Sunday, February 27, 2005

Forgiving the unrepentant

Jollyblogger and Eternal Perspectives write this weekend about repentance and forgiveness. Both articles deal with the difficult question of forgiving the unrepentant. Mike at EP gives a solid biblical grounding to the topic, while David at Jb includes some very practical insights.

David and Mike help dispel a lot of the hogswallop surrounding the ideas of forgiveness and repentance in the minds of some Christians. Many, I think, want to extend unconditional forgiveness with no consideration at all for repentance. Worse, perhaps, is the attitude I held for years: that unless someone repents of an offense against us, we are free in God's eyes to nurture our hurt and resentment.

The only way I'm able to forgive the unrepentant is the way the psalmists did: leave it to God. In many cases I can't excuse the behavior, but I can relinquish my claim to vengeance on the one who has hurt me. As Paul told the Romans in the "chapter of transformation": "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'" (Rom. 12:19).

Update: John offers more thoughts on this issue at Blogotional.


Blogger John Schroeder said...

The relationship between forgiveness and repentance is one of the most difficult issues I have run into in theological discussion. I posted more on the matter here.

10:41 AM, February 28, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks, John. I've added a link on the main post. Peace.

10:59 AM, February 28, 2005  

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