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When you can't forgive (and they don't want forgiveness)

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  • When you can't forgive (and they don't want forgiveness)

    Current events in the UK brought this one up, and I think anyone over here will know exactly who I am talking about.

    There is a gentleman who has just died who was an utterly unrepentant child rapist and murderer, who performed multiple child-murders just for the experience of killing. He had no desire to be forgiven or even acknowledge that what he did was wrong. His last act was to continue to spite his victim's relatives, refusing to say where the bodies were, and to make sure he could hurt them even once he was dead he apparently left a letter that stated vital information only for the envelope to be empty and then asked for his ashes to be scattered where he killed his victims (the coroner is refusing to release his body until it is confirmed that will not be done).

    So in cases where forgiveness, even God's, would be utterly rejected by an unrepentant person, and it is something beyond most people regardless, where does the Christian faith stand?

  • #2
    I was required by my job to attend a City Council Meeting this past Tuesday night. An interesting topic came up. The City was being asked to amend an ordinance that prohibited using car speakers to create a public disruption to include portable megaphones as well. Someone jokingly asked if the noise from megaphones creating a public disturbance was becoming a serious issue ... everyone chuckled at the utter silliness of the requested ordinance. The snickers stopped when the problem was explained. One man, theoretically a Christian, is at the heart of it. At every public event, like a parade, he sets up adjacent to the parade route and drowns out the music by screaming at everyone standing there or walking past that they are damned and going to hell. It is difficult to explain to your small grandchildren why some man is screaming at them that they are going to hell when they came to watch a parade.

    The council was horrified at the thought that this sort of anti-free speech step should be the solution to this problem. Ultimately, the ordinance passed by a 4:1 vote with the Police Chief noting that the individual was still free to carry his placards and scream at everyone he met ... he could simply not use mechanical amplification to drown out all other noise (beyond 100 feet according to the ordinance).

    Sometimes it is hard to know where to extend forgiveness and where a stronger position is called for.
    I did not envy that council having to make that decision.
    Last edited by atpollard; 05-18-2017, 09:10 AM.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by ChatterBox View Post
      So in cases where forgiveness, even God's, would be utterly rejected by an unrepentant person, and it is something beyond most people regardless, where does the Christian faith stand?
      From personal experience, forgiveness isn't about them, it is about the person doing the forgiving.

      Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

      Luke 6:37-38 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

      James 1:19-21 "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."


      Personal experience has revealed several truths:

      1. Holding on to unforgiveness is like a cancer in your soul that grows and defiles your heart and mind from the inside out.
      2. Releasing the wrath that you may even have a legitimate right to, will benefit you more than holding on to it will harm them.
      3. If you give it over to God, call him on his pledge taht "vengeance is the Lords" and cry out like those in Revelation 6:9-11 and accept his judgement as they did ... God is able to repay far beyond even our ability to comprehend. (Hebrews 10:31)

      So I would advise the families of those victims in England to let go. For their sake, not for his. Turn your right to vengeance over to God. Trust and believe that the consuming fire of God's holiness will balance the scales of Justice far beyond any human ability to even conceive. Imagine those murdered children able to sit in the lap of Jesus (who never turned away the children when he was on the Earth) and ask "How long until you avenge our blood?" and hear the same reply "wait just a little longer".

      Revelation 6:16-17 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

      Trust God to repay all debts. In Christ or in person.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ChatterBox View Post
        Current events in the UK brought this one up, and I think anyone over here will know exactly who I am talking about.

        There is a gentleman who has just died who was an utterly unrepentant child rapist and murderer, who performed multiple child-murders just for the experience of killing. He had no desire to be forgiven or even acknowledge that what he did was wrong. His last act was to continue to spite his victim's relatives, refusing to say where the bodies were, and to make sure he could hurt them even once he was dead he apparently left a letter that stated vital information only for the envelope to be empty and then asked for his ashes to be scattered where he killed his victims (the coroner is refusing to release his body until it is confirmed that will not be done).

