Saturday, April 08, 2006

Forgiveness again

Azalias are out and so are the tulips. Blue periwinkle flowers are creeping over the flower beds and buttercups on the compost heap. Spring is really here.

I spent the afternoon repairing window frames. Nasty blisters had begun appearing in the paintwork. Sanding down the paint I found that those expensive decorators who did the job last time had not prepared the wood properly. It needed paring down to bare wood, cutting out areas of wet rot, treating with hardener, filling with a special filler and sanding down. I did about half the job in 6 hours. Interruptions came in the form of a dish cloth jamming the waste disposal unit and the boiler blowing out. Such are the joys of being a house owner.

But I had a reply from Ben Witherington on forgiveness. Readers interested in religion might try his site at . He says that we are commanded to forgive in the Lord's Prayer - forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Although forgiveness has to be accepted for the deal to be done, that is beside the point. It is our job to offer it. I think he is right.

So, decorators everywhere: I forgive you.


Vance Esler said...

Yes, but technically the Lord's Prayer does not specify that we must forgive those who are unrepentant and who do not seek forgiveness. The implication is that we must be willing to forgive those who seek it IF we want God to forgive us when we seek it from Him. That is, why should God forgive us if we refuse to pardon those who have offended us?

Having said that, I think one can get hung up on the technicalities. It is the heart that matters. And in simple terms, God sought us out while we were dead in our sins because He loves us. If we are to be like Him, then we, too, should be quick to love others and to be ready to offer forgiveness when we have been wronged.

But I think you are right when you pointed out that we can't complete the transaction if the offending party does not ask to be forgiven.

I think the ideas are complimentary, not mutually exclusive.

Terry Hamblin said...

This is why the suicide bomber is such a difficult case. God's forgiveness is contingent on it being accepted in this life. The offer is withdrawn if it has not been accepted by the time the person dies. (Indeed when we read of Pharoah hardening his heart and then God hardening Pharoah's heart there is a sense that enough rejections in this life mean that the offer is effectively withdrawn). There is no second chance after death. With a suicide bomber, there is no one left to forgive. This is doubly heinous crime because it denies the injured party the ability to offer forgiveness.

What I am more concerned with is the healing of the injured party. He or she needs completion. I think the only answer is to take it to God in prayer and leave it with Him and ask for strength to move on. I know of people of my parents' generation who still say that they could never forgive the Germans. That is the route to a bitter old age.

forgive and let go said...

Thanks for the blog. There is a free Forgiving CD at that can be a lot of help.

anxiety said...

Forgiving, letting go--releasing fear and so on can be so difficult and yet so easy if the mind just attends to a little re-training. There are some free subliminal and hypnosis programs for these issues at and they helped me.