’s what I’m called to do, but in and of myself, I can’t. But the Lord can and does, and He is the One Who works true forgiveness in us. Here’s how I found this out:

    Many years ago when I was a newlywed, my new sister-in-law was not pleased with her brother’s choice. She was rather snobbish and would say things that would make me feel awful. It got to the point that I pretended to be sick so I wouldn’t have to go to family gatherings. When I became a Christian, I was very convicted about this pretending and more so for the anger and bitterness I felt in my heart toward my sister-in-law. I had a mental list of everything she had done to me since the day we met. I could quote it, it you had asked, and it was a long list.

    Today, I do not remember the list, and my sister-in-law and I are good friends. In fact, we just stayed with them in October when we were in SC. How did that happen? When the Lord convicted me of my sins and I confessed my dishonesty, bitterness, and anger towards her, then asked Him to lover her and forgive her for me, I was overwhelmed by what had happened in my heart. A few days later we were at a family picnic, and my sister-in-law was so very nice to me, and since that day, I can actually say that I do love her and that list I had was completely forgotten. I can’t remember any particular item on it:-)
    The Lord is so good! A very good book on this subject is “From Forgiven to Forgiving” by Jay Adams.

    It’s a very cold and icy day in NEPA, and it’s suppose to get even colder. Well, what can I expect in January in NEPA! No matter what, this is the day the Lord has made, and I need to rejoice and be glad in it:-) Brrrrrrrr!!

  9. SFDBWV says:

    I find it very interesting how here in my own home, I can see the relationship between God and man played out.

    Matthew sometimes when he is dissapointed, discouraged and at a low point will get angry and say hateful, hurtful things….I have come to realize it is because of his broken condition that he does these things.

    So without a moments passing, I pay no attention to the comments, and forget them as soon as said.

    I believe it is so with God, that He sees us in our broken condition, and loves us anyway. In spite of ourselves.

    Foreverblessed you are so right, sometimes the only thing we can do is give it to God, and as Della has so well given us the example…the matter just goes away.

    33 degrees snowing and foggy here…11 inches on the ground.


  10. plumbape says:

    Where is NEPA, go easy , I’m kind of dense sometimes.

  11. dja says:

    Plumbape, you are certainly not dense. NEPA is what is written and spoken by those who live in Northeast Pennsylvania-abbrev. PA . After living here for almost 35 years (originally from New Jersey), I think I just write it and forget that there are probably people who are not familiar with this area. Thanks for pointing this out. Have a blessed day!

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… as usual you have a gift at getting us back to the heart of the matter, allowing us to bring to the table,a Banquet of Ideas, which includes all our contributions, whether all find them tasteful, is another matter! We must eat if we are trained to be good company, a little of every piece brought, and from that, we become Filled and Fed, instead of fed-up!

  13. oneg2dblu says:

    Is it proper conduct to bring our thank you’s from another blog topic into this one, or return to the old topic to reply?

  14. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Taking from what Bob said, I think there are two forms of forgiveness.

    God does call us to forgive those who sin against us, and this is for our own healing. However,only God has the power to forgive sins.

    If someone sins against us, our forgiveness is to release them from the debt they owe to us and give it to God who is ultimately the one that the sin is against. “Whatever you do to the least of these, that you do unto Me.”

    I read in one of Mart’s booklets that forgiving does not mean staying in a situation that is harmful, nor does it mean that the sinner is free from all repercussion. Our forgiveness does not release them from their sin – it releases us from the pain caused by their sin.

    Also, we might ask someone for forgiveness and they refuse to give it. But God will still forgive us. Once again, only God has the power to forgive sins.

  15. Mart De Haan says:

    We agree that it is good for us to extend forgiveness in a way that expresses the heart of Christ. It is healthy for us, a mercy to others, and a wonderful way to reflect our gratefulness to God

    But is it good to always forgive others? Is it a benefit to them…not only for us to love them but to always forgive them? Is that really what Jesus is teaching us in Luke 17:1-5.

  16. oneg2dblu says:

    tracey… you are correct in saying only God forgives sins, great point! There is His Forgiveness of sin, and there is a “forgiveness that he allows” us to be blessed with, as we forgive others. But we can resist it, and miss His Blessing!
    Forgiveness of others is for us to choose,and isn’t Sin the same, also of our choosing, and allowed by God?
    Foir He gives us the ability to resist sin as well! Gary

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    I should have said, “For, WHO gives us the ability to resist Sin, as well?”

  18. oneg2dblu says:

    Forgive Lord? How many times? 70X7….?
    WHO can do that?

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    Only God!

  20. poohpity says:

    The text you gave Mart gives an example if one admits their sin, to forgive. Which I have seen a lot of people not admitting they have wronged someone. There have been instances of someone calling another person’s spouse a hurtful name and when confronted the person calling the name has taken the offense personal when confronted with the wrong and never admitted to the wrong/hurt caused. Do you still forgive them even when they do not admit they have done something wrong? Is this a time of withholding forgiveness?

    In the church of Corinth they put out the member because he was found in sin for awhile. Then later he was restored but he was given time to evaluate the nature of his wrong. What would happen if he never admitted he was wrong?

    What happens when people are not able or are in denial about their own sinfulness because they are most of the time looking around at others and do not look within at their own sin? Do you forgive them because of their ignorance? Like Jesus said, “Father forgive them because they know not what they do”. Is it helpful or loving to allow a person to continue in that ignorance and forgive them anyway?

    Steve mentioned Matt and how he says ugly things when he is mad. If that were someone else other than a close relative doing the same thing does one forgive them repeatably without change or do we just do it with family? I asked because I have several times in my life that I have let my mouth go before my brain is in action but know I have harmed someone and have asked for forgiveness to receive the reply but you still do it again and no forgiveness is given.

  21. poohpity says:

    I was also thinking about Matthew 7:12; So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

  22. foreverblessed says:

    OK, with this example that Pooh brought up I get a better idea of what Mart means to say. In 1 Corinthians 5 this man had to be confronted with his sin. Do we do that still today, or do we cover it up with what we think is “love”.
    And that is not God’s love. The sin has to be exposed.
    (Maybe that is what a certain big church should have done with their priests, who acted immorally, years ago, instead of covering up, and so it grew bigger and bigger, doing more harm than it should have done.)

  23. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, you certainly said a mouth full when you ask “is it a benifit to them? To always forgive them.

    Some people are repeat offenders, and no amount of forgiveness seems to help their situation. It may be the right place for you to be, but the offender sometimes needs punished for their offense. Whether forgiven by the offended or not.

    In a situation where there is spousal abuse, one can forgive, but in forgiving and staying in the situation, the matter may never be healed and the offender only encouraged by the attitude of the offended.

    Hmmm the plot thickens.


  24. tracey5tgbtg says:

    “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” This sounds like instruction to the body of believers and what to do to a brother who is clearly sinning in some manner against God and the church, but not necessarily against me as an individual.

    “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” This sounds personal. This is what we must do to those who hurt us.

    I don’t mean to say, “pretend it never happened.” I don’t think “our” forgiveness benefits the offender in any way unless they specifically ask for it and then they will receive a measure of peace. I know it is hard to forgive someone who clearly does not deserve it and has not earned it and is in fact, not repentent.