        So in cases where forgiveness, even God's, would be utterly rejected by an unrepentant person, and it is something beyond most people regardless, where does the Christian faith stand?
        We should pray for such person's regeneration which bears fruit of repentance and faith.

        And here's a great article on this subject: What You Need to Know About Forgiveness -Christforums

        In Mk. 11:25, Jesus tells you to forgive those who wronged you when you pray, thereby avoiding bitterness and resentment (Eph. 4:32). But, that is different from granting the wrongdoer forgiveness. You do that only when he repents. Forgiveness of others must reflect god's forgiveness; He forgave you when you repented.

        Some unthinking Christians advise forgiving another whether or not he confesses sin. But they misunderstood forgiveness. They urge this to benefit the one who forgives. Yet, it was for your benefit that God forgave you. Their self-centered concept of forgiveness is unbiblical. God did not forgive you until you repented, admitted you were a sinner, and believed. Indeed, even now, when God dispenses parental forgiveness, He says, "...if you don't forgive men, then your Father won't forgive your transgressions" (Matt. 6:15).
        Forgiveness is a selfless act relieving the seared conscience of guilt for the one repenting. And lemme just emphasize, we should pray rightly, the Lord's Prayer has us asking the Father for forgiveness of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. This is different than forgiving another of sins which they may never repent of to you, though, we should have a forgiving spirit should they approach us.

        Story time:

        I have a person that comes to mind in my life. One week I approached numerous people that I had wronged before becoming Christian. One in particular I approached, and after saying how sorry I am and apologizing for the sins I committed against them I asked them for forgiveness. They said, I forgave you long ago (irritated). I must admit I felt nothing to relieve my conscience. What they said so much embraced the notion that you are to forgive so you don't hold onto negativity or excess baggage. It was to this day, what I consider a selfish act by them. I was there in the here and now approaching them and they pointed off to some distant past when they asked forgiveness from the Father and knew they wouldn't be forgiven until they had (self interest).

        God bless,
        William
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        • #5
          Originally posted by William View Post
          n Mk. 11:25, Jesus tells you to forgive those who wronged you when you pray, thereby avoiding bitterness and resentment (Eph. 4:32). But, that is different from granting the wrongdoer forgiveness. You do that only when he repents. Forgiveness of others must reflect god's forgiveness; He forgave you when you repented.
          I think that I agree with everything that you wrote (or quoted from the pamphlet), and was wondering if you would care to explain a little clearer the difference between forgiveing "those who wronged you when you pray, thereby avoiding bitterness and resentment (Eph. 4:32)" and not offering forgiveness where there is no repenence. It seems something that could offer confusion to many.

          [Let's face it, we are fallen people who would prefer 'sound bites' like "God says to always forgive" or "Never forgive unless they apologize." Unfortunately, Biblical truths are seldom so 'absolute' ... Proverbs 26:4-5 are two of my favorites for just that reason.]
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          • #6
            Originally posted by atpollard View Post
            I think that I agree with everything that you wrote (or quoted from the pamphlet), and was wondering if you would care to explain a little clearer the difference between forgiveing "those who wronged you when you pray, thereby avoiding bitterness and resentment (Eph. 4:32)" and not offering forgiveness where there is no repenence. It seems something that could offer confusion to many.

            [Let's face it, we are fallen people who would prefer 'sound bites' like "God says to always forgive" or "Never forgive unless they apologize." Unfortunately, Biblical truths are seldom so 'absolute' ... Proverbs 26:4-5 are two of my favorites for just that reason.]
            I could sum this all up with just one phrase, have a "forgiving spirit".

            But sure, I believe, we are, in the example of the Lord's or Disciple's prayer asking for forgiveness while demonstrating a "forgiving spirit" of our own. On the other hand the Lord's prayer is almost militant, reminding the Lord of His kingdom come which may bring vengeance and wrath upon others. It is no wonder to me why we are asking for forgiveness and why we ought to have a forgiving spirit, for mercy or wrath and Justice or Grace, the saints shall praise God in His final judgment. I can't imagine anyone on heaven's side holding onto bitterness or questioning the Lord's decision for lack of a forgiving spirit.

