Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 195 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalms 7 and 8 today and our focus is on whether or not we must forgive people who have not asked and have not repented. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
I was out for a long walk near the beach recently, and listened to two things. First, I finished up a fantastic Thom Rainer book on becoming a welcoming church, and second a true crime podcast (True Crime Garage) about a particularly loathsome and evil murderer who murdered 2 teenage boys (14 and 16 years old) and is completely and totally unrepentant. In fact, even after being caught and charged, this accused murderer has had to be restrained in court (including having a mask shield put on his face) because he spat in the face of his own lawyer. His trial has been delayed multiple times because he keeps firing his lawyers and mouthing off against the judges in the courtroom. The podcast included snippets of him talking in court, and he just sounded like a terrible, terrible person – completely unremorseful, defiant, unrepentant and taunting. The mother of the two boys killed said something that really got me thinking – she said she knows she’s supposed to forgive, because that is what she learned in church, but that it was really hard to forgive such a man. I was struck by her statement. Forgiveness is indeed commanded and modeled by Jesus. One of my favorite books is Total Forgiveness by pastor R.T. Kendall, and if you go back and search Bible2021.c0m and Biblereadingpodcast.com, You’ll find I’ve spoken passionately about forgiveness many, many times – but, must we forgive people who are completely unrepentant, defiant, unremorseful and still determined to keep doing the wrong they are doing? That is a most interesting question. Consider teachings of Jesus such as:
Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. Mark 11:25
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:15
and even a warning, in Matthew 18: 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”
We also have Paul’s teachings on forgiveness:
31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:31-32
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Colossians 3:12-13
And then we have Luke 17: 3 Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Forgiveness is obviously important…but does God forgive those who are not repentant or remorseful for their sin? Let’s read our Psalms today and find out.
So – must we forgive the unrepentant, or should we withhold forgiveness until their is repentance and remorse? That seems to be the direction Luke 17 is pointing us. The website Gotquestions.org tackled this question and concluded:
Scripture says to forgive others as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32) and love one another as we are loved (John 13:34). We should be willing and ready to extend forgiveness to anyone who comes to us confessing his sin and repenting (Matthew 6:14–15; 18:23–35; Ephesians 4:31–32; Colossians 3:13). Not only is this an obligation, but it should be our delight. If we are truly thankful for our own forgiveness, we should have no hesitancy in granting forgiveness to a repentant offender, even if he wrongs us and repents again and again. After all, we, too, sin again and again, and we are thankful that God forgives us when we come to Him with a true repentant heart of confession.
That brings us to the question at hand: should we forgive a person who does not confess his sin and is not repentant? …
Biblically, full forgiveness is not just something that the offended person offers; it requires that the offender receives it, bringing reconciliation to the relationship. First John 1:9 shows that the process of forgiveness is primarily to free the sinner; forgiveness ends the rejection, thus reconciling the relationship. This is why we must be willing to forgive others—if we aren’t willing to forgive, we refuse to allow others to enjoy what God has blessed us with. Modern pop psychology has wrongly taught that “forgiveness” is one-sided, that reconciliation is unnecessary, and that the purpose of this unilateral forgiveness is to free the offended person of feelings of bitterness.
While we must not harbor bitterness in our hearts (Hebrews 12:15) or repay evil for evil (1 Peter 3:9), we should make sure we follow God’s lead and not extend forgiveness to the unrepentant. In short, we should withhold forgiveness from those who do not confess and repent; at the same time, we should extend the offer of forgiveness and maintain an attitude of readiness to forgive…If “forgiveness” is given prematurely without the prerequisites of confession and repentance, then the truth has not been dealt with openly by both parties. If the offender doesn’t acknowledge his sin, then he really does not understand what it means to be forgiven. In the long run, bypassing confession or repentance doesn’t help the offender to understand the significance of sin, and it precludes a sense of justice, causing the offended person to battle even more against bitterness.
Here are some key guidelines for godly forgiveness:
– acknowledge the fact of evil (Romans 12:9)
– leave vengeance to the Lord (verse 19)
– leave no room for bitterness, revenge, grudges, or retaliation
– have a heart ready to forgive at a moment’s notice
– trust God to give you the ability to overcome evil with good, even to love and feed an enemy (verses 20–21)
– remember that God has instituted governing authorities, and part of their God-given role is to be “God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). One reason you don’t have to avenge yourself is that God has authorized government to provide justice.
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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