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How does forgiveness work?

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posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 02:18 AM
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Just a couple questions from an admitted novice on religion. I'm talking Christianity here since that is the predominant religion in the US:

1. When someone offends us, are we supposed to forgive them automatically or do they need to request our forgiveness before we must forgive them?

2. When someone sins (offends God), are they required to ask for forgiveness or will God forgive them automatically?


Please keep it simple and to the point. I'm curious.




posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 03:04 AM
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By all means, I am not God but I more than usually feel his presence and his desire when it comes to forgiveness. With humans it seems to be traditional that forgiveness comes through asking for it, because we have a desire that we are wronged and need at the very least a repayment. Sometimes, you see this isn't enough and people want compensation in monetary terms, but in some cases money can't buy back what is lost. If your child was killed, a settlement can hardly make restitution and really saying sorry cannot do it justice either. Forgiveness is divine empowerment that is attributed to God. To forgive without it being asked is one of the ultimate saving powers of God and being considered of his image, this must be clearly understood. Human logic cannot enter into the equation for no human can truly compensate each other for their actions in every way. This is why we are offered salvation through forgiveness by forgiving others. If we cannot realize our own forgiveness that God has given us, then there is no way we can pass it on to others.

So to answer your questions in short, if someone offends you, if you need them to ask for forgiveness, then it is you who haven't forgiven them first. Otherwise you wouldn't need this.

Number two. This is very much like number one and is identical. If God wants you to ask for forgiveness, then you are admitting you are with sin and have offended God. At least since the Spirit of Holiness was revealed to us that we have no excuse regarding sin, but that all sin has already been forgiven; past, present, and future. If you don't believe this then you are saying that you still need forgiveness and you have to ask. God doesn't need your confession and admission of guilt, but wants you to know that you are already saved, then it becomes automatic, because then you are able to "see" that everyone else is forgiven as well. The truth shall set you free and everyone else as well.

In our world, seeing is believing, but in God's Kingdom believing is seeing.



posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 09:15 AM
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Originally posted by ben91069

So to answer your questions in short, if someone offends you, if you need them to ask for forgiveness, then it is you who haven't forgiven them first. Otherwise you wouldn't need this.

Number two. This is very much like number one and is identical. If God wants you to ask for forgiveness, then you are admitting you are with sin and have offended God. At least since the Spirit of Holiness was revealed to us that we have no excuse regarding sin, but that all sin has already been forgiven; past, present, and future. If you don't believe this then you are saying that you still need forgiveness and you have to ask. God doesn't need your confession and admission of guilt, but wants you to know that you are already saved, then it becomes automatic, because then you are able to "see" that everyone else is forgiven as well. The truth shall set you free and everyone else as well.

In our world, seeing is believing, but in God's Kingdom believing is seeing.





Heres what confuses me:

In order to "accept" that all sin has already been forgiven, you need to accept the fact that "Jesus died for our sins." This is usually an active process (whether its going to church, simple prayer, or just a mind frame you adopt). However, one can look at this as "asking."

To make an analogy, God basically gives us His cell phone # and says, "I'll forgive anything you want as long as you call me and accept me into your life." However, if you don't call Him and you don't actively accept God, He won't forgive.

However, if someone kicks my dog and I give them my cell phone number and say, "If you call me and ask for forgiveness, I'll forgive you. But if you don't, I won't," this is the wrong way to forgive and is not the way that religions teach, AFAIK.

This leads to a paradox in my mind that I hope someone can clarify.

We are supposed to strive to be perfect; we are supposed to live our lives as close to how God would live His as possible.

Yet which is the perfect way?

We are taught to blanket forgive anyone who "tresspasses against us," whereas God will only blanket forgive someone if they make an effort to be forgiven.

Is God's, "You must make some effort to be forgiven in order for me to forgive you" the right way? The perfect way? If God is perfect and His word is perfect, it would assume his system of forgiveness is perfect. Yet if his way is the perfect way, why are we being taught to forgive in a different way? Shouldn't we aspire to the same ideals as God Himself?

