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God will not forgive us if we don't forgive others?

Started by AudioArtist, October 11, 2011, 11:12:17 pm

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AudioArtist

October 11, 2011, 11:12:17 pm Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 11:39:04 pm by AudioArtist
Jesus says a number of times that if we do not forgive, our Father will not forgive us. I understand He was teaching pre-cross here, but I am still bothered by the statement and don't think it can be swept away that easily. Here is His famous parable illustrating the point:

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”


I understand that this parable is contrasting the huge amount of sin God forgives in us in comparison to what we have to forgive others for. God's incredible mercy covers a multitude of evils in us, and if we have been forgiven so much by God, surely we should forgive others? But the confusion that is preventing me from receiving from this parable is this: if God's huge amount of forgiveness can be undone or revoked ('the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt') by a single act of unforgiveness on our part - well, looking through the lens of this parable in this way, His forgiveness doesn't look so huge anymore!   

I know unforgiveness is a horrible, bitter poison, and I agree that we should always be ready to forgive - just as our Heavenly Father is. But Jesus seems to tie our ability to forgive others with whether our Father will forgive us our not (or rather whether we will remain forgiven), and as someone who has at times struggled with this, that frightens me. Of course, I don't want an excuse not to forgive in the future - I want to forgive as He has forgiven me! - but I want assurance that God's love will cover me during moments where I find this hard, and some of Jesus' words can take away that assurance. Unless Jesus is referring to Earthly torment and is not speaking of eternal destinies here.

Paul makes the situation clearer by indicating that because God has forgiven us [past tense, done and finished], we ought to forgive others (Colossians 3:13: '...forgive as the Lord forgave you'), and other NT epistles make it clear that it's God's unconditional love and forgiveness towards us in the first place that enables us to love Him and forgive others at all. But my issue is with this passage, so any ideas dealing specifically with this parable would be most welcome! I have an orthodox Protestant understanding of our salvation and have read many times what the rest of the Bible states about how we are saved. It's this one parable and related statements by Jesus that are causing some distress. And earlier on in the day - before I read these verses again - I was enjoying God's love so much! I wish Jesus' words weren't so difficult! I believe by God's power we can absolutely live a life where we're always forgiving others (I've experienced it through the Spirit, and it's beautiful), but sometimes the flesh can get the better of us - and it seems according to what Jesus said all sins can be forgiven, again and again, except the unforgivable sin and a lack of forgiveness on our part - which is one of the hardest sins to avoid in life, unless we're living as monks away from any other people!


DiscipleHeLovesToo

Jesus is talking to Peter here about forgiving his brothers and sisters - to me this means Peter's spiritual brothers and sisters; these are people who are reborn in Christ and have received God's forgiveness - if we refuse to forgive a brother-in-Christ, we are in opposition to God, who has forgiven them - this makes it impossible to receive  our own forgiveness.

there is only one sin unto death - the sin of rejecting Jesus (rejecting God).  therefore, when i see what seems to be a contradiction like this, i consider if this one unforgivable sin is the subject; in this case it is, as you have to reject God in order to permanently withhold forgiveness toward those who have received His forgiveness.  this is not to say that God doesn't forgive me if i haven't yet forgiven a brother in Christ, He sees my heart and deals with me based on His foreknowledge of what I will do - He chose me, and He didn't make a mistake.

hope that helps!

GLY!!!


Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Pete

Here's something I wrote last May about this;

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In Matthew 18, Jesus told the following parable concerning forgiveness;

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Matthew 18:23-35 (AMP)
Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a human king who wished to settle accounts with his attendants. When he began the accounting, one was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents [probably about $10,000,000], And because he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and his children and everything that he possessed, and payment to be made. So the attendant fell on his knees, begging him, Have patience with me and I will pay you everything. And his master's heart was moved with compassion, and he released him and forgave him [cancelling] the debt. But that same attendant, as he went out, found one of his fellow attendants who owed him a hundred denarii [about twenty dollars]; and he caught him by the throat and said, Pay what you owe! So his fellow attendant fell down and begged him earnestly, Give me time, and I will pay you all! But he was unwilling, and he went out and had him put in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow attendants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and told everything that had taken place to their master. Then his master called him and said to him, You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave and cancelled all that [great] debt of yours because you begged me to. And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant, as I had pity and mercy on you? And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all that he owed. So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.

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I've used the Amplified Bible, because it provides approximate US dollar amounts for the debt, and I think that it's imperative to understand the significance of this parable.

