“If you who are wicked know how to give good gifts, how much more will your Father in Heaven give you?”
And if we who are wicked are capable of forgiving those who dont deserve or ask for forgiveness anyway, for sometimes they know not what they do, why does our Father in Heaven not do the same with the damned? Surely wicked men are not more merciful than He?
No, treating them with kindness, love, and forgiveness, would not be forcing yourself upon them. That is the complete opposite; if you were not being kind to them, loving them, or forgiving them, then you are forcing yourself on them. God is loving, kind, and forgiving no matter how bad someone may be, is He not? So why shouldn’t we do the same as Him?
As I understand things, if I forgive someone, whether they ask for it or not, that says more about me, and does more for me, than about or for the other person.
True, there’s Matthew 5:22 and following, where it infers that my unforgiveness hinders the sacrificial gift of another, but mostly I think it’s about not remaining angry with someone, forgiving others as we would like to be forgiven, and in my case, need to be forgiven. What that other person does with or about that forgiveness is between that person and God. Not my problem. IMHO
Forgiveness is as much, or more, for our own sake than it is for the one we are forgiving. If we refuse to forgive, we are hurting ourselves. Espeically if the other person doesn’t know they have sinned against you. Or they refuse to accept that what they did was wrong. Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to continue having them as part of our lives. If a friend keeps hurting me, then I would question the relationship and probably drop them as a friend. But I’m still to forgive them in order to let go of the negative feelings that would just drag me down and keep me from being able to accept God’s forgiveness.
Of course we do not know preciselywho is damned, but we certainly know that there are indeed damned souls (Jesus saying many would take the wide gate for example or if we reference Fatima, the children witnessing many damned souls in torment).
The question is, even if they were quite insistent on choosing it, why could God in all his divine wisdom and mercy, not “let their insistence” go and free them anyway? They don’t have to spend eternity with God directly in Heaven and He wouldn’t have to annihilate them. I would think He could simply send them to a place like Limbo.
Again, it is said that if we who are wicked can give many good gifts, how much more will our Father in Heaven give? I am just a poor sinner myself and I can learn to forgive someone and I can also choose to not let them pay the consequences either. Someone can vandalize my car and they can be caught by the authorities and I can forgive them. And I can also choose to understand the path in life that they are coming from (broken family, no money, driven to crime by poverty, etc) and I can choose that they don’t have to pay me back or fix my car on top of it. I don’t see why a Being who is Goodness, Mercy, and Love itself couldn’t do the same that lil 'ole me can do, when it is said that He can and more.
As for being joined by murderers, rapists, and pedophiles, I imagine we will be. The only difference is that some have repented of their sins, presumably same as you and me repenting of our sins.
Didn’t Jesus say, basically, sin is sin? If you lie, you break the law, it’s the same as stealing. The law is the law, if you break one part, you’ve broken the whole thing.
Who are you to turn up your nose at someone else’s sin? (As if yours doesn’t stink?)
I don’t think the issue is the heinousness of someone’s sin, but rather whether or not they chose to repent of it and ask forgiveness.
I believe you are taking this scripture out of context and stretching it to mean that wicked people forgive others, so therefore, God will also forgive wicked people. :eek: Not so, my friend.
Mt. 7:11, If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?" This follows the verses where Jesus encourages us to “Ask and it shall be given to you” - adding that [an evil man] would never give a stone whenever someone asks him for a loaf. How much more would God be willing to respond favorably to those who petition Him? This has nothing to do with *forgiveness *of those who are unrepentant.
Keep in mind that God is infinitely just and He would violate His own justice if He were to simply extend mercy to the unrepentant. Take a look at this good article.
Secondly, “…IF he repents…” Notice Jesus DOES NOT say, “…it doesn’t matter if he repents or not, you HAVE to forgive him.” No, Jesus puts the requirement of “…if he REPENTS…” as a CONDITION of forgiveness. Now don’t get the wrong idea (“Really? Then I can hold a grudge and bitterness towards them until they do repent?”) This is NOT a license to that kind of attitude or behavior! The point is that, just as **repentance is the first condition we must meet to be forgiven of God **so, too, they should not expect forgiveness in its fullest sense from you.
