"Seventy times seven" is a clear instruction to always, always forgive. But forgiveness doesn't erase consequences. How do you draw the line between reasonable consequences of a sin someone commits against you and the point where forgiveness must start?
I...don't think the "seventy times seven" is so clear, except upon pondering the entire passages of the parable Jesus told there in the Scripture passages you refer to. We all know how the parable goes; we're supposed to forgive.
But if you'll notice the last two verses, the lord who originally forgave the debt of the unforgiving servant issues a new sentence upon that servant---he becomes angry and delivers him over to his "tormentors" (his fellow servants?) until he repays the debt after all! The verse says "till he should pay all that was due unto him", "him" being, I think, the lord, because he was the one to whom the servant owed the debt.
The last verse says the Lord Himself (not just the earthly lord in those passages) will "likewise" do unto anyone who doesn't forgive "from the heart". Was the lord in those Scriptures unforgiving? Shouldn't he have forgiven the unforgiving servant AGAIN, immediately?? Likewise, is our Lord unforgiving? Did he forgive the unforgiving servant "seventy times seven"?? Doesn't look like it! He held him responsible for paying.
But He was willing to forgive him seventy times seven! His heart was forgiving; he offered forgiveness to the servant. And if that servant had come to him again and was sorry, he would've forgiven him again! Same with our Lord. Forgiveness received by the sinner hinges upon a thing called repentance!
So we see that forgiveness is available always; we must have a continual heart of forgiveness, for our own benefit and to show our compassion for others. But it doesn't get accepted by the person who's done wrong unless that person is truly repentant.
Same with things that happen in everyday life. If someone wrongs me, I must have a heart of forgiveness. But that doesn't mean I have to (or should, even) act like nothing ever happened and be buddy-buddy with them. They have to realize their sin and be truly repentant. Til then, they will have to suffer the consequences of their sin (Which, in the parable above, is being in a state of debt and distance from God, unable to receive the free gift offered to them).
That, the way I see it (and interpreting those passages which immediately follow the admonishment of forgiving "seventy times seven) is where the line is to be drawn between reasonable consequences and the point of forgiveness.
Brenda, you make some good points.
The difference would seem to be in the attitude of the debtor. As you said, if the debtor is truly repentant (humble), then we offer all manner of leniency. But when the debtor lives in ego (arrogance), they are no longer following the Father, but the master of this world.
If the unrepentant debtor were to find humility, then he would be forgiven, again. But God can see into his heart to know if such humility is true or not.
Do you think it's also a picture of how ultimate salvation works? As in, though someone is forgiven at first, they can sin again and be unrepentant, thereby giving up their salvation?
Could the servant have been truly repentant at first, and then refused to forgive someone else, and so he backslid?
Brenda, on the one hand it can depend on what denomination's doctrine one adheres to. However, Hebrews 6:4-6 brings your question into stark reality that it is confusing. All I know is that a prodigal son must return and with a repentant heart, or else he is doomed to life with pigs, it seems.
Brenda, that is a powerful and wonderful question.
If "following Christ" is a prerequisite to salvation (Heaven), then one really needs to ask what does "following" mean? One so-called Christian with whom I talked at a party at my brother's house in Phoenix, Arizona, was so glad to be saved so that he could commit any crime and still go to Heaven. Really?
If one lusts after selfishness and material gain, is one really "following" Christ? Or is the person following the master of this world, ego?
Can temptation pull us away from our Lord? Can anyone make new decisions from moment to moment? Of course they can.
The goal is spiritual awakening (being reborn of the spirit). Anyone can decide to go back to sleep. Tragedy!
And good question about was the servant truly repentant. Why not? He threw himself at the mercy of his master because of his crushing debt. But then he forgot mercy.
congrats on a well deserved Hubbie - go girl
You are handling things Brenda..... keep it up!
Firstly sin is created by the individual and works againsts the individual thus he stand to reap all the consequences of the sin he has created and the opposite is also true,he alone will reap full benefits of freeing himself fron sin.
Furthermore the Father sees no sin whatsoever, thus there is no need to forgive any and to those who still have not understood, it is still declared that all sins are already forgiven.
For me the line I must draw is the boundary where I must take care of myself in order to keep healthy emotionally, physically and spiritually. If my 'tolerance' or endurance of the other's sinning is not enough to keep lovingly supporting and confronting him or her, I must pull myself away from such impact on my own well being. My two cents worth.
Forgiveness should begin "Immediately" the consequences are up to Almighty God. "Seventy times seven" should not be taken literally. It is meant to teach us that we never stop forgiving, no matter how many times someone does the same thing.
Jesus Our Lord, put no limit on the times he will forgive us our sins. "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us," Is this not a part of The Lord's Prayer, taught by Jesus.
Holding a grudge only hurts the person holding it. To forgive is to release that anger that binds you. It benefits the person who forgives and not the person who committed the act.
I say we must put verses together as in that Jesus said repeatedly that people must repent, and repentance comes before any forgiveness, see it in Luke 17:3-5, KJV =
"Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith."
If one does not repent then they are not get the forgiveness.
What is "forgiveness?" The way some people do it, I don't think they understand what it means. A friend of mine incessantly complained, over the years, about an abusive and alcoholic mother. She said that she forgave, but did not forget. Several clues indicate a lack of forgiveness:
(1) Incessant complaints
(2) Attachment to the incident
(4) Being a victim
(5) Blame (not taking responsibility)
Forgiveness is an act of creation. It transcends the laws of physical reality. "Reason" would have us hold onto the source of resentment; forgiveness breaks with reason and the bonds which hold one to the past.