    Our forgiveness of such an individual is to let go of anger and bitterness; give them to God. He is the judge.

    Do I mean our forgiveness gives someone license to continue on in their behavior? No way.

  25. oneg2dblu says:

    poohpity… thanks, that verse hits a strong chord in me, too!
    It is part of the “golden rule,” but the whole of it, is much more, in the linking of the Law and the Prophets!
    I would say that law applies today, as much as, the Ask, Seek, Knock, applies to our Recieving, Finding,and Opening Up? To me, all God’s Law still applies!

  26. Charis says:


    Thank you for continuing this topic from the last thread. I mentioned there the unconditional forgiveness of:

    -Jesus from the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”

    -Stephen as he was being stoned “Father, do not hold this sin against them”

    Mart, you said “But if a person wrongs knowingly and significantly enough to do relational damage, then while love remains unconditional, that same love in wisdom does not just “forgive the offense” as if the wrong were not an issue.Personally, I have used the latter prayer of Stephen rather than the former.” -Mart

    I’m not sure if we, as humans, are in any position to judge their motives? whether they wronged us knowingly or not? That is why I personally use Stephen’s prayer rather than Jesus’. Unlike Jesus, I cannot see into the heart of another to what motivates them and to why they did what they did.

    PS. Thank your for posting the link to the pamphlets. My sister sent me the link to “Avoiding the Dangers of Superficial Forgiveness” several years ago and I found it wise and insightful. I think its time for me to return the favor to her as she has recently separated from her alcoholic/addict husband who fell off the wagon [long story of addiction, abuse, dramatic bloody suicide attempts, and their son- following in his daddy’s footsteps- hitting a tree at 17 DUI and suffering permanent brain stem injury]. My sister told me she is so relieved for her husband to be out of the house, but she feels guilty too. I think the booklet will help. :)

  27. Mart De Haan says:

    poohpity, thank you for giving the example of what happened in Corinth. That is a good example of how forgiveness was lovingly withheld until there was a change of heart. Paul’s action was more loving than to merely extend grace without holding the brother accountable.

  28. BruceC says:

    Wow Mart! I think this a topic that many us never think much about; or go with our gut reaction first.
    God removes our sin as far as the East is from the West. Can’t remeber where I saw it but He cast them into a sea of forgetfullness. Only God can do that. We on the other hand; in our fallen nature, do not forget all things. We may truly forgive a person but the hurt is still in our memory to one degree or another. We just don’t hold that hurt against them anymore. Although sometimes past actions or sins towards us can make us keep our guard up against them happening again. For example; I forgive my in-laws for the hurt they caused my wife and I for her leaving “their” church; but at the same time we do not get as involved with them as we used to so we are not as open to it again. Not sure if I am making myself understood.
    In church if a man is involved in an open, extra-marital affair and continues in it; he should be rebuked or asked to leave until he ceases the activity and seeks restoration and forgiveness. Then the body should lovingly restore him to fellowship and help him along. Been to churches that tended to be legalistic in a way and many there pointed out sins of others or had little to do with them; yet at the same time never considered their own sins or “spiritual pride”. If you weren’t on “their level; you basically just weren’t”.
    It becomes hard to deal with those who have “elevated themselves” to a spiritual level and just can’t fathom why everyone else isn’t up there with them or deals with problems in their life that they look down on.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  29. poohpity says:

    Sometimes there are those that never look at the harm they do to anyone else and God forbid they ever offer an apology for their behavior.

  30. sawaybon says:


    “In church if a man is involved in an open, extra-marital affair and continues in it; he should be rebuked or asked to leave until he ceases the activity and seeks restoration and forgiveness.”

    I have struggled with how to handle situations like this, especially when it involves affairs among church members that lead to divorce and remarriage. I do not know how to treat the newly-formed couple who have discarded the previous spouses (leaving confused children from both of their first marriages) and continued on in Christian ministry in another church. I find it hard to forgive them, mainly because they have not “ceased the activity”. Is there a certain point where I need to get over that and forgive them, and consider our relationship to be restored?

  31. sawaybon says:

    I just read today’s ODB devotional, which gives one answer to my question, and I certainly do have the attitude of “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. But how do I practically forgive these fallen brothers and sisters? How can they be restored to full fellowship?

  32. poohpity says:

    The first pamphlet that Mart offered is “What is true forgiveness” says that it is sin against God and the offended family those are the one’s that need to give the forgiveness unless this person has harmed you in a sinful manor. The forgiveness is given as graciously as it is received. It was really worth the read.

  33. Jason says:

    I believe forgiveness does more good to the forgiver than the forgivee. If I hold a resentment against someone it can turn into a poison. I have to pray and ask God for help in forgiving and know that nobody is perfect except Jesus.

    Like it has been said we still remember the hurt but maybe we learn from it too, once bitten, twice shy.

    I would rather try to be friends with most people than have enemies. They say Canadians are too polite.

    I’ll try to read those pamphlets.

  34. christinal says:

    Thank you for posting about Forgiveness. This is so timely, and is a topic I’ve been thinking about lately.

  35. rokdude5 says:

    Hello everyone. First I would like to extend my condolences about gr8granny. Her comments are going to be sorely missed.

    Ever since I became a Christian at a tender age, I always held to the belief that a Perfect Sacrifice is needed for the atonement of our sins. As I do my daily chapter by chapter or more lately, paragraph by paragraph Bible reading, I recently starting to read about how Jesus told the paralytic and the “woman who lead a sinful life” that their sins are forgiven.

    I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. At this point, Jesus hasnt died yet. What is going on here because Jesus was talking in present tense rather than in future tense.” I also remembered how Isaiah with unclean lips had an angel atoned his sin with a hot piece of coal. Isaiah 6:5-6.

    wow…I know its “off topic” though it surely falls under the title of this blog. Some times I just think too much. Here is where my faith comes in and I just accept that Jesus needed to die nevertheless. Thank you Lord and please teach me in spite of all our waywardness, to be so merciful, so gracious and so forgiving. RJ

  36. Regina says:

    Good Morning All
    Hope all is well with you. Just read Mart’s intro comment, and looking forward to sharing my thoughts and reading your comments on this blog topic.

    Off topic here (I hope yall don’t mind)…
    Steve – Just wanted to say that what you shared on 12-21-10/7:31 am really touched my heart (I cried…). You’ve always encouraged, continue to pray for, and strengthened us (your brothers/sisters) on this blog, and before I even knew about the extent of yours and Matt’s adversity, you and your son would be in my thoughts (not to exclude your wife).
    I thought about yall the other day (I pray often for the BTA family, but, from now on, when one of you comes to my mind specifically, I’m going to stop and pray).

    For me, you bring to life Gal. 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (NKJV)” because even though you’re in a dark valley (trial) yourself, you still have a sincere desire (as we all do) to encourage and strengthen others.

    When I first started blogging on the BTA blog site, I thought it would be like any other blog (I would share my thoughts, beliefs and ideas like everyone else), but it’s not. I’ve discovered (experienced) things on this blog that I can’t articulate. It’s like the difference between darkness and light… night and day.