Yet if you say our way is the perfect way, that means God is imperfect, which opens up a whole 'nother Pandora's Box.

I understand the situations may be different, but only one way can be the perfect way. There's only one perfect way to play Beethoven; there's only one perfect way to recite Shakespeare.

If God's way is the perfect way, which it should be since God is perfection, why are we being told to do something in a different way than God does when our ultimate (yet impossible) goal should be to live life as close to Godly perfection as possible?

[edit on 8-8-2006 by Cutwolf]



posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by Cutwolf
1. When someone offends us, are we supposed to forgive them automatically or do they need to request our forgiveness before we must forgive them?


There's two levels to this. First, yes, we are supposed to forgive them automatically in our hearts. That does not mean, though, that you are to tell the person you forgave them. Think about it this way. First, when you harbor resentment in your heart over an action, who is that hurting, especially if the other person has no idea? You're sitting there fuming over it, obsessing over it, upset, letting it steal your happiness, while the other person couldn't care less. You have to let that go, both for your own well-being and in obedience to God; we can forgive easily because we have been forgiven so much.

As for telling the person, though, you shouldn't ever come out and tell someone you forgave them for something they did without them coming seeking forgiveness. If I said or did something to you and you took it to mean something I didn't mean for it to mean, it could really bother you while I don't see any problem with it. Then you come up to me and say, "I forgive you for x", to which the reply might be, "why" in good cases, and a fight in bad situations. One possible way to handle it would be to talk to the person and tell them how much they hurt you, but don't come right out and say, "I forgive you".

Another reason for forgiving someone in your heart before they ask is to be prepared when they do. If you've been hurt badly by someone and wait until they come to you seeking forgiveness, all of that resentment, bitterness and hurt will be brought back to the surface when they come to you. If you have already forgiven them, though, it will be far easier to accept their apology and possibly even help them through what is obviously causing a struggle in themselves.


2. When someone sins (offends God), are they required to ask for forgiveness or will God forgive them automatically?


Yes (kinda) and yes. The moment you claim the ultimate sacrifice, the blood of Christ as your atoning salvation, you are forgiven of all sins, past present and future. Christ died on the cross that we may live, fulfilling Mosaic law completely and bridging the gap humanity's sin has caused between us and God.

However, we should still come to Him asking for forgiveness. Not because it's required, but because it draws us closer to God and forces us to rely on His strength for our repentance, that is rectifying the behavior that led us into the sin in the first place. When Christ gave us an outline for prayer (The Lord's prayer, Matt. 6:9-13), one of the key components was asking for forgiveness as well as forgiving others. This is not to say that this format of prayer must always be followed. In doing that, we get into legalism and Christ didn't even follow that as a rule, but rather a guide. So asking for forgiveness is not required. After all, Paul wrote, "All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. All things are permissible, but not all things are helpful" (1 Cor 6:12, 1 Cor 10:23). It is beneficial to ask God for forgiveness!



posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 07:35 PM
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We are to model our forgiveness after Jesus (God the Son).

God forgives any and all sin IF we ask. We are to forgive others also BUT the difference between us and God is that God is HOLY and we are not. God is forgiving the sin NATURE of a person, we cannot do this. God is making a person righteous and pure in a positional stance with Himself yet in everyday these forgiven sinners are still sinners saved by GRACE.

We can only forgive the ACTIONS of other sinners. I cannot forgive and save a person of their sin nature for I myself am such a sinner. Since God alone is Pure and Holy, the standard of what we so miserably fall short of, He alone can forgive and restore a person.

If my young son sins against me it does not mean I am no longer his father. That aspect of our relationship is not effected. What has been broken though is our FELLOWSHIP. Once he seeks my forgivness I am to forgive him. This then restores our fellowship.

As a Believer, when I sin I have broken fellowship with God to a degree but He shall always be my Father.



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