            There is one thing I thought the article could of explained better. When Jesus was upon the cross and said, "forgive them for they know not what they do", on one hand I agree with the author of the article, he did not forgive those that did not repent but blatantly demonstrated forgiveness. On the other hand I think Christ reminded us of the coming comforter. The regenerator and convicter of man's conscience. There were those that condemned Christ by death because of what they thought was noble. They did it for God (religion) or country (Rome). They were not innocent, but guilty as in the charge, and ignorant of any wrong doing.

            To me it is one thing to stand before the death bed of someone about to receive the death penalty and say, I forgive you! Forgive them of what? The "what" is the rub, what are they "guilty" of? Is not the reason why they are there because they show no remorse or guilt? To me I'd be condoning the very actions that they committed. However, if that same person before receiving the lethal injection turned to me and expressed guilt over a seared conscience, I believe I'd grant them forgiveness. Forgiveness is a means of mercy, a way of relieving an offender from out of our condemnation while a pardon is the release from the legal consequences of their actions. Because I have a forgiving spirit, to clarify, does not let them off the death bed. Contrary to that belief, if this example ever arose, I ought to take a knee right next to them and pray for them, asking God to have mercy upon their soul. The "forgiving spirit" (the comforter) of our Father and Christ's, and His atonement and propitiation is why we can approach Him boldly for forgiveness.

            In brief, a forgiving spirit is difficult to have, the Spirit is selfless and does not motivate us selfishly though has the benefit of shielding us from bitterness or resentment. Again, I'm focusing on our own motive, self interest and reason, which is not beneficial. Without a forgiving spirit it may be tough, and for the one seeking forgiveness even tougher. Think about how hard it was to bend that knee the very first time and confess our sins. If we have no forgiving spirit think about how difficult it will be to forgive 70x70. Our time is limited upon this earth and we should make amends or atonement with another while we can.

            I know this is not so widely accepted, Arthur, but it completely strikes me as orthodox. Selflessness, minus any self interest or gain. It is all about the guilt and seared conscience of the one asking for forgiveness. We should relieve them of this torment for it is easy to see God working in such persons. And we should bear fruit of the Holy Spirit (comforter) to others. And I think it also should be remembered that no one forgives perfectly, nor obeys God's Law perfectly, apart from our grace in Christ.

            God bless,
            William
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            • #7
              What a coincidence, I just finished writing a post for my blog titled: How to forgive even when you can't forget. I find that I'm writing about the things that are happening in my life more and more and as I write I start to gain a deeper understanding of whatever topic I'm on. I guess it's true what they say, we do teach what we most want to learn. Ever since I learned to forgive and release people who I thought had wronged me to their greater good and me to mine, my life has transformed for the better.
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              • #8
                Do you feel sorry for sick people? I am sure you will. The person who raped and killed the child and filmed his act was also a sick person. God will definitely forgive him for He knows the person committed crime in his sickness.What do you do when a dog attacks a person? You will surely not forgive the dog. Perhaps, you would want to kill him. Knowing that the person raped and killed the child, you might have a feeling that the person should be killed. You are just a human and you cannot forgive grave crime
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by luri View Post
                  Do you feel sorry for sick people? I am sure you will. The person who raped and killed the child and filmed his act was also a sick person. God will definitely forgive him for He knows the person committed crime in his sickness.
                  Actually he wasn't. He was diagnosed as sane and killed multiple times, deliberately for kicks. He also tried to recruit others to do the same thing. Then he tried to arrange an acid attack on the relative of one of his victim's from jail. Most of the people I know are not praying for God's mercy on his soul, but for God's justice in the case.

                  The most blunt comment I have seen is from a Christian commentator saying that he could not believe God would let this person into heaven, because if he did, it would not be heaven.
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                  • #10
                    Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

                    Romans 1:28-32 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.