    Thank you for sharing your testimony and your life with us (the BTA family). Your devotion to Jesus Christ and the brethren brought this song to mind…

    Thank you for giving to the Lord,
    I am a life that was changed.
    Thank you for giving to the Lord,
    I am so glad you gave.

    Want to add that I’m grateful to all who share on this blog site.

    Cold and rainy in Texas today (47 degrees right now… will be colder later on today).


  37. BruceC says:


    Little off topic. Where in NJ are you from? I moved to upstate New York from Hawthorne, NJ about 38 years ago.
    My brother lives there yet in the NE part. Bear country!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  38. SFDBWV says:

    Regina, Thank you for your kindness, and encouraging words. Would that we all thought of the pain of others and how we might be able to ease them, if just for a moment.

    We are preparing for another snow event tonight, still nothing as bad as last year at this time.


  39. dja says:

    Regina, I, too, have been encouraged by Steve’s sincere writings, and pray when he, Glenna and Matt come to my mind. In fact, I have told my husband that I could see him sitting on the porch talking with Steve about the Lord (as well as the birds, deer and other interests:-)

    BruceC, my husband and I were born and raised in Plainfield, NJ and met in high school. We also lived in Glen Gardner NJ before moving to PA. At times I miss NJ:-)
    More snow tonight and into the morning. Have a blessed day BTA friends!

  40. poohpity says:

    RJ, I was thinking about your post about Jesus forgiving the immediate sins of those you mentioned. Being a human being and knowing or recognizing that if I had my way I would never sin again after I had been forgiven but it just does not happen like that. So I was thinking that down the road either Isaiah, the paralytic, or the women who lead a sinful life were to never have sinned again it would all have been done at that point but we know without a doubt that they did sin again at some point and at some time because they were human. The ONLY ONE with out sin was Jesus. So I would think that Jesus knew that they would sin again and that is why He had to make the final atonement for sins past, present and future. I do not believe that was off topic at all rather it applies so well because if we hold others or ourselves to a standard that we will never sin again we truly do not understand how important it is to look at that before we confront the sin in another for restoration and forgiveness.

  41. poohpity says:

    Mart I have gotten through 2 of the pamphlets and I am seeing many areas that I need to work on. Thank you for supplying these resources.

  42. oneg2dblu says:

    Why we see forgiveness differently, is why we see almost everything differently, our life experience, gets in the way! We can learn to forgive, through the teachings and blessings of the Lord. But, what do we do with the trust that is broken relationally.
    Example, For children of Abusive Drunkard Parnets, we cannot forget the abuse, and find trust automatically restored, it would be very unheallthy to ignore completely, what was dealt to you, through any abuse! So, we can through Christ forgive them, but not also forget, that is the work of God! I believe,Forgiveness, should only forgive, to the point of not being in harm’s way again! Life Experience is a wonderful teacher, and experiencing lifes abuses,unforgetalbe!

  43. oneg2dblu says:

    I know that I was perceived as a Bull in the China Shop, we I came in with my form of delivery, and it made both the message and the messager tough to take. Today’s ODB is exactly where I was trying to go, but I am trained to use a hammer, and not a cotton ball!
    I trust the Albert Lee, can deliver to you in a more palatable way, but will you receive it from him?
    The Law is still in effect, for those who want to be in the Will of God, as it displays what Obedience is all about! Salvation does not “cancel out” the LAW!
    As some tend to say here…HELLO!

  44. SFDBWV says:

    One of the things I have learned in life and seen displayed here on our little world wide blog, is that what people like to see is reality.

    Of whatever topic Mart brings forth, we all can have opinions, and most of us are quite eager to express our thoughts.

    But when we share how God is working in our daily lives and how coming to Christ or living with Him affects our day to day life. Then we can relate to almost everyone.

    Or better said, others can relate to our life experiances, and how we deal with our trials of life.

    No matter where in the world we live or what language we may speak, we are all the same. We all laugh, cry, have hopes and disapointments….And most of all we all need love.

    If we could see accross time and see where anyone of us is going, or where we have been, it may be easier to forgive someone of a trespass. perhaps to know their pain and feel their heartcahe, may make it easier to not be offended as much by their mistakes.

    Sometimes we just have to absorb insults and anothers anger, because it is generated from them and not from us. The matter can end right there with a quiet friendly response rather than be multiplied by added anger.

    Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

    If it is forgiveness you seek or forgiveness you want to extend to others, May I present, once again, to you the Person through whom that forgiveness is able to be manifested…Jesus of Nazareth the Christ.

    God Bless each and every one of you.


  45. BruceC says:


    You are right; salvation does not cancel out the law. But neither does the law bring salvation; for no one can keep the law perfectly. The purpose of the law is to show us our sin. Only the blood of Christ can wash sin away and only through faith in Christ Jesus.

    By the way; when you say law, just to what extent do mean it. The Ten Commandments; or further?

    If you deliver someone a message with a hammer, chances are you will leave more bruises than a lesson learned. Although in some extreme circumstances a hammer may be called for as God dictates; most times kind, loving words of help, assurance, and understanding do a far better job.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  46. Charis says:

    “there is a time to forgive, and a time to withhold forgiveness.” -Mart


    “forgiveness was lovingly withheld until there was a change of heart” -Mart

    How do you handle Stephen in Acts 8 praying “Do not hold this sin against them”?

    and Jesus teaching us to pray and why?

    Matthew 6:12,14-15 “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. . . For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”NKJV

    Are accountability and forgiveness being confused here? Forgiving someone does not preclude holding them accountable for their deeds. I think Christians get complacent sometimes because they think “being forgiven” means there will not be consequences for them if they sin, that they somehow get a “free pass”.

    You said in the OP that the word forgiveness contains the concepts of “releasing,” “sending away,” or “lifting the burden”.

    The “sending away”/”releasing”/separating part of it is what I think we are responsible to do unconditionally toward anyone and everyone who sins against us. In recovery-speak they would refer to it as “detachment”. In my AoG church they might refer to it as “breaking an ungodly soul tie”.

  47. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    I said in a previouse topic that I thought you were legalistic, forgiveness has nothing to do with the law, it has to do with grace and love.
    Jesus fulfils the law and it is in Him we abide, and He abides in us.
    If anyone had a right to condem us it was Jesus, but He forgave us.
    He said “if you have seen Me you have seen the Father”
    That’s the God I love and want to be with forever.


  48. poohpity says:

    The difference with Albert Lee was he was bringing our attention to God not to himself.

  49. kaliko88 says:

    What about accepting forgiveness? Many times my only hope is counting on God’s mercy, yet I find it so hard to let go because it seems …. hypocritical to just take forgiveness in knowing I will mess up again, and sometimes with the same sin. Yet, I can also feel a touch of false pride when I don’t accept it. Am I struggling with myself or with Jesus? It’s causing all sorts of problems, not least of which is my retreating into my own little world.

  50. poohpity says:

    The pamphlets above will be very helpful. How have you been?

  51. poohpity says:

    It is so good to from you Kaliko88 and sawaybon, again.

  52. poohpity says:

    I hope Daisy is well too!

  53. poohpity says:

    lol I meant hear from you both again.

  54. Regina says:

    Good Evening All
    Hope you’re all having a good day.