Forgiveness is an act of love. We should love one another as ourselves.
Forgiveness is letting go.
Forgiveness is responsibility (not blame) and because of this, one ceases to be victim. Taking 100% responsibility for the hurt one has perpetrated against self is an act of profound love, but this also sets oneself free of all burdens attached to the transgression.
If the perpetrator is unrepentant (0% responsibility), then one should punish them with love -- jail, flogging, slavery -- whatever is within the customs of the current society. Personally, I don't like slavery, flogging or jail, but the idea is not to coddle or reward their recalcitrance. If you punish them with anger or rage, then you become victim (and perpetrator), again.
Thanks for the comments, folks. Interesting discussion.
lone77star, I agree that "forgiveness" is a rather fluid concept in this relativistic society. I've heard forgiveness described as refusing to use a sin against a person, and committing to not bring it up to yourself, to the person, or to anyone else. We need to reevaluate what we understand by forgiveness and commit to doing it biblically.
Brenda, I appreciate your well-thought-out and articulate ideas! One thing I think may have been unclear (perhaps for good, for the benefit of discussion) in my original forum is that I was referring more to the forgiver than the forgiv-ee. As you said, the wicked servant suffered the consequences of unforgiveness when he was saddled with his debt once again, and that was his fault as he refused the gift. But that doesn't create a burden of unforgiveness with his master--simply a responsibility to confer on him the consequences he deserved. Choosing to not forgive someone unless they're repentant is, as I've heard, like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. If the person isn't repentant, they don't care that you haven't forgiven, but it will eat away at your soul nonetheless. We must choose to forgive even if they don't repent--but that doesn't mean we have to tell them they're forgiven or act like nothing happened in the meantime. If they ask for it, we can tell them they're forgiven, but until then forgiveness is basically for the good of the person sinned against.
So the question becomes once you've chosen to forgive, how do you act around an unrepentant person; or even if they are repentant, how do you handle the fact that there can still be consequences?
The Word is very clear on the subject of forgiveness. Jesus said, "If you refuse to forgive then my Father will not forgive you."
The wicked servant refused to forgive and because of his unforgiveness, forgiveness was taken back from him. The Bible also states that whatever we loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Unforgiveness causes bitterness and opens doors for demonic psirits to enter. It also only hurts the one who refuses to forgive. You can hold a grudge against me for all eternity, but you are the only one it hurts.
Being forgiven does not mean chastisement does not come. A thief can rob a store and be forgiven but will still go to prison for it.
I believe the Bible is very clear on it. We must forgive and once we do that, God will take care of the rest. We must simply put our trust in Him to handle everything properly. He is, after all, the reason we live, breathe, and do the things we do every day.
True forgiveness can't be rushed. When it's rushed, it most often turns out to be arrogance, as I pointed out above. "I forgive you because I'm better than you are. Can't wait to see you rot in hell."
"Must" forgive isn't as important as truly forgiving.
"Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
I don't know who said that, but I believe it's true.
Forgiveness is less about the other person, and all about yourself. If you want to carry that toxicity with you, to keep you poisoned, then so be it. But it's obviously not healthy.
Forgiveness is about unchaining your bitterness about another person so that you don't have to be in the bondage of all that toxic bitterness and resentment. It has nothing to do with forgetting anything that happened. If you don't learn the lessons from negative experiences and act wisely going forward, then you have learned nothing at all. However, when you have learned those lessons, you are able to free yourself, not be bothered by what is in the past, and therefore, able to forgive the offender, because they no longer have any power over you. You claimed your power, learned your lessons, and they are not significant enough to affect you adversely any more.
That is forgiveness that I know and understand. I learned it the hard way. And as far as I can tell, forgiveness never was forgiveness when you proclaim to yourself, "I forgive you, you bastard, because I'm better than you are." There isn't anything forgiving in such an attitude. It's all about swallowing your own poison.
I think forgiveness is more necessary for the person doing the forgiving than for those receiving it. Often those who have done something for which forgiveness is given, do not care if you forgive them or not. However, holding onto bitterness is bad for the health, both mentally and physically. So forgiveness is important to allow for us to move one.
Forgiveness is freeing yourself of past transgressions. If you cant forgive yourself, forgiving others is simply a hollow gesture. And following Christ or following anything for that matter is not necessarily good or bad except in where such a following leads you. I've known many people who were involved in skinhead groups and militant organizations and that path lead them to find a way out and know how to get out so they can help others do the same. I've also known bornagains who are 'saved' and that path lead them to a position of presumed moral superiority. So I suppose forgiveness is the awareness of where your actions lead.
real simple; it must be a complete selfless act and you must truly mean it or your just wasting even your own time
Hey Kim. Hubby took over the computer earlier. I meant to congratulate YOU TOO!!! Best Poet category! It's you who rocks, woman!
Hey thanks tons! We are it girl, top of our game, well at least until [I'm positive] they realize they put my name in the wrong category and meant to be most likely to get banned I swear something really odd went wrong, they are probably meeting even now on how to proceed in telling me Brenda lol it's the only explanation I can think of Oh girl in the meantime we are all that : LOL! Godspeed my friend!
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