                    I think that some "sickness", God has already judged rather than forgiven. Fortunately, I don't need to worry about making those judgements ...


                    Romans 2:16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                      I think that some "sickness", God has already judged rather than forgiven. Fortunately, I don't need to worry about making those judgements ...
                      Only a Charismatic would call wickedness a sickness and suggest that they need healing. What's next, making an appointment with the elders for a hands on approach :eek:

                      Story time:

                      Before I met my wife I met a Charismatic from a notorious "church" here in California. They just finished the police academy and landed a job at a small city. We were talking about some of the people in life, and one particular example I was speaking about was a drug dealer, a person I was associated with at the time. I told of the conviction to my conscience whenever going over their house and seeing very young children hanging around adults doing drugs. There'd be a smoke cloud in the air and the young children would be playing in the room. The oldest seemed to be stunned in growth and was very small for his age.

                      I remember expressing that I prayed for God's justice. I remember expressing my anger with such persons and associates. She didn't like that and said what they needed was healing. She was from the Bethel "church-cult"..... I am wondering today whether her life perspective has changed after some experience and exposure to the wicked in her line of duty. Kinda entertaining, when she first met me she didn't know a thing about me, but only wanted to make an appointment with her elders for me to have hands on healing. I wonder how much that'd of cost me.

                      We were obviously at theological ends. I believe in total depravity and it seemingly was the case that she didn't, but rather believed in a victim mentality.

                      God bless,
                      William
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by William View Post

                        Only a Charismatic would call wickedness a sickness and suggest that they need healing. What's next, making an appointment with the elders for a hands on approach :eek:

                        Story time:

                        Before I met my wife I met a Charismatic from a notorious "church" here in California. They just finished the police academy and landed a job at a small city. We were talking about some of the people in life, and one particular example I was speaking about was a drug dealer, a person I was associated with at the time. I told of the conviction to my conscience whenever going over their house and seeing very young children hanging around adults doing drugs. There'd be a smoke cloud in the air and the young children would be playing in the room. The oldest seemed to be stunned in growth and was very small for his age.

                        I remember expressing that I prayed for God's justice. I remember expressing my anger with such persons and associates. She didn't like that and said what they needed was healing. She was from the Bethel "church-cult"..... I am wondering today whether her life perspective has changed after some experience and exposure to the wicked in her line of duty. Kinda entertaining, when she first met me she didn't know a thing about me, but only wanted to make an appointment with her elders for me to have hands on healing. I wonder how much that'd of cost me.

                        We were obviously at theological ends. I believe in total depravity and it seemingly was the case that she didn't, but rather believed in a victim mentality.

                        God bless,
                        William
                        When I was first saved, I once visited a First Baptist Church (they all seem to be First Baptist) and they responded by calling for security to escort me out. I admit to more surprise than anything else, but I can't say that they were wrong in their actions. I doubt any Presbyterian Church would have welcomed me either (and again, rightly so). Yet for all their faults, Charismatics and Pentecostals have an amazing capacity to show love to those no one else could or would. They frequently get used by the dishonest, but seldom for very long. They accepted and loved me and reached me with the Good News when anyone reasonable would have crossed the street.

                        Now don't get me wrong, they have a frustrating tendency to want to heal the symptom before curing the disease of being "damned". I just know of too many cases where the love led to hope and that led to the hunger for Theology. The Pentecostal Men's group gets to choose what THEY want to study. They chose John and Revelations and Proverbs and Ephesians. They want to know, they just lead with their heart.

                        Bethel in California might be different from what I experienced. Goodness knows that, like Baptists, no two are alike. :)

                        There is a sense in which everyone has a disease we caught from Adam and only Jesus has the cure. Those in sin all need the same thing, to get the cure from Jesus. Since we have no idea who and when God will do the drawing, there is nothing to be lost in calling. It IS discouraging when it keeps falling on deaf ears, but I am not responsible for creating either the faith or the growth. I am just commanded to tell what I know.

                        [PS: I also know addicts with children and the urge to just smack them upside the head and take the children is strong.]
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