Refusing to Forgive



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  • Refusing to Forgive

    I belong to a forum and a fellow member posted this:

    My Grandmother passed recently after a fight with cancer. She will be greatly missed!

    Listen to this story though. I wanted to post this for others to read because I am very upset with something that recently happened.

    First off I had an uncle who was murdered back in 1991 while camping with his fiance in a state forest. My uncle was my grandmother's youngest son. After my grandfather had passed in 1997 my grandmother began going to a local Nazarene church off and on. She was approached by the church to give forgiveness to her sons murderer now spending life in prison.

    She said she would never forgive him. Over the past 11 years she had been approached by many people from the church about forgiving the murder. She told them she would never forgive him for what he took away from our family.

    On her death bed last week, the priest from the church visited my grandmother and told her if she did not forgive the murderer that she would go to hell! I wasn't there at the time but there were other family members visiting at the time and the priest almost got his *** kicked right in the hospital!!!

    I just had to get that off my chest. It about made me sick when I heard about this today on Christmas Eve. By the way, I will never forgive him and niether will any of my other family members. I don't care what any church says!

    What can I do to help him realize that we have to forgive others or God will not forgive us. I know he is hurting.

  • #2
    Response to Refusal to Forgive

    Two points regarding your post.

    A) The Grandmother most likely does not know Christ, nor this person posting. Just because someone says they go to church doesn’t mean they are Christians. First and foremost, forgiveness is the other side of the coin of love, and each give testimony to the other. If I say I love people but don’t forgive others, I deceive myself. If I claim I am rightly positioned in Christ, but do not forgive another, again, I deceive myself. It is quite one thing to struggle with resentment, while realizing one should forgive someone, quite another for a person to say I will never forgive them. It is possible for a person to be a new convert and struggle with the choice, but anyone who has been approached by the church about forgiveness has had sufficient truth presented according the Scripture. They are without excuse and shall face dire spiritual consequences internally and potentially eternally.

    B) You may or may not be able to help this person. Except a person be granted a new nature through Christ’s residing Spirit, they cannot possibly comprehend the spiritual truths like a regenerated soul can. The spiritual truths Christ taught are foreign to the world’s way of thinking. A worldly mind cannot comprehend spiritual precepts and all efforts to convey them will meet with scorn.

    It is never anyone’s place stating who will or will not go to hell. Maybe a person might be on a fast track to it, but anything can happen to steer them into being the most profound Saint. Therefore, if anyone declares who is going to hell, they are speaking without the Spirit’s counsel.

    You may recall Alexander Pope’s well-known words: “To err is human, to forgive — divine.”

    Matthew 6:14-15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” And indeed, this concept would conclude that a person is flirting with eternal separation from God because: If you are in Christ, forgiveness is not an option, if you are not in Christ, forgiveness is an option testifying that the person probably is not saved thus potentially bound for eternal separation.

    St. Matthew’s Gospel, for example, includes the parable of the king — evidently an image for God — who had a servant who was greatly in debt to him. He decided to punish him, but he was moved with pity when the man pleaded for more time to pay, and so cancelled the debt. But this servant then met a fellow servant who owed him a trifling sum. He demanded to be paid, and when this man in his turn asked for more time, he refused and had him thrown into prison. When the king heard, he reacted severely and had him punished. He told him: “Were you not bound to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” Matthew 18: 21-35.

    In that same Gospel passage, Peter asks Jesus how often we are expected to forgive. “As often as seven times?” he inquires. “Not seven, I tell you,” comes the reply, “but seventy-seven times.” Jesus is not advising Peter to keep counting, so that on the seventy-eighth occasion he can retaliate. He is teaching him that there is no limit to the forgiveness he should offer. That is what reveals forgiveness as divine.

    C.S. Lewis observed, “Forgiveness is a beautiful word, until you have something to forgive.”

    In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church the Apostle stresses the importance of forgiving others of their offense against us so that Satan will not get an advantage in our lives. Refusing to forgive others is like building a four-lane highway with no speed limit signs for Satan to take control of our lives. And take control he does. Failure to forgive creates chains of emotional and spiritual bondage.

    Forgiveness is a choice we have to make by our own will, but it is empowered and made complete by the residing Holy Spirit. God instructs us to forgive. We must choose to face and deal with the hurt in order to forgive from the heart. There are times we may say, I just cannot forgive that person for what they did. Is that really true? The truth is, we may not feel like forgiving, but we can choose to forgive. Why? Because God has told us to and he will not tell us to do something that we are not able to do.

    It is very difficult for us to simply forgive. We have that sense of justice within us that tells us that this particular wrong must be made right. Remember this, God is absolutely just and righteous, but he forgives our sins on the basis what his son did on the cross of Calvary, and he tells us to forgive on the same basis.

    We rejoice in God’s gracious forgiveness of our sin against him. But then we are often unwilling to grant that same gracious forgiveness to others. We want revenge for wrongs done to us. We want our “pound of flesh.” But the Bible tells us not to seek revenge. Romans 12:19 says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

    It is also possible and often necessary to forgive but not seek communion with a violent or abusive offender. forgiveness is about letting a situation go and not allowing it to have power to control or interfere with your life. If what the person has done is violent or abusive conduct that results in damage to yourself or others, then it may be prudent not to allow them back in your life to cause more harm. Especially if it is a cycle of remorse followed by repeat behavior. In this one can surmize the offender has deep problems that need assistance. However, first and foremost, the concept of forgiveness is to release all judgment, malice, ill will and contempt against another, and to freely receive them again as a part of your life. There are many variables to any situation, and each has to be approached uniquely in accordance to Scripture.

    The bottom line is forgiveness is as much an issue between us and God as it is between us and the offender. When we struggle with forgiveness, we need to remember the cross. Consider God’s amazing example of forgiveness and be willing to do the same.


    • #3
      Thoughts on Forgiveness

      So sad but most often the way of our human life.

      I recently listened to a discussion about forgiveness that was very much to this point. The person was telling that the word “sorry” was never to be used in their house. Instead, only “please forgive me” was to be said between the parties involved. The act of forgiveness invites both people to partake of the act of forgiveness that must always include that most certain love of God.

      Sin is never a personal fault, it is always communal. Our first parents showed us this in their/our sin and we will always share somewhat in this life of choice simply because of the great love of the Father. That said, the Incarnation was the first sign of how we are to begin a spiritual life, but only through the suffering then death can we rejoice in the resurrection.

      Lots more need be said about forgiveness, especially in our troubled times. My the blessings of almighty God be upon all those afflicted with the pain of suffering, He has shown us with His love how to endure!
      Also known historically as St. Clair Glass


      • #4
        Unforgiveness Damages the Whole Person

        Just my tidbit to the discussion.

        In reality to forgive someone like this is really hard, especially over something so traumatic like the loss of a son or daughter. When we do not forgive, we are in a sense being the person's judge, and in a sense taking on the role of God. When we forgive from the heart we are giving the issue over to God, allowing his awesome power to heal not only our wounds, but the wounds of the murderer.

        Holding on to unforgiveness does not do any good psycologically as it will eat away at the victims mind, body, and spirit. Just because you forgive someone, it does not mean that you have to forget or even pardon the incident. I do not think that God would expect you to have a normal relationship with your child's murderer. Forgiveness is recognizing that only God can heal the wounds of sin.


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