Now we have to deal with the third part: “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” No, Jesus is not asking you to be a doormat for them to step on! Notice that this offender “returns to you, saying…” In other words, THEY realize they have messed up again and they ON THEIR OWN come to you and confess their sin against you. This clearly implies THEY ARE AWARE and are TRYING to overcome their behavior. That is a far cry from taking advantage of you. And the main point here of Jesus is that we must be prepared to extend forgiveness to this kind of person, who is trying to change their behavior. (Remember: Repentance is not just to feel bad about one’s sins but also turning from that behavior and acting in love and rightly.)
This is a good reflection for lent, as we seek to become more fully reconciled to God and our neighbor.
You seem to have a block in this area, forgetting the critical point of God’s infinite justice. He CANNOT let them off the hook, when they are unrepentant and reject the many graces afforded to them. You are stretching His Divine Mercy to a point that is not mercy, but clemency in the face of extreme antipathy towards God through having lived a life of sinfulness. I don’t know any other away to make it clearer to you. You are fashioning a God of your own making.
I treat forgiveness to others the same way God treats forgiveness to us. We have to go to God in confession, say how sorry we are for everything we’ve done, and ask for forgiveness. It is only then that are sins are forgiven. So forgiving my neighbor, the person needs to come to me say they are sorry and ask for forgiveness. As long as I believe they are sincere (the same way we must be sincere to God in our confessions), I forgiven them immediately.
Now, if someone does not ask for forgiveness, I do forgive them in my heart just so I can move on with my life. I might even pray to God that they come around one day, but they have not been truly forgiven until they fess up to it. I try to provide encouragement to these people. I will say “I am ready to forgive when you are ready to say sorry.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
“The thing is, God’s mercy should surpass a feeble sinner’s. If a weak, evil man is able to take pity on someone and “let them off the hook”, why not our all-loving God?” from Thorns.
Recall that we have free will. Our free will allows us to deny God or accept God. God respects our free will, and if we deny him, though he continues to offer us a chance to accept him, he will allow us to continue to deny him. Unrepentant mortal sin is a denial of God.
We choose to go to Hell, it is not forced upon us by God. Our ultimate choices are essentially to choose God (Heaven) or to deny God (Hell). If we choose Hell, God will not deny us, as it is our free choice. His forgiveness does not enter into the equation (not because of any lack on his part, but because of the lack on ours).
The Scripture supports this. Although I would change one tiny part. I think there are three distinct postures one can take with regard to a horizontal sin (that which is between two humans).
Not forgive (the Bible sometimes calls this “holding a grudge”)
Let it go.
The third one is what I THINK most people mean when they say they “forgive” someone with whom there has been no reconciliation. Letting it go is the position that allows you to be gracious, kind and not eaten up by hate and a grudge in the face of someone who has clearly sinned against you and not even acknowledged it in any way.
The scripture talks about forgiveness in many places, and a clear hermenutic approach must be used to discern what it actually means. In some places it says “forgive” and in others it says “and if he repents, forgive.” This apparent contradiction is reconciled by assuming the second description is implied in the first. It is a basic hermeneutic concept.
When you are in state of having “let it go,” the person may still come to you and ask for forgiveness, and as you have rightly noted, if you detect sincerity, the scripture commands you to forgive, seventy times seven times.
Forgiveness, as oppsed to letting it go is a commitment from the forgiver. It is serious business. It means “I am going to treat this as if it never happened. I will not bring it up and use it against you, ever.” That it is a pretty tall order, and you can only do it with God’s help anyway.
Also, what is the point of repenting (which is a 4 step process–1. acknowledge what you did. 2. Acknowledge what it caused/how it hurt the person. 3. Offer to make it right and 4. resolve to never do it again) if you are going to offer forgiveness to just anyone? What special do we have to offer the person who is truly contrite and broken hearted? This has nothing to do with being “dammed.” It is a setting right of the horizintal relationship, and using the exact same model God does I think is pretty sound.