    You’re welcome, Steve, and, you’re right, I know God is pleased when we pray for and have compassion for one another.
    So glad you can relate, Della. The fact that we’re on one accord reflects our kinship in God.

    31 degrees in Texas right now.

  55. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve-2:08, I have no problem relating to your post on relational acceptance of anothres tresspass. Getting to know someone, has great merit in how you will respond to them.
    Sticking with time tested friends, who make small insults,is a non event. Even hostiages, held over a period of time, start to feel empathy for the one holding them captive.
    Knowledge of God is not required for this phenomenon, it is part of our nature. Acquaintance alone can produce a, He’s just like me… attitude.
    Now, add “Jesus of Nazereth the Christ,” who is living inside of every Born Again Christian, things like forgivenesss, should definately be attainable, and achieveable, to any tresspass, Given up,to the Lord to help us resolve, where our nature alone fails us.
    Why we do not take that route,FIRST, is because we can only learn through taking the test, over and over, until we get it!
    Those who can bear the insults, without retaliation of any degree, are only those, who have been proved to learn the higher way!
    The rest of us Christians, and we know who we are…are caught in the return, instead of the release. We are still acting out of our sin-nature, and not our God-given Spirit!
    Very easy to do, even if you are Saved, you still,
    by choice, can take the lower road. Test after test, until we finally get it!
    Resist the evil, it does flee from you, WHEN RESISTED!

  56. Mart De Haan says:

    Charis, I’m convinced that the only way to make sense of the many different things the Bible says about forgiveness is to see them as pieces of a puzzle that all fit together to form a complete picture.

    As we consider each specic text we then need to look to see how patterns and principes of Christ-like love can hel us to put them together. That’s because love is the heart and fulfillment of the law. Wisdom therefore asks, in this situation, what does the love of Christ ask of us?

    In Stephen’s moment of death, he had fulfilled his responsibility and opportunity to lovingly confront his countrymen with their unjust rejection and death of Jesus. Now as he is dying, love prompts him to do the only thing ther is left for love to do–appeal to God to have mercy on them.

    In our Lord’s instruction to pray I believe he is once again teaching us how to pray for the ability to love others as he has loved us. At the minimum, he is saying that Our Father will have issues with us if we withhold forgiveness from someone who appeals to us for mercy (i.e. His parable of the debtor who was forgiven of a huge debt but refused to extend the same mercy to someone who begged him to forgive a very small debt).

    Let me ask you what you do with Jesus very specific instruction in Luke 17:1-5 on when to forgive (I assume for the sake of love). This teaching of Luke 17 is consistent enough with other biblical texts that theologians of the past emphasized the place and time to lovingly withhold forgiveness (as Paul instructed the Corinthians to do with the brother living in an incestuous relationship).

    In our generation forgiveness has been turned on its head. Recognizing that forgiveness has personal benefits– as so many Christ-like attitudes do– that issue of personal benefit has eclipsed the issues of wisdom and love.

    Unconditional love is wonderful– but only when extended with wisdom– that lovingly sees how to seek the highest good of another.

    The loving accountability that you mention is a huge issue in forgiveness. Just as love keeps an issue on the table as long as there is hope of repentance– so the love that forgives a repentant person will continue to lovingly hold a person accountable for follow through.

    I’d better stop for now. But I really appreciate your asking specific questions about Scripture. It’s too easy to pick our preferable side of the truth while ignoring about the need for understanding, love, and wisdom.

  57. oneg2dblu says:

    BruceC-3:58, Yes, “the law doesn’t bring salvation,” Unless, you think the “Commands of Christ” aren’t a form of LAW for you! When Christ says, Repent and Be SAVED! I think that has something to do with our Salvation process. So, the Law of Obedience, to me, is the “primary way” to Live in the Will of God!
    There is “no substitute” for Obedience, that produces godly living, that I know of. I disagree that the purpose of the Law is soley to show us our sin, BECAUSE, in knownig what sin is, we also have the very guidelines of the Ten Commandments, (although unattainable) in the fullness of our ablitiy, they must, play a major role in defining WHAT GOD designed for Holy Living, which is pleasing to Him! Not to avoid losing any punishment and Our Salvation only, but to gain a way to right living! In that repect, the Law is also given for us today! So, “Yes the Ten Commandments do make “part of the law,” I speak of!”
    The Our Daily Bread for today, speaks to that very point, “Obedience to the LAW is required” to live in the Will of God! I’ve said it enough, I said it many ways, but don’t take MY word for it, take God’s!
    If you love me, Obey My Commands.” Gary

  58. oneg2dblu says:

    Charis-4:23 are accountability and forgiveness being confused here? Maybe, but without giving the chapter and verse, I think we are to forgive the sinner, but not the sin. So, that seems easy for me to remember, not that I pass the test and do it on my own. Accuontablity, is however another subject, perhaps worth delving into now, to separate out any confusion!
    Trust, is another issue I was thinking of, does it also align with this forgiveness issue?
    Imagine if we had to figure all this out first, to be Saved? Gary

  59. oneg2dblu says:

    I’m soory you saw so much of my self-pride, and self- dircetedness in my past attempts to contribute on this blog, I think reiterating that, will continue to confuse, and redirect much!
    Albert Lee as read today, had nothing to do with anything but, showing God two things. How to Fear Him, and Love Him! If something else resonated more for you than that, maybe that is yours. But, anythnig other than what Albert Lee said, is probably going to confused again, his direction, which is, Obedience to the Law, shows God you Love Him, and you Fear Him!
    No other way, but Obedience to His Commands and His Law!
    But that would be my take…Gary

  60. oneg2dblu says:

    Bob in cornwall4:37. sorry I am legalistic, I certainly deserve that. Labels do give power to the giver!
    You said, “Forgiveness has nothing to do with the law, it is about grace and love.”
    We will have to disagree again…because of this verse and others.
    2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture… so it IS the law also, God’s law, and it does speak about forgiveness, grace, and love. On that we agree! Gary

  61. poohpity says:

    Albert Lee did not show God anything.

  62. Regina says:

    This is a great blog topic; very thought-provoking.

    Mart, I agree with your comment,
    “The problem, as we have discussed in the past, is that “forgiveness to get let go of the bitterness and anger that is keeping us from going forward” may have “therapeutic” value. But it is not the kind of forgiveness that reflects the desire of God to show mercy to those who are willing to admit their wrong.”

    I think it’s more challenging for a person to forgive someone (don’t think it can be done without God’s help) who has hurt them if the person is unwilling to admit to any wrongdoing. It’s also difficult to forgive someone who continues to do wrong.

    Your comment brought to mind the question that Peter asked Jesus…
    Matt. 18:21-22, NLT
    21) Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
    22) “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

    I actually noticed a discrepancy (in three versions of the Bible) in that Bible passage in regards to how many times we should forgive someone who sins against us. The KJV & NLT reads “seventy times seven” and the NIV (1984; 2010) reads “seventy seven times.” That’s a big difference!

    Your comment also brought to mind the numerous times that King David asked God for help because he was afflicted emotionally and physically by his enemies.

    You also said,
    “…it’s important enough of a subject to try to clarify together the kind of forgiveness that is expressed in real love for another rather than to relieve our own emotional misery.”

