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Ep. 297 Knowing How to Live Out Practical Forgiveness Is Essential

Ep. 297 Knowing How to Live Out Practical Forgiveness Is Essential

Shows Main Idea – Forgiveness is a multifaceted opportunity for two people to reconcile after there is a transgression. Because of the complexity of sin and the complications of some relationships, it’s not always straightforward. Each person must work hard to understand biblical forgiveness and do all they can to reconcile when sin divides two people. In this episode, I respond to a questioner who is asking for clarity about forgiveness.

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Show Notes

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When both parties seek godly and biblical relational reconciliation (whole, complete, restorative, like new) genuinely, isn’t forgiveness given the Christ way rather than forgiveness sought?

We have instruction many times and in many examples, direct commands, and inferences to offer, give, pronounce upon another forgiveness. Still, I’m unsure if I see a time when Christ instructs His followers to seek forgiveness.

Am I missing something? We are to forgive as Christ forgave, yes? Does He wait for, require first an apology? A payment? Making things right? I would answer my question with no and hope for or wait for correction if I’m wayward in my thinking. –Darren

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Key Idea: Forgiveness is part of the repentance process, not the beginning or end of it. For more on the doctrine of repentance, please read or listen here and watch a one-hour webinar on this subject. A ten-minute version of the longer webinar is here.

When both parties seek godly and biblical relational reconciliation (whole, complete, restorative, like new) genuinely, isn’t forgiveness given the Christ way rather than forgiveness sought?

  • When both parties want forgiveness, it will happen the “Christ way.”
    • Part of the “Christ way” could include a person seeking it.
  • I will speak to some of the key aspects of forgiveness below.

We have instruction many times and in many examples, direct commands, and inferences to offer, give, pronounce upon another forgiveness. Still, I’m unsure if I see a time when Christ instructs His followers to seek forgiveness.

  • You don’t need a verse for everything you do. The writers of the Bible did not write with that type of tight intent.
  • It is not possible or even wise to think you need a verse or passage to give you explicit directives or permission for all your decision-making.
    • That perspective is a burden we should never place on the Bible or each other. Here are a few decisions that the Bible will not give you a verse so you can be free to do what you want to do.
      • Where should I eat today?
      • Should I marry this girl?
      • What church should I attend?
      • When is a good time to change the oil in my vehicle?
      • Should I exercise three times or zero times per week?
      • Should I witness to that person at the cash register?
  • Listen to Herman Bavinck on this matter.

Scripture was not given to us in order that we should merely repeat its exact words in parrot-like fashion but in order that we should digest it in our own minds and express it in our own words.

That use was made of Scripture by Jesus and the apostles, who not only quoted the exact words of Scripture, but also by a process of reasoning arrived at inferences and conclusions based upon these words.

The