Should we forgive those who do not repent?

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by Romans922, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. Yes

    46 vote(s)
  2. No

    18 vote(s)
  3. Other

    7 vote(s)
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  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Should we?
  2. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Yes, our forgiveness should be contingent on God's forgiving us. If a person doesn't repent then his problem is with God. God will judge the unrepentant.

    Matt. 6:12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    Rom 12:Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
  3. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    But isn't God's forgiveness of us contingent upon our repentance? Therefore if our forgiveness is to be like God's perhaps we should only forgive the repentant.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, just playing "devil's advocate" because that's the thought that came into my mind when you said that our forgiveness is contingent upon God's.

    P1 God's forgiveness is our model
    P2 God only forgives the repentant (that's why he forgave us)

    C We should only forgive the repentant


    [bible] Luke 17:3-4[/bible]
  4. Simply_Nikki

    Simply_Nikki Puritan Board Junior

    Don't know if what I was taught wrong, but I thought we should always be willing to forgive others, but if others sin against us and do not repent we do not have the obligation to forgive them, until they repent.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2007
  5. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It may depend on what one means by "forgive." If by "forgive" you mean that the person is entitled to the same privileges they had before the offense, the I don't think anyone would say that we should forgive the unrepentant. This would do away with church discipline altogether. Also, I may be able to "let go of my anger" toward a person who has wronged me, but if they don't repentant I wouldn't want to be friends with them anymore.
  6. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    God grants repentance, he doesn't reward it. God demonstrates his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    From the cross Christ prayed, 'forgive them, they know not what they are doing'.

    We are not God. If someone slaps us on the cheek, we offer the other. If someone demands our jacket, we give them our shirt. We are to pray for our enemies. These things all go against the norm. We love because he first loved us, we forgive because he first forgave us. These are the marks of a Christian.

    I will go along with the sentiment that we are to forgive only those who repent if you can show me the scripture. I already know what the popular teaching is. I'm not being argumentative, I just want to see the scripture that validates the easy way.
  7. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    But no one is saying that repentance is a meritorious work. We're just saying that it's a necessary one. Of course God's forgiveness of our sin isn't a reward for our repentance, but without repentance God will not forgive us.

    This is the one I was looking at earlier.

    [bible]Luke 17:3-4[/bible]
  8. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Jesus set the example as he prayed from the cross, Stephen followed that example in Acts 7:59

    Stephen was not looking at an OPTION to forgive he was carrying out the command to forgive.

    Forgiveness or our neighbor (image of God) is a CHOICE based on God's forgiveness of his elect. There is no need for a qualifier.
  9. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    David, the Luke 17 passage is an excellent verse to bolster the argument for making forgiveness contingent on repentance. That's the one I would use. But now you must balance it against Mark 11:25
    Is Jesus split? Either scripture is contradicting here or there are two different kinds of forgiveness. So where do you go now?
  10. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I suppose I would want to know what it really means to forgive someone. Earlier I said this:

    Can we distinguish two kinds of forgiveness? This came into my mind again when you quoted Christ on the Cross. When Christ asked the Father to forgive all the people there, it obviously doesn't mean "forgive" in the first sense I mentioned, because not everyone about whom he was speaking (as far as I know) was forgiven of their sins and granted eternal life. I can forgive people for doing cruel things to me in one sense, that is, I can stop holding a grudge against them. But I'm not going to let someone who sins against me without repentance be someone to whom I entrust myself in any real way. And this is how it is ultimately between God and unrepentant sinners. That's why I was wondering if it's possible to speak about forgiveness in the context of actual reconciliation as well as within the context of letting go of any personal grudge a person may hold. So in Luke 17, when the person repents of his sin, we are supposed to remain in fellowship with them. This would be the same in situations of church discipline. However, if we were to forgive people in the fullest sense of the word who are unrepentant, wouldn't that undermine church discipline and our duty to "shun the immoral brother" as well as stay away from dangerous characters in general?
  11. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I think you've hit the answer square David. The one forgiveness (Mark), in which we release the penalty and responsibility to God, saves us from our own anger. This would hurt the fellowship of the body.

    Meanwhile the other forgiveness (Luke) brings real reconciliation between members of the body. So this poll is really dependent on which forgiveness we are speaking of. I answered 'yes' based on Mark 11, those who answer 'no' are thinking of Luke 17.

    This is why I love this board. Working together we always come away from scripture having gained so much more than we would have on our own.

    Good night David.
  12. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :agree: :amen: good night! :handshake:
  13. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, we should forgive, even IF they are unrepentant...

    I would refer to Matthew 6:14-15

    "And if ye forgive men their trespasses, Your heavenly Father will also forgive you; BUT IF ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive Your trespasses."

    I think there is a misconception people have concerning forgiveness and reconcilation, thinking they are the same thing, but they aren't...they are two very different things.