    I think that having “real love” for our enemies is the challenge of the ages (past and present)! Discovered that that can’t be done without God’s help. I can’t really flush out bitterness and unforgiveness (in my heart/mind/soul)without asking for God’s for help. When I pray, the Holy Spirit gives me supernatural ability to forgive and the desire to pray for the person (people) who hurt/offended me.

  63. kaliko88 says:

    Thanks for that welcome, poohpity. I’m still figuring out how I am. This past year through the divorce left me numbly adrift. Now, I’m just struggling through, with occasional bright spots. But at least I am strugging and actually trying again. Back to baby steps. I guess that’s a good thing.

    I’ll check out those pamphlets. It’s a start.

  64. dussmiller says:

    I don’t think that this blog is correct. I believe God calls us to forgive uncoditionally as we are forgiven. That does not mean we tolerate inappropriate behaviour or that we need trust those who are not trustworthy but we are called to offer them unmerited forgiven as God has offered to us. It is their choice to accept it and restore trust.

  65. paula182 says:

    Thank you Mart for the information on the pamphlets as I will be reading them. This has been a topic I’ve been praying on for some time now. Forgiving someone doesn’t just happen once for all for me. I turn frequently to God in prayer asking Him to help me forgive someone. In my case it is as Jason said,” I believe forgiveness does more good to the forgiver than the forgivee.” A toxic friendship that ended badly and the lingering effect. Releasing and letting go… Trusting God………well, for me it’s a daily walk.
    Praise be to God

  66. poohpity says:

    Kaliko88, the Lord will hang on to you through this and bring you out on the other side. Glad you came back. I can empathize with the valley you are in and I pray for much healing from the hand of the Master.

    dussmiller, it is not the blog that is correct or incorrect it is what is written in the bible about forgiveness. I believe that God alone can offer unmerited grace and forgiveness although he can help us to a flawed human type.

    After much reflection of this topic God has pointed out one person in my life that He is going to have to help me with. Since I have known this person she has caused much pain for many different people and relationships. I have tried in my own strength to look for the good things in her and find them then the lies, stealing, manipulation all comes to the surface again so I am back to square one. There is no remorse or even acknowledgment of the things she does to people. I do not believe I have had the chance to hear her admit she is wrong over the thirty some years that I have known her then what happened during my mom’s death just compounded the way I think and feel about her. I hope with the Lord’s help that there will be change in my heart and mind for her.

    That really sounds so hypocritical cause of the anger, resentment and hate I feel towards her.

  67. SFDBWV says:

    Forgiveness is a tonic, that heals the forgiver. Anger and resentment or bitterness is a cancer that eats away at the soul of a person.

    Once you have experianced forgiving someone who does not deserve your love, you are freed of something dirty and heavy that only weighed heavy upon you. Taking up time in your mind and absorbing energies that can be better used.

    Yes there are cosequences to the offender. Should someone steal from you or even worse, you can find peace through forgiveness, but they have a price to pay for their actions.

    Gary, in response to your comments directed somewhat toward me, let me say that I am affraid you may have misunderstood my comments.

    To clarify a little, I said that if we *could* know all about another person, maybe it would be easier to understand why they act the way they do..ergo forgiveness easier.

    But we don’t know all about some people so for the stranger who cuts you off in traffic or some other minor infraction of life, we still must forgive them, for we do not know what tragic life they have lived in order to make them act the way they do. Nor do we know where life is going to take them.

    The key is love, for it is written if we love others as we ourselves want to be loved, we find that we are obeying the law and so fulling the commandments of both God and Christ.

    Little 4″ snow last night but *cold* and windy this morning 11 degrees f .


  68. jeff says:

    Thanks Mr De Haan for trying to get the powerful message of forgiveness through to all who visit your website. Today i have embraced the powerful message of God’s forgiveness like never before. A heavy load has been lifted, praise be to God. I pray that all your bloggers will experience God’s forgiveness as i have experienced it after reading your space. The penalty was paid over 2000 years ago and that’s final. All we need is to stay in the blood and with the help of the Holy spirit we will prevail and be a powerful testimony in this very troubled world of ours. God bless you Mart and the entire RBC ministries for the good works you are doing for the kingdom.

  69. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve 9:25, good morning! I certainly did get your point
    about knowing a person intimately and knowing where they are coming from is a HUGE help in how we may respond. Unless that is also not what you were referenig to. But, the guy in traffic, get me my gun!!!
    Please do not be legallistic to that comment. LOL
    We are human and being cut off is something we learn to swallow, especially if we act out of our nature and do them a wrong also. I’ve tempered much in that areana, thank God! I was raised with the words, “If they new better, they would do better.” I wish that always applied to me! I would say
    I have improved, but that may look prideful, so I’ll say, I’m still working on it, daily! Gary

  70. oneg2dblu says:

    Ooops! I am sorry, I should have said, God and I, are working on it, DAILY! After all, I do call myself a Christian!

  71. poohpity says:

    Steve, you spoke of forgiveness healing the soul of the forgiver that may be true but it is more of a process I believe that God wants us to go through. With Joseph and his brothers it was not until he saw the remorse they felt about what they had done to him that brought about a restoration. Or the prodigal son who admitted his sin before God and his family that he was restored so sometimes withholding forgiveness brings about a change which I believe is what forgiveness can do for all parties involved but if someone never admits that their behavior is wrong then there can be no change and the offense gets swept under the carpet and nothing changes.

    There is so much more to this topic than just forgiving right away there are all kinds of examples in the bible. How about the time when Nathan the prophet confronted David’s sin it was with the intent of prompting a change.

  72. poohpity says:

    Sometimes God wants us to forgive for what is in the best interest of someone else.

  73. bubbles says:

    Five years ago someone said/did something that was very hurtful. There were times right after that I had to pray every day for help in forgiving them. I did not say anthing to them because they would argue about it. I did not want to cause a problem.

    Once in a long while I will still have feelings of anger towards them for the hurt they caused. I pray again for help in forgiving them because it is sin to be angry towards them. I do not dwell on what they did and I wish them the best in life.

    So, the question is, am I in the wrong for occasionally feeling angry? I am sure it is. Is forgiveness sometimes a process that takes years sometimes? Is there something else that should be done to stop my anger from occurring occasionally? This anger is not a daily thing.
    Thank you.

  74. oneg2dblu says:

    poohpity…. SCORE! You got me again. I stand corrected, but only for a mis-spoken tic.
    I trust it did not disturb his clear message.
    Albert Lee, showed us “two things” about what is “REQUIRED” for us to do, if we LOVE, and FEAR God!
    I trust you got the message,that the Law still
    stands! Gary

  75. oneg2dblu says:

    poohpity… Albert Lee did show God something! He showed God, that he knows how to communicate to us’ through Our Daily Bread, a meaningful godly message we all need, much better than I can!
    Thank God, Albert Lee writes soo well!
    I really do think better than I write, but that is because God has helped me with my thinker, and I’m still working on my writer! One tic at a time!! LOL
    “Please Help me Lord. to not offend, “EVERYBODY!
    Amen!” Gary

  76. poohpity says:

    Oh my gosh, Gary. The topic is “Why We See Forgiveness Differently”. I can see that you would like us to remain on your topic still but let’s focus on this one for now OK? ;-)

  77. oneg2dblu says:

    Well said! IF that a Good Bye to the constant picking at each others words! Prase God!