So here's a guy that owes about $10,000,000 who could not pay the debt.  But this guy begged his master to be merciful, and his master was moved with compassion, and CANCELED his entire debt.  Now as this guy is leaving, just having had a $10,000,000 debt canceled, he runs across another guy that owes him $20.  Unbelievably, he grabs this guy by the throat and demands payment immediately.  This attendant did the exact same thing, begging him to give him time to pay the debt, but the guy who had the huge debt canceled didn't really care, and had the guy that owed him $20 thrown in prison.

Now, just stop for a minute and think for a minute about every sin you've ever committed, every wrong thought you've had, every guy you've flipped off in rush hour traffic, every time you've been rude to your spouse, every time you've kicked your dog, every time you've disrespected your brothers and sisters in Christ, every time you've lost your temper, every immoral act you've committed, everything you've ever done wrong....

Do you see it?  Do you see the insurmountable mountain of debt that you could never pay on your own?

*** CANCELED ***

That's right.  All of those things are erased.  As far as the east is from the west, God remembers them no more.

Now, consider any unforgiveness in your life.  Think about that offense you're holding onto.  Does it compare?  Do you see the $20 offense you're demanding retribution for?  Do you see how it pales in comparison to the $10,000,000 debt that Jesus Christ has canceled on your behalf?

Unforgiveness holds us captive.  Note that when the attendant refused to forgive the small debt, His master had him thrown in prison, and held him accountable for a debt that he could never pay on his own.  Also note that his refusal to forgive the debt resulted in him being tormented.

This is what we do when we hold onto any unforgiveness.  There simply is no comparison in what we have been forgiven, and whatever it is that we are demanding forgiveness for.  It's like we're the crazy attendant, demanding our $20, when we just had a $10,000,000 debt canceled.

I encourage you, if you have unforgiveness in your life, let it go and forgive.  Harboring unforgiveness only holds you captive, torments you, and makes you accountable for a debt you can never repay.  But the good news is, as soon as you offer the same forgiveness that has been given to you, you are set free.  It means you're going to have to let go of your right to recover that $20, but in return, you'll be forgiven a far greater debt, and set free from torment.  Sounds like a good deal to me!  ;)

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

Foadle

Matthew 6 states: Forgive us ... as we forgive.  Ultimately we do set the bench mark.  It is one of many verses that I would rather was not in the Bible but it is and it is confronting.  So in a sense yes what you are saying is right and that is hard.

It interested me much that you had said that you were having such a beautiful time experiencing the love of God.  By the sound of things the enemy is trying to have a field day with you.  You were doing fine until... To me it appears that the enemy has come in to take your focus off the love of God which was doing so much for you.  All the time we focus on God and the love He showed through Jesus that same love grows in us.

1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God because God is love.

1 Corinthians 13:5 .... [love] keeps no record or wrongs.

Forgiveness is apart of love and you do have that ability.

Romans 5:5 The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.

If your anything like me, you will not necessarily find this easy to do.  Just continue to focus on the love of God as you were, enjoying and experiencing it.  We are creatures of imitation.  That was how God made us.  We are to follow the example of the Father and we can only do that by continuing in time with Him.

Nothing can separate you from His love (Rom 8:39).  God loves you and because He loves you He is the one who will help you through even the hardest times of forgiveness.  The only prerequisites: Give it to God and say God I can't do this of myself.  But I know your love for me and that Jesus is in me.  Guide me and show me how I can release the love and forgiveness of Jesus for this person or in this situation.  Because he loves you He will answer your prayer.  Because he is a gentleman he will wait for you to ask.  He won't just step in and take over.

Hisgirl

I agree with what Foadle says.  You have focused on love and God's goodness, why go back to this?  If it is for education purposes and helping others get free, that's one thing, but don't embrace doubt again...please!


In the story about the King and the one who refuses to forgive the one who owes him, I personally believe Matthew 18:34, 35, which says,

Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

is a quite serious passage and one that cannot be sugar-coated.  Jesus said it.  It's in the Word.  And it doesn't sound like rainbows and kittens, does it?

I don't believe this is talking about our spirit and our eternal salvation, which has been sealed for eternity by the Holy Spirit.  But I do believe this has to do with here on earth and our experience here, brought on by the bars we placed around ourselves due to unforgiveness.

One person I led through hours of of forgiveness was set free from multiple personalities.

I would say that this person was tortured until forgiveness was released.

God is serious about forgiveness.  It's bondage and what held us away from him prior to Jesus.  When we embrace the devil's tools we put bars around ourselves and subject ourselves to the enemy's tactics.
"It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."  My Mama

DiscipleWhomJesusLoves

God will not forgive us unless we forgive others?

Under the law, yes.


Under grace, no. We are already forgiven of all, of every sin of our entire life. If we don't forgive others, we are still forgiven, because our salvation/forgiveness is not contingent on what we do, but what Christ has done.

