About Jesus Steve Sweetman
sometimes watch the Larry King show on CNN to see how people think on
certain issues. Recently I
watched Larry King interview four new age thinkers.
The topic of discussion for the few minutes I saw concerned love
and forgiveness. I was so
disturbed by what I heard I felt compelled to put my fingers to the
keyboard and address this topic again.
asked them, ďwhat is forgiveness?Ē
I was waiting for their definition, but none was given.
One answer went like this. ďIt
brings about a peace in your life that you canít otherwise find.Ē
Thatís a result of their perception of forgiveness.
Thatís not forgiveness. Stating
a particular result of an action is not defining that action. This
vague answer is an example of how new age post-modernists think.
Christians should not think in such vagueness.
same vague answer was given when Larry asked them to define the word
love. They couldnít do it.
They couldnít define one of the most used words in the world.
They talked their way around the question, but all concluded that
you had to love yourself before you could love others.
Thatís not defining love, and itís certainly not Biblical
it came right down to it, all four people King interviewed understood
love and forgiveness in a purely self-serving way.
The reason why they love and forgive is to maintain their own
peace of mind. It had
nothing to do with the person who needed to be loved and forgiven.
I wouldnít really call that love or forgiveness.
Self-centeredness is at the heart of new age thinking.
Christians we need to be clear on this issue.
I believe the Bible states clear and concise definitions of
words, including these two words. Without
going into all the scriptural details, because Iíve done that in other
articles, let me state briefly how the Bible defines these words because
we often misunderstand them. Many
of us actually hold to a new age viewpoint without even knowing it, and
itís because we donít know what the Bible says.
hear Christians say. ďfor our own peace of mind, in our hearts, we
must forgive our offender.Ē If
this is our understanding, we forgive without any interaction with our
offender. Thatís not
forgiveness, and neither is it love.
Forgiveness isnít a one sided action done secretly in your
heart that ignores the offender and the offense.
Bible doesnít teach us to ignore our offender and his offense.
God doesnít do that, and neither should we.
The Bible teaches that at some point in time we are to gently
point out the offense to the offender. We do so
in order to help him repent of his offense and be reconciled to the one
he has offended. We donít
get mad at our offender. We
just want to help him. The
goal to all this is not retaliation.
Itís restoration of the offender and the damage caused by the
offense. Thereís no new
age self-centeredness here.
the offender acknowledges his offense and decides to stop offending,
then, and only then can we forgive him.
That may sound unsettling because many of us have been
taught to forgive no matter what. Thatís
what the new agers teach, but thatís not Biblical forgiveness.
is the act of cancelling the offense. Itís
not covering the offense over in your heart.
Many think if we just forget about the offense, weíve forgiven.
Forgetting isnít forgiving.
Iíll explain. If
the bank tells you that your mortgage is forgiven, that means itís
cancelled. You owe nothing.
Youíre no longer accountable for the outstanding balance.
Thatís what forgiveness is.
Itís the cancelation of the offense, as if the offense had
never happened. You no
longer hold the offender accountable for his offense.
Forgiveness is a transaction between the offender and the one
offended. Each party has a
part to play in the process of forgiveness.
Itís not a unilateral action done in the privacy of the
offended oneís heart.
When the offender expresses repentance for the offense, the
offended one cancels the offense and acts as if it never happened.
Simple logic says that you cannot cancel the offense if the
offender wants to keep offending.
plays a role in forgiveness. God is our example here. He
loves the offender whether he repents or not, but He doesnít cancel
the offense without repentance and trust in Him.
God doesnít expect us to do something He doesnít do Himself.
So we love the offender whether he repents or not.
We love him as if he never offended us, but love isnít the
cancelation of the offense. Justice
enters into the equation at this point.
Justice always demands accountability for an offense, and we know
God is just. Love provides a
way for the cancelation of the offense, but justice demands that the
offense remains until the offense is accounted for and repented of.
Thatís how God treats this issue,. We should do the same.
donít believe in a post-modern new age approach to Christian thinking.
We need a clarity of mind that comes from proper Biblical
thinking. Forgiveness is the cancelation of an offense upon the
offenderís repentant request to have his offense cancelled.
If there is no request to cancel the offense from the offender,
the offense cannot be cancelled because it has not been accounted for.
At the same time, whether the offender repents or not, we still
love him, but love isnít forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not an action you do secretly in your heart for
your own well being. Itís
a transaction between two people that occurs for the sake of the
offender and the damaged relationship caused by the offense.
closing Iíd just like to say that love
is unconditional, but forgiveness is conditional upon repentance.