  78. oneg2dblu says:

    Praise God, I finally lefty the “I” out!
    It is always the “I” which is right in the middle of
    our, SIN! That may not be biblical as to chapter and verse, but in concept, a comlpete thought!

  79. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh, What process did Stephen or rather the crowd of people who stoned him go through before Stephen could ask God to forgive them?

    Suppose the person who has offended you is dead, what process do they now have to go through in order for you to forgive them?

    Forgiving someone is up to only you, not the actions or process of the offender…You either can forgive or cannot. It is a personal act of will.

    It is true, that your forgiveness can create an atmosphere in which the offender can seek forgiveness themselves but their asking for forgiveness is not the first step in you forgiving them.

    That step is up to you.

    If they ask for forgiveness then we must be eager and ready to accept their request, but in truth we should already have forgiven them and freed ourself of the burden of unforgiveness.

    Jesus tells us if we have something against our brother, we must leave the altar and go and seek peace, at once. That unforgiveness even affects our prayers.

    Thing is, the action of forgiveness is generated from us, not the person who has offended us.

    Is it that you believe, you are not required to forgive someone unless they first ask you to?


  80. poohpity says:

    There are times to lovingly withhold forgiveness for the offender to acknowledge their wrong which will bring about healing and change for all involved. Like Joesph did with his brothers also like the church in Corinth. Even when Christ forgave us we had to acknowledge we were sinners before we accept His forgiveness.

    Mart. I finally read through all the pamphlets and all I can say is, WOW!! I have learned so much and pray that the Lord will produce the type of love in me that will display the wisdom needed in all the different aspects of forgiveness.

  81. poohpity says:

    Also Steve in accordance with 1 John 1:9.

  82. poohpity says:

    and Luke 17:1-5 rebuke your brother if he sins and forgive him if he is sorry. I think that implies having a close enough relationship with them to be able to do that.

  83. oneg2dblu says:

    Dear Bloggers… I am taking 40 days off!
    First, it takes 30 days to break a bad habit.
    I have reflected BAD behavior, in participating in the back and forth, on relativly petty arguments.
    I need time to reflect in a healthy way, and resist
    the evil, that has trapped me! I sincerely believe 1 Corithians 10:!3 So, my reaction to the red flag of that evil, has caused me to shut my mouth, s oI can stand up under it!
    I will participate through Prayer only, on all future blog discussions, as to not rile up others, and make them also act out, in a back and forth.
    Please forgive me, which is also by the way, right on topic! In His Love, Gary 1-21-11

  84. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, I know you are very busy and have limited time with such a demanding challenge of care giving. But I’m trying to figure out how you handle texts like i.e. Luke 17:1-5, or where you find in Scripture that forgiveness is primarily for the giver. Are you including Christ-like forgiveness (i.e. Godly). Is that the motive of our Father or Savior? I tried to answer Charis’ questions on the same issue at 7:49 pm on the 20th. I know you have such a deep commitment to Scripture and sense how uncomfortable you are when I talk about ideas that you see as “psychological”… Which is why I’m surprised that you say that forgiveness is mainly for the giver… Rather than a wonderful side benefit of loving in truth.

  85. plumbape says:

    One of the problems with people is we live in this post-modern civilized culture and we have all these rights. So if someone steals something from me should I have them put in jail or offer them something more..? “assuming I know who did it” I mean, didn’t Jesus say if they take your cloak, give them your tunic also. We get offended by some of the most petty stuff. Well someone said this or that and that isn’t right….. when we probably deserve a slap in the face once in awhile. Then we could offer the other cheek right? That is right after we have them arrested for battery.

    How about modern day Jesus Freaks…? In India the pastor on Sunday after service learns that they burnt the church down. When confronted by the hindus they were told next time it might be your house with you in it. After a while finally the police show up and they arrest the pastor for starting a disturbance.

    I don’t know what to think some times…. confused
    The white skin monkey in Indy

  86. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    I am pleased you spoke directly to Steve today.
    Steve is a bible scholar, as are you!
    There is so much bickering on this site as to make it hard for a healthy discussion.
    I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am finding it difficult to contribute here without being personal.
    I mention Gary, who keeps saying he is going to quit but never does.
    I find this place a blessing and have grown in Christ because of your tollerance and patience.
    I am relatively new here compared to some.


  87. poohpity says:

    Michael, in Matthew 5:38-41 I believe is speaking about retaliation. 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[c] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.

    There are times I have over the years been confused about showing mercy and have found that it is different than forgiveness. I think forgiveness is giving up the right to punish but it does not take away the consequences of the sin. Or lovingly helping someone to take responsibility for their sin so that it may invoke change.

  88. kaliko88 says:

    Maybe it’s actually that there’s a time to withhold knowledge of forgiveness? I do not think I could tell someone that I forgive them until I actually do. And there are at least a couple of instances in my life where someone has wronged me but not admitted it. I suppose I’ve taken the first step in the process by forgiving them in my heart, letting the hurt go, and being willing to pray for them. But the process will not be quite finished until a time comes up where they show repentence and/or ask for forgiveness and I can tell them I already did. I was just waiting to be able to tell them.

    Isn’t that what really happens in the beginning of our relationship with Jesus? We discover our need for forgiveness, however long it takes, and ask for it, and he says, “I already did.”

  89. Mart De Haan says:

    Thanks, Bob,
    With patience and grace an experience like this gives us all have so much to learn about ourselves, one another, and our God!!

  90. Mart De Haan says:

    Poohpity, I agree that while forgiveness can itself be an act of mercy, mercy (or showing undeserved kindness to relieve the misery of another) includes so many other expressions.

    I think this discussion also shows why knowledge alone does not explain the “whens” and “whys” of forgiveness. It requires the wisdom of God. We need the help and insight of the Spirit to know how to use knowledge to reach a desired goal.

    That raises the issue of the goal. Is the goal to help ourselves or the other person by graciously and courageously loving them? The latter seems to require the Spirit of Christ even more than being willing to “let it go” for our own sake.

  91. poohpity says:

    I also think that “letting it go” never really happens for us. I know the Lord does not count the forgiven sin against us but by God being all knowing I do not think that he forgets. It would seem when we say we push things under the carpet at sometime it surfaces again and at a time when it may cause an eruption of anger. I think that is why some issues have to be dealt with in a process of working through forgiveness so that it brings restoration if at all possible to the relationship.

    I would have to say for myself I have tried in my own strength to forgive someone who has committed a sin like stealing for instance and even looking at what I did in my past and the understanding of the forgiveness I once received it was just actually pushing it under the carpet and it has reared its ugly head again. So I am in the process of asking God to help me this time to deal with it and those booklets have helped so much. Everything that God asks me/us to do we really have to rely on His spirit to accomplish it because it is way over my head to do. The goal with all of it is hopefully restoration of a relationship. For anyone, if they ever do, to admit their wrong it seems to be more healing for everyone.

  92. poohpity says:

    But it takes a lot of courage to admit when we are wrong.