Under law you forgive IN ORDER to be forgiven by God.

Under grace, as Paul states, we forgive BECAUSE we have already been forgiven of all by God. But whether we forgive others or not DOES NOT add or take away from the finished work of Christ.

We are no longer under the law but under grace.

As long as we don't rightly divide the Word btw law and grace, the parables and passages in the Bible will always be confusing.

We must understand that while Jesus came to preach grace, He was born during the dispensation of the law. The Pharisees diluted the law and made it keepable. They only observed it outwardly. But Jesus came and brought the law back to it's perfect standard, saying that you cannot just keep it outwardly, you have to keep it in your heart too. That's why He said that even if you lust after a woman in your heart, you are an adulterer. If your eye offends you, pluck it out etc. He brought the law back to its perfect UNKEEPABLE standard, so that people will see their need for grace, for the Savior.

The rich young ruler came to Him boasting about his ability to keep the law. And because of this, Jesus gave him the law. Jesus should have said, believe in me and you will be saved. But He gave the man the law because the man was boasting. When you boast about your ability to keep the law, the perfect law will always point out what you lack because you can never keep all the law.

AudioArtist

Thank you for all your responses. I found them all really helpful, and DiscipleWhomJesusLoves - I found yours so helpful I messaged it to a friend on facebook. I hope you don't mind. :)

Remembering Jesus' quotes from Matthew alone (which seems a very "Law-ish" Gospel), I think we could say that "you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect", and that "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted", and “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven", and also that “with people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

It is impossible for us to be perfect, but we are made perfect in Christ.

DiscipleWhomJesusLoves

Quote from: AudioArtist on October 24, 2011, 10:49:25 am
Thank you for all your responses. I found them all really helpful, and DiscipleWhomJesusLoves - I found yours so helpful I messaged it to a friend on facebook. I hope you don't mind. :)

Remembering Jesus' quotes from Matthew alone (which seems a very "Law-ish" Gospel), I think we could say that "you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect", and that "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted", and "unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven", and also that "with people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

It is impossible for us to be perfect, but we are made perfect in Christ.


Sure no problem, most welcomed. I'm only telling you what I myself have been taught. Again, I wld encourage you to read the book Destined To Reign by Joseph Prince. To me he's the best at rightly dividing the Word. And the best at giving you the Emmaus Road experience -- bringing out Christ from the OT and even NT. I think he will answer a lot of the questions you have. You can check out his sermons on YouTube too.

jiminpa

You talk about pre-cross all you want, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Jesus says we have to forgive.  Yet we can't forgive enough.  Foadle hit it on the head.  When we can't forgive, if we are willing to take our unforgiveness to the throne of grace, God can walk us through forgiving.  I know.  I have an ex-wife and my parents were murdered in a way that made the AP wire.  And the ex is the more difficult.
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.

DiscipleWhomJesusLoves

Quote from: jiminpa on October 24, 2011, 11:22:25 pm
...God is the same yesterday, today and forever...


You will only find that to be so true when you rightly divide the Word.

Hisgirl

Quote from: AudioArtist on October 24, 2011, 10:49:25 am
Thank you for all your responses. I found them all really helpful, and DiscipleWhomJesusLoves - I found yours so helpful I messaged it to a friend on facebook. I hope you don't mind. :)

Remembering Jesus' quotes from Matthew alone (which seems a very "Law-ish" Gospel), I think we could say that "you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect", and that "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted", and "unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven", and also that "with people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

It is impossible for us to be perfect, but we are made perfect in Christ.


Keep in mind, Robert, Jesus had just finished saying you are to forgive seventy times seven.  Are we to also say he was talking about the law?  I humbly disagree with what was said. If this is true, we are to disregard what Jesus said and taught and only embrace Paul's teachings post-cross.  Jesus said this parable was likened to the Kingdom of God.  Do some serious commentary studies on this as I think it's a very important parable.
"It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."  My Mama

Optimax

An unwillingness to forgive someone stems from a person not having come to a place where they totally trust God.

We are instructed to cast our cares over on Him because He cares for us. If we really believe that He really cares for us as He says that He does and is not a liar, then we can and will with peace cast our cares, worries, and yes even our "unforgiveness" onto Him.

We can do that because we know that He is just and fair and will deal with whatever we cast over on Him in a totally right way.

For unforgiveness.
If we persist in demanding someone pay for what they did to us, real or perceived, then we have to "pay" for what we do to others.