    I can forgive someone who has hurt me, and yet set boundaries on the type of relationship I have with them if they refuse to repent.

    Reconciliation should ONLY happen when both parties agree (confess) to the wrongs committed--and turn away from those behaviors.

    Even looking at God's forgiveness, He forgives, yet, there isn't reconcilitation UNTIL the person confesses (agrees with God about His sin), and repents. Jesus said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"

    So God forgave, even though they didn't understand what they did wrong, but even then the reconciliation didn't happen, UNTIL they/we confessed and repented.
  14. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Are these passages really dealing with people who are not repentant? Or are they dealing with people who are repentant and the point being made is 'dont hold a grudge'?
  15. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Good night, Chet.

    (older folks will get it)
  16. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    [cricket noises in background]Goodnight...[/cricket noises in background]
  17. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    Considering they come right after the Lords Prayer, I would say it doesn't matter.

    WE as Christians are to forgive, even if the other person isn't repentant.

    Isn't that loving our neighbor as you love ourself? And doing unto others as we would want them to do to us?

    Is there sin against us, greater than their sin against God?

    Are we not supposed to be examples of Christ's love of forgiveness?

    Forgiving even when someone doesn't deserve to be forgiven because they haven't repented?

    Do WE deserve to be forgiven by God for our sins against Him?

    No, but yet He forgives, even if we don't acknowledge our sinfulness...the difference is, there is no reconciliation until we acknowledge our sinfullness.
  18. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    You know, with all those kids in that family, I always wondered how many bathrooms they had in that house.
  19. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    So when someone has committed adultery and is unrepentant and they come before church discipline and are unrepentant and they are excommunicated.

    I don't see forgiveness in this. I see the willingness to forgive and an attempt being made to restore the person, but the person is still unrepentant and we treat him as a taxcollector..etc. Willing and Wanting to forgive but can't because the person won't repent.
  20. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Could you clarify this? The idea that God has forgiven all but they can only realize their forgiveness and be reconciled to Him if they turn sounds patently Arminian. Wouldn't it be that God forgives us and reconciles us only after we've acknowledged our sinfulness?
  21. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Besides, the argument that Jesus says, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do' is invalid. Just because Jesus calls for the Father to forgive them doesn't mean it will actually happen. It is easy to see Jesus' desire for forgiveness, and I am sure He wants their repentance, but it is obvious that probably many of those people there did not repent and therefore were not forgiven. Some yes, did repent, were forgiven. But God obviously doesn't forgive everyone! If it were so, all would be saved. But that is not so, Christ did not die for all. God wills them to repent, they repent, they are forgiven. Jesus' prayer is that, a desire, a want, but it can't be mistaken for actually forgiveness. Forgiveness comes through the cross, we all know this.
  22. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Andrew, I associate Christs request from the cross with this verse from Matthew (and Luke) 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

    The arminians like to say this verse shows that grace can be resisted, sinking the "I" in TULIP. But Christ is here speaking TO the religious leaders. These men stood in the way of letting the people come to Jesus. They tried to thwart God's redemptive plan and delivered Jesus to the Romans for crucifixion.

    Hence, Jesus is asking God not to hold the actual crucifixion against the Romans and the people of Jerusalem but let the responsibility fall upon the religious leaders. Let their house (Temple economy, sacrificial system, temple itlself) be made desolate.

  23. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Ok, that works too, I was just pointing out that many people use that case to attempt to prove that we should forgive even when there is no repentance.
  24. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Would you agree with the conclusion we reached last night, that forgiveness of those who do not repent consists in not holding bitterness in one's own heart against that person yet remaining publicly unreconciled?
  25. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I would say that I agree with the concept but I wouldn't attribute the word 'forgiveness' to that concept. I think 'forgiveness' is defined differently.

    I don't think it is strictly emotional, and I don't think that Scripture uses 'forgive' in more than one way (I could be wrong obviously).
  26. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    I believe Bobbi spoke well when she noted the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. I can forgive those that have sinned against me, that has to do with my own heart...but we cannot be reconciled until they have repented, confessed, and sought forgiveness, that has to do directly with their wrongdoing (and vise versa as we are prone to wrong as well).
  27. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Sorry, but isn't forgiveness pardoning someone of their sin? If we are to mimic God, how can we pardon someone who is unrepentant (not saying we are God)?
  28. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Andrew, I appreciate your caution regarding defining the words of scripture but you must remember that the definition of the word is made up of etymology, usage at the time and context. In scripture context is supremely important. So 'forgiveness' can have and does have more than one meaning in scripture.

    Again, the Matt and Luke passages contradict each other if you do not pay attention to the context.
  29. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    We don't, we release the responsibility of pardoning to God so that we will not be hobbled by a grudge and be consumed by our anger.

    We look for an opportunity, without bitterness and in response to God's command to be reconciled. This reconciliation is brought about by repentance and forgiveness.
  30. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

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