  93. plumbape says:

    Della in NEPA now I get it, thanks. I thought it might be some little country, lol…

    Deb, thanks for the reply. In response to wondering about DMG….
    Here is a riddle, she is in the house but a different room, lol. She had a boy and named him Evangel, how cool is that!! Praise God


  94. poohpity says:

    Thank you, Ape. Way cool!!! I take it she is doing well.

  95. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, I guess I am not being clear enough, sorry.

    Clearly forgiveness heals both the forgiver as well as the offender. Yet each one of us are only able to be responsible for our own actions.

    God requires us to be forgiving..Matthew 18:35

    Luke 17:1-5 clearly tells us, to tell someone if they have offend us, and then if they ask to be forgiven, forgive them….This point of scripture does not speak as to what to do if the offender does not ask for forgiveness…There are others that do.

    Luke 23:34, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Clearly no one ask for forgiveness yet Jesus shows us the way we are to be like Him…forgiving

    Acts 7:60 Stephen asks God to forgive those who kill him..Those who are stoning him have certainly not ask for forgiveness, yet Stephen is filled with the Holy Spirit and so forgave his killers.

    Matthew 6:12 In the Lords Prayer, Jesus states “Forive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

    This is unconditional.

    The results being, 6:15…If we don’t forgive we will not be forgiven.

    Luke 6: 27-38, Speaks to us having the heart to deal with those who have wronged us in any way.

    John 15:12 “Love onee another as I have loved you,”

    Jesus died for sinners yet unrepentant.

    I can go all over scripture to explain my stand, but the overall teaching tells me plainly that forgiveness begins with me. I must have a heart ready to forgive even if the offender is not asking or able to.

    I can pitty the offender, and follow after the Holy Spirit’s urging and give the matter to God and have peace…through forgiveness.


  96. SFDBWV says:

    I wanted to add Matthew 5:38-40 and vs 43-48.

    It has warmed up to 04 degrees, but for today no snow as yet.


  97. Charis says:

    Mart asked (4:28) (Is the goal to help ourselves or the other person by graciously and courageously loving them? The latter seems to require the Spirit of Christ even more than being willing to “let it go” for our own sake.- Mart

    I’ve been thinking about this topic of forgiveness. Earlier I mentioned the realization (which I had while thinking about this during my looong drives back and forth to school) that the “letting go” is like what they call “detachment” in recovery circles. Hanging onto an offense will cause bitterness which really interferes with our relationship with God! One resource I read put it this way:

    “In order to take hold of God’s hand, you must let go of your debtor’s throat. -Bob Kerrey

    Kerry also points out that the (unconditional) “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others” comes in the context of the Lord’s Prayer. Failure to forgive will affect the rest of God’s intention for us as believers here on this earth “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Hanging onto bitterness and resentment does not make us an accurate reflection of God who is LOVE. We are to LOVE even our ENEMIES!

    Forgiveness does not necessarily include trusting the person who has offended against us nor reconciling with them. Nor does it mean all the hurt and pain is resolved. Joseph forgave his brothers for what they had done to him, but he still had pain (Gen 42:24) and he did not trust them (Gen 42:16).

    While we are to forgive unconditionally, reconciliation is clearly conditional. The example of the man involved in sexual sin which you used in the OP. Paul tells them to put him out of the church for his flesh to be consumed that his Spirit might be saved. In the same context, Paul gives some general guidelines for other cases where physical separation from the offender is indicated: “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[a] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 1 Cor 5:11

    Not having good boundaries with offenders,
    allowing abuse and injustice to continue,
    allowing myself to be a doormat (confusing that with “forgiveness”)
    is the opposite of “courageously loving”. It violates God’s will and fails at bringing about “thy Kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven” every bit as much as not forgiving them their trespasses as God has forgiven me.

  98. Charis says:

    Mart said in part (Jan 20 7:49): In our Lord’s instruction to pray I believe he is once again teaching us how to pray for the ability to love others as he has loved us. At the minimum, he is saying that Our Father will have issues with us if we withhold forgiveness from someone who appeals to us for mercy (i.e. His parable of the debtor who was forgiven of a huge debt but refused to extend the same mercy to someone who begged him to forgive a very small debt).

    Let me ask you what you do with Jesus very specific instruction in Luke 17:1-5 on when to forgive (I assume for the sake of love). This teaching of Luke 17 is consistent enough with other biblical texts that theologians of the past emphasized the place and time to lovingly withhold forgiveness (as Paul instructed the Corinthians to do with the brother living in an incestuous relationship). -Mart

    Sorry, I missed this first time through.

    The Pastor Kerrey whom I mentioned above makes a distinction between:

    =>judicial forgiveness- which only God can give;

    =>psychological forgiveness- which I am required to give unconditionally or it will interfere with my relationship with God

    =>relational forgiveness- which is the conditional forgiveness of Luke 17:3

    We have been in Matthew 18 (for family devos) which parallels Luke 17 in some aspects. But the millstone around his neck for causing one of these little ones to stumble is adjacent to “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.”

    and only a few paragraphs down is the parable of the unjust servant where he is forgiven much but fails to forgive:

    “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
    ‘So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses'” Matt 18:34-35

    I wonder if “the torturers”, “the torment” is the bitterness and resentment which hold people in bondage if they are unforgiving?

    OTH, We were all struck by how serious Jesus takes offenses! My 8 year old made a chain saw motion with his hand cutting off arm. We would be better off with a millstone @ neck and thrown into the sea than offending against someone! But, aren’t we ALL guilty? Haven’t we ALL missed the mark? I wonder if the hand, foot, and eye chopped out and the death in the sea are metaphors for putting the flesh to death?

  99. poohpity says:

    Steve said, “I can go all over scripture to explain my stand, but the overall teaching tells me plainly that forgiveness begins with me.”

    I would argue that forgiveness will never begin with the person that is a divine gift that begins, rests and is initiated totally with God. The only way we can truly and totally forgive is with the help of the Holy Spirit. I would give a further explanation but you still have not forgiven me from the past times I have not agreed with you which continues to cause a division in our relationship.

  100. SFDBWV says:

    Yes pooh I know you like to argue….How do you know whether or not I have foriven you for past trespasses?

    I have simply ask you not to corrospond with me via email any longer because all you want to do is insult me, attack me, and argue.

    I tried to make peace with you but you refused.

    So I have forgiven you and moved on.


  101. tracey5tgbtg says:

    2 Corinthians 2:10-11 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven – if there was anything to forgive – I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

    Ephesians 6:12 For out struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    I feel so strongly that God calls us to forgive those who sin against us so that Satan cannot deceive us into hatred and judgement of our brother. When we have that attitude, we become sinners ourselves, which is what Satan wants. But when we let go of our pain, and ask for God’s peace, that does not mean the offender is now off the hook.

    When we see a fellow believer in something we know is sinful, we are told to rebuke them for their own sake, so hopefully they will seek the forgiveness of God, who is the only one who can forgive their sin.

    All sin is against God. We may feel that we have been hurt by something someone has done, but in the end, they will not answer to us, they will answer to God.

  102. poohpity says:

    How do I still know you are angry with me because of what you just said. My emails were not insults, attacks or arguing I was going to a brother one on one and trying to resolve an issue. I did not bring it to this blog in front of anyone else but to you. I have not lost any love or respect for you but I feel the anger still remains towards me. Please forgive me for causing such a deep wound in your heart and so much anger.