Most of us would "owe" more than owed.

jiminpa

Quote from: DiscipleWhomJesusLoves on October 25, 2011, 12:55:04 am
You will only find that to be so true when you rightly divide the Word.
If by rightly dividing the word you mean holding to a position that God is not the same yesterday, today and forever, I couldn't disagree more.  God's love, grace, justice and mercy are eternal and infinite.  The wrath He has in both the old and new testaments goes hand in hand with those traits. 
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.

DiscipleWhomJesusLoves

Quote from: Hisgirl on October 25, 2011, 08:48:31 am
Keep in mind, Robert, Jesus had just finished saying you are to forgive seventy times seven.  Are we to also say he was talking about the law?  I humbly disagree with what was said. If this is true, we are to disregard what Jesus said and taught and only embrace Paul's teachings post-cross.  Jesus said this parable was likened to the Kingdom of God.  Do some serious commentary studies on this as I think it's a very important parable.


One of the reasons we have so many disagreements about the Bible is that we always think that the whole Bible is written only TO the CHURCH. We think that the church has replaced Israel. We forget that Jesus was a Jew who came to the Jews first under the dispensation of the law. There had to be a transition period to grace.

And as long as we keep thinking that it's all about the church and no one else, we can never fully understand the Bible. We take what is meant for someone else (in particular the Jews under the law) and apply it to the church under grace.

In essence, yes, the Bible is divinely put together by God FOR the church. But not everything written in it is TO the church. And until we learn this basic Bible study principle, we will always be putting new wine into old wine skins, sewing an old patch onto a new cloth, getting confused, and mixing law and grace.

DiscipleWhomJesusLoves

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

1 Peter 4:17
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

If you think that Peter is talking to the church, then you will think that judgment begins with the church. That if we don't get things right, judgment and punishment are going to come upon the church.

This is a common teaching that puts fear in people and it comes about because we think everything written is TO the church.

But if you realize that Peter was an apostle to the circumcised (the Jews), then you will realize that the "judgment" Peter spoke of has already happened in AD70, when the house of God (i.e. the Temple--Jesus called it My Father's house) was destroyed by the Romans, because the Jews continued to reject Jesus.

See:

Galatians 2:7-10
7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter  8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

We must realize that Peter, James and John were sent to the Jews, whereas Paul was sent to the Gentiles. That's why we say that Paul's letters are most relevant to us the church.

I'm not saying throw out what Peter, James and John have written. I'm saying that we have to be discerning, because many a time they addressed their Jewish brethren. (Yes, Jews call each other "brothers" too. It's not just a Christian thing.) So not every sentence, every instruction is TO the church. Sometimes, we got to understand that certain instructions are TO their Jewish brothers, who have yet to accept Jesus as Messiah.

Again, all I am saying is that we need to rightly divide the Word if we want to understand the Bible. Stop thinking that it's all about the church.

Hisgirl

Thanks for that explanation.

Helps me to understand your belief behind your stance.  :)



"It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."  My Mama

DiscipleWhomJesusLoves

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that there's no need to forgive others. I'm just saying it's not necessary for salvation. It doesn't make you more holy or more righteous if you forgive others. And God doesn't love you more or less depending on how well you forgive others. Also, sometimes people who have been deeply hurt may take their whole life just to forgive. Is God not going to love them in the meantime? Of course not.

That said, unforgiveness in your heart does have its consequences. You suffer in life and become less than whole, while the person who has hurt you may be enjoying life for all you know. Also, bitterness and resentment can lead to some diseases too. But these are not "punishments" from God. These are the consequences of not wanting or being able to let go.

And only knowing how totally and perfectly God has forgiven you and how much He loves you despite your unforgiveness/weaknesses will empower you to forgive.

Hisgirl

Quote from: DiscipleWhomJesusLoves on October 27, 2011, 09:56:43 pm
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that there's no need to forgive others. I'm just saying it's not necessary for salvation. It doesn't make you more holy or more righteous if you forgive others. And God doesn't love you more or less depending on how well you forgive others. Also, sometimes people who have been deeply hurt may take their whole life just to forgive. Is God not going to love them in the meantime? Of course not.

That said, unforgiveness in your heart does have its consequences. You suffer in life and become less than whole, while the person who has hurt you may be enjoying life for all you know. Also, bitterness and resentment can lead to some diseases too. But these are not "punishments" from God. These are the consequences of not wanting or being able to let go.

And only knowing how totally and perfectly God has forgiven you and how much He loves you despite your unforgiveness/weaknesses will empower you to forgive.


Yep, totally agree.   :)
"It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."  My Mama

lismore

To add to the interesting replies above.

If you are carrying round a lot of unforgiveness/ bitterness with you, then how likely would you be to ask God for forgiveness?  Therefore to forgive others opens up forgiveness for yourself.