God required satisfaction for forgiveness - why don't we?


This is NOT a question about “do we have to forgive someone who won’t repent.” It just seems similar if you don’t read/think about it carefully. My question is this:

For God to forgive us, He required satisfaction for our sins. He required that Jesus Christ offer something to God - Himself. He didn’t just forgive us for free.

Yet He commands us that we are to forgive one another for free, such as in the parable of the ungrateful debtor. Why does God hold us to a standard higher than Himself?


because satisfaction is owed to God, not to us.


Because we are the debtors. God owes us nothing but He freely gives. We have nothing to give and it is only in forgiving others we can show our appreciation to God for the gift of forgiveness.


Also remember that Christ is God: co-equal with the Father and Holy Spirit. He gave Himself for us.
What we could not do, He did for us.

The debt we owe to God is simply not with in our ability to repay. The very least we can do is forgive our fellow human beings.


Personally, I don’t see a higher standard.

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned. (Rom 12:1-3)


Ryan :slight_smile:


What I mean is this:

When we were debtors to God, He would not pardon our debt. He required it to be paid, and Christ did the paying. He used a sort of “sleight of hand,” for lack of a better term, to get the debt paid for us, but it still had to be paid.

Yet He commands that when others are in debt to us, we simply forgive them their debt without payment.


I think what you are trying to do is to get someone to explain to you the mind and reasoning of God.

I have to admit that I don’t have an answer to this particular question. We simply don’t always understand the mind of God.

Our best bet is to love and forgive our debtors and perhaps some day we will understand better why this is so.

A cop out, I realize but it is the best I can do.


According to the Lord’s prayer, we are forgiven our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. If we do not forgive others, are we forgiven? As implies correlation, does it not? If what I understand is right, then God does in fact require satisfaction for our sins, that satisfaction is for us to forgive others.

Just like the Jews were placed into slavery during the exile for not releasing their slaves (2 Kings), we are kept in slavery when we don’t release our slaves.

This is just my understanding.

Luke 6

36 Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful.
37"Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
38 Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."

Matthew 6 (immediately after the Lord’s prayer)

14 If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.




Yes I wonder also.

Another just as puzzling. If it is realistic to attain perfection here"as our Father in Heaven is Perfect", why don’t we have a roster of successful candidates so far?. Isn’t real life inspiration also a benefit to us to give us hope in this huge endeavor? Like maybe 5, … no…even 2 out of a few trillion humans to date who have succeeded who have not been deliberately made so.

Doesn’t earth make the ideal test ground for those created beings who are in criticism of our failures in our struggle?. Come down here, drop your nature, get born in an unrealized state so you don’t know who you really are, receiving only the average allotted graces and usual recognition, and if you make it past OUR test you go back to beatification… :thumbsup: Sounds reasonable to me. What created being wouldn’t leap at an opportunity to prove such a trial is possible, and Oh what a resounding reward the heavens would give to such a spirit! :angel1:

MMMMmmm, what no takers? Just as I thought. That would impose risk, something us creatures know all about and are alone with.


Andy O’Fletcher:irish2:



I am not sure what you are saying. Are you being sarcastic? Are you asking God to become one of us so that He can understand what we are?

Do you feel that God is judging us unfairly? I don’t know where your post is leading.


I’m here to get answers. I suggest that any critical created being should put his money where his mouth is and come down here and try being human himself.

I do so on the credentials that no one has made it to perfection here, so based on that alone, I challenge any created being to prove his love for God by volunteering to become human through the regular means of becoming human, and put the rest of us to shame and prove it is attainable. He forfeits his place in heaven if he doesn’t attain perfection here. If this exile is has the possibilities Dogma outlines then there should also be no objection, and therefore a shoe in for any other being to pass with flying colors. An opportunity not to be missed by any created being worth his salt I should think.

A perfectly honest challenge, nothing devious or sinister.


Andy O’Fletcher :irish3:


Are you suggesting that we existed before we were given earthly bodies in heaven and so that we might not boast were placed on earth into a fallen nature (as fallen angles) to prove ourselves as needing divine help?

I really do think that our human nature hides a lot of spiritual truth and self awareness and self nature from us. The (apparent) numbers you mention are pretty sobering actually and likely about true. Relative to total earth population of all time I don’t want to think how few humans are “making it”. None can without God - the allures and temptations of physical existence are just too strong to resist without God’s help.



I asked this same question some time ago:


I received a few answers there, but in reality I had to pray on this topic, because I really didn’t find the answers completely satisfactory. In the end, I think the answer is a combination of a lot of the things posted here and in that thread - we must forgive in order for God to be able to penetrate our hearts and forgive us. It’s not so much a double standard, but a demonstration of the reality our human state vs. His Divinity.


Jesus freely laid down His life for us, (Jesus is God the Son-God in the flesh, the only begotton Son) …“Father forgive them as they know not what they do”…ring a bell?? He did forgive us before we asked for forgivness, He loved us first. We ought to be just like HIm and forgive others AS we want to be forgiven.


Only that if this environment is and was such a pushover for getting to heaven, why does every other being keep this place at arms length. We don’t see angels clamoring to be the first to really put us at ease by volunteering to have themselves being born and submitting to the trials we are exposed to. You allude to the technical problems this imposes, but if God decided to test his celestial administrators He could make it possible. They could just as well become the offspring of man and still possess the dual nature as also being angelic material as befits the reward of the test.

You know we get it drilled home ad infinitum on how we are failing to do this or that, and “angels of the Lord” come down to us to deliver some message when we divert from the righteous path, but never do they want anything to do with going through what we do. Oh on occasion they go through their duties knowing their angels but always with the assurance their stay is temporary.

I say never mind the battle of light and dark with swords drawn where they are one on one with each other, that’s easy, but try to make it here on discernment alone and see if they can handle the trickery in temptation we are exposed to, where it is difficult to know what to do next, to handle discernment in the midst of an overactive libido, where their foe is simply a bodiless illusive subtle suggestion to do an act, this time not having the face of God in his presence assuring there is a heaven and he’s in it, and where their senses and human nature entices them to this world. Let them handle temptation in the midst of anxiety and not knowing if they measure up and worthy for heaven in every breathing moment. Let them lack faith and struggle to have it mature. That my friend is a true test, a test we know is befitting them as well as us, and to top it off before soul assignment, tie some weights to their shoulders for added burden in the form of reprobation and original sin as it is with us, lest they should feel overconfident at the outset.

None can without God - the allures and temptations of physical existence are just too strong to resist without God’s help.

So if odds are that bad, and to make it worse we need a crutch to make it to the end, why not cut man some slack. Nor is the request unreasonable. The request is not even a permission for behavioral change, as it was from beloved peoples with hardened hearts who sought to make this world more comfortable, but simply evidence of our value, that we are worth something. That I’m not sure of.

Andy O’Fletcher :shamrock:


I hear you friend. I have similar musings from time to time but I want to think of the angels as our friends not as a relative standard to compete against. Angels are not wimps - they are perfectly intelligent in their unfallen nature and know the odds we face. Yet they are said to be quite jealous that we humans can actually grow our souls through grace and their nature is fixed in place. I feel like we are in a sort of divine lotto with very tough odds and we only got one roll of the roulette wheel - yet God let’s us cheat if we know how to get His attention.

It’s not easy being human. But given the free alternative of oblivion and a shot at eternal bliss or eternal torment I suppose its better to try to be in the game than not right? Certainly, God though does not seem to give us a choice to “undo” our immortal souls selves if we fail and so here we are like it or not. Failure is not really an option for anyone who has any sense of self determination and rational perspective. Given the certainty of eternity why are we not all on our knees 24/7 in prayer? I don’t think people “get it”. My problem is I think I personally do “get it” - yet I still don’t understand why I don’t do more???

But I cover my bases and pray St. Michael the archangel’s chaplet for his protection and intercession too. Maybe that will help a bit if I can get half way home to purgatory?



Alright, to clarify again because several people have misunderstood my question.

As I said, I am NOT asking “why does God ask us to forgive others without them asking for it when we have to ask for Him to forgive us?”

My question is about the satisfaction - the stuff we do to make it up to someone we’ve wronged, like when a kid breaks a window playing ball and has to pay the owner of the window.

Now God tells us to forgive without asking for satisfaction. The ungrateful debtor is one example of this. If someone wrongs me and asks forgiveness, I am to forgive him without him making it up to me.

But when we had wronged God, He didn’t forgive us without it being made up to Him. He wouldn’t have forgiven us had Christ not paid for our sins. Christ made satisfaction for us. God wouldn’t forgive without restitution, in other words, so why does He tell us to?


Could it be maybe becuase he is The Supreme Being and demands respect and obedience? Or maybe he wants to make it clear that if somone is going to be invited to live under his roof in his home for all eternity as adopted children then we must love, respect and obey him. Given the offer I can do a little groveling when I mess up if that’s what Dad wants. :wink:

Note, to that there are 2 aspects of sin. One if forgiveness for the eternal debts that only Jesus can pay for us. and the other is to pay restitution or debt for the consequences of sin (replacing that broken window after being forgiven of the deed). We humans all seem to have an inner nature that wants to be debt free - we hate being in debt to anyone or anything. I really have not met anyone in my life who does not insist on doing something to “make good” when trying to make honest amends for a transgression. We can deny that offer but there is a sense of restoring the other person’s sense of self worth and dignity in letting him repay as best as he can the wrong. I think that is integral with forgiveness - since we need to get forgiveness from the wronged party and we also need to forgive ourselves for being so callous in transgressing somone. I see paying restitution as integral with forgiveness - mostly for the offending party’s sake really.

So it may be that God insists on asking His forgiveness then extends it quickly when asked through the merits of Jesus (since He loves him so much). But he also then wants us to forgive ourselves too and this is what I think repentance and penance is all about. Being forgiven is as much a part of a love relationship and process as is the feelings self worth and having something to offer in love.



I am wondering what it is that leads you to picture God in this way.

I am absolutely certain that the only requirement for our forgiveness by God is that we forgive others for that for which we ask God’s forgiveness. This is what Jesus taught over and over again. The idea that Jesus “paid” for our sins through his death is, I think, a somewhat imperfect metaphor that shouldn’t cloud our view of how forgiveness is actually obtained.


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