  103. foreverblessed says:

    I have been out for afew days, how much was posted.
    Kaligo88, welcome back, and I can say amen to your comment on jan 21 3.59, the struggle of forgiving, the hurt that comes bac, the anger, and then again the plea for help to God, to help us forgive .

    BUt Mart is saying something else: to lovingly withhold forgiving….
    as to correctly interpret Luke 17:1-5
    But Mart, doesn’t the principle applay here:
    What the bible says,
    and what the bible does not say:

    It says here: You must forgive the other person when he asks you to forgive him
    The bible does NOT say here: Not to forgive him when he does not ask you for forgiveness.

    There is a difference.
    If we look at Luke 17 in this way, then all the other scriptures that Steve jan 21 11.43am, and others here brought up, that we always have to forgive in the heart perfectly fit.
    We forgive in the heart, but what we actually do with the offender is another thing, like Kaliko said, we are waiting with forgiveness in our heart, for the other person to come to us, and say, we have already forgiven you a long time ago.

  104. poohpity says:

    What happens to those who never admit they are wrong or harm they have done to others?

  105. Charis says:

    Deb (1:16pm),

    It would be better for them if they had a millstone @ their neck and be thrown into the sea.

    I think you might find “People of the Lie” by M. Scott Peck insightful. You can read a meaty preview on google books.

    Here’s some bits I found insightful.
    QUOTE: The poor in spirit do not commit evil. Evil is not committed by people who feel uncertain about their righteousness, who question their own motives, who worry about betraying themselves. The evil in this world is committed by the spiritual fat cats, by the Pharisees of our own day, the self-righteous who think they are without sin because they are unwilling to suffer the discomfort of significant self-examination.

    Unpleasant though it may be, the sense of personal sin is precisely that which keeps our sin from getting out of hand. It is quite painful at times, but it is a very great blessing because it is our one and only effective safeguard against our own proclivity for evil. Saint Therese of Lisieux put it so nicely in her gentle way: “If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter.~~*

    · . . There can be a state of soul against which Love itself is powerless because it has hardened itself against Love. Hell is essentially a state of being which we fashion for ourselves: a state of final separateness from God which is the result not of God’s repudiation of man, but of man’s repudiation of God, and a repudiation which is eternal precisely because it has become, in itself, immovable. There are analogies in human experience: the hate which is so blind, so dark, that Love only makes it the more violent; the pride which is so stony that humility only makes it more scornful; the inertia-last but not least the inertia-which has so taken possession of the personality that no crisis, no appeal, no inducement whatsoever, can stir it into activity, but on the contrary makes it bury itself the more deeply in its immobility. So with the soul and God; pride can become hardened into hell, hatred can become hardened into hell, any of the seven root forms of wrongdoing can harden into hell, and not least that sloth which is boredom with divine things, the inertia that cannot be troubled to repent, even though it sees the abyss into which the soul is falling, because for so long, in little ways perhaps, it has accustomed itself to refuse whatever might cost it an effort. May God in his mercy save us from that.*

    A predominant characteristic, however, of the behavior of those I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection. . .

    As soon as I criticize a part of myself I incur an obligation to change that part. But the process of personality change is a painful one. It is like a death. The old personality pattern must die for a new pattern to take its place.

    -M. Scott Peck

  106. foreverblessed says:

    Charis, thanks for the citations,
    I would like to add to the last couple of sentences:
    Dying to the old self is part of the forgiveness thing that is very important. When we think of what the other person has done to us, we get angry again, but if the old me is dead, the person that was hurt does not exist anymore.
    Or as Peck says: the old personality patter must die, that sounds more sensible. But maybe the old self is more of the truth. THe person that was hurt is dead, a new person has arisen in Christ.
    A new life.

  107. foreverblessed says:

    THere is also a difference in forgiveness, and reconciliation.
    WHen a person is really repentant about what he/she has done to the other, then there is a room for reconcilitation.
    Pooh, I also liked the example of Joseph and his brothers.
    He tested them before he was reconciled to them. Quite an example. There is a person in my vicinity that just walked over me, when he was younger, I tried to tell him, but he does not understand what I want to say. So no reconciliation, not even an I am sorry kind of thing. When that person wanted contact with me again, he started to talk and talk, about himself, and … I had to stop him, thinking, this is the old patters again, he is not interested in me, only in his own life. So I told him that. And he was hurt.
    Later that night I had to pray: God that was really hard. And then the answer came: Joseph had to be hard to his brothers too.
    If you read the story in Genesis 42 to 45, Joseph is really very hard, 3 times they are tested, 3 times they are sent away again till Juda starts to talk Genesis 44:27-33, telling how much their father has suffered from losing a son,
    then Joseph knew that the brothers really realised what tragedy they had created by selling Joseph to Egyptians.

    And then in chaptre 45 is the reconciliation.
    Maybe this is what Mart means, to be wise.
    ANd to be led by the Holy Spirit as to what action have to be taken, or not to be taken.

  108. poohpity says:

    Thank you Charis. I totally understand and agree with Peck. The sad part is they never seem to really get it. Those are the one’s who fail to see the real significance of who we all are at the foot of the Cross. Can you say “Pride”. When it is confronted Peck is right they lash out at you and are unable to identify any error on their part.

  109. poohpity says:

    Yes it is, foreverblessed.

  110. poohpity says:

    I also think that is why Paul said for those who are spiritual to confront someone on their sin because they should be aware of their own weaknesses just like he explained about his in Romans 7. Proverbs is also full of wisdom about how to take it when someone confronts a person with a sin that it is like honey for the soul.

  111. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Mart said, “But if a person wrongs knowingly and significantly enough to do relational damage, then while love remains unconditional, that same love in wisdom does not just “forgive the offense” as if the wrong were not an issue.”

    I just want to say (again) that I would definitely need the Holy Spirit’s help in order to love someone who continued to (knowingly) do wrong towards me; it would be very difficult for me to just “forgive the offense.” I would need God’s help to forgive that person, and I understand (in a more meaningful way) that it wouldn’t matter if the person who was doing me wrong *honored* the forgiveness that I extended because I would have received supernatural power from God in order to do so.

    Still not understanding the *withholding forgiveness* thing though. I (we) need the Holy Spirit’s help in order to forgive on any level. I’m having difficulty reconciling, “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” with withholding forgiveness.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know that if the Holy Spirit empowers me to forgive someone who wronged me, that’s not a guarantee that they’re going to admit to their wrongdoing or change their behavior. I recently read a passage (in Psalm 35)on how King David handled mistreatment at the hands of his enemies, and I want to share it with you:

    Psalm 35:11-18, NLT
    11) Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. 12) They repay me evil for good. I am sick with despair. 13) Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. 14) I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. 15) But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don’t even know;
    they slander me constantly. 16) They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me. 17) How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! 18) Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people.

  112. Regina says:

    Wanted to point out (in my previous post) that even though David prayed and fasted for his enemies when they got sick, they did not change their behavior towards him. They continued to mistreat him when they recovered, but David continued to pray. His attitude in the midst of adversity reminds me of Gal. 6:9 NKJV, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

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