Monday, July 12, 2010

Forgiveness Part 4: Two Different Facets

Luke 17:3 and Mark 11:25 are different.

Luke 17:3
• Horizontal focus – offended speaks to the offender (rebuking him)
• Conditional forgiveness (If he repents)
• Access to offender is required
• Offender is the one who benefits (you grant forgiveness)

Mark 11:25
• Vertical focus – offended speaks to God
• Unconditional forgiveness
• Access to offender not required (not a person who repents but anyone, access or not, no bitterness, we give it to God, Romans 12:17-21, you can only do this by praying first)
• Offended is the one who benefits (you are released from bitterness)

Unforgiveness breaks fellowship with God, and hinders our prayer life. We must be WILLING to forgive. This doesn’t mean that we only have to forgive them before God but that we can hold onto our unforgiveness until we see them come to us to repent, and if they never do we never forgive. No, if we are able we must go to them, rebuke them, and give them a chance to repent. If we go to the person and they will not repent, and they leave, you release it to God (Mark 11:25) so that you will not become bitter. This is vertical.

What about those who cannot repent? You say, “I was wronged, but don’t even really know who did it, I can’t find them, and they haven’t repented, this thing is haunting me, so what am I supposed to do?” This would include a dead relative. Other examples: you were robbed, spam ruined your computer, you were taken advantage of in some anonymous way, etc. Don’t go looking for them, just forgive, don’t demand you rights, you give them to Christ. If you don’t have access to a person, well, you forgive them in the Mark 11:25 sense anyway, and the Luke 17:3 sense doesn’t apply right now because there is no access, no active fellowship anyway, so it doesn’t really matter, in that sense, unless and until they enter the picture.

If your spouse, child, or family walks away with no repentance you can and must still forgive, in the Mark 11:25 sense, but now the Luke 17:3 comes into play in the horizontal scenario. We rebuked them and they refused to repent. We forgive them to God and release it, but we do not have to place our trust in them. If they at some later point decide to repent, we must then forgive them in the horizontal fashion, and offer fellowship once again. Think about the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) – the father had already forgiven the younger son, but until that son came back to seek forgiveness, he did not live in fellowship.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

1 comment:

Even So... said...

This is the fourth in a five part series, and I truly hope and pray it will be most enlightening and encouraging, as well as convicting and motivating. It was part of a basic training and membership class at our church.

The audio for these posts will be available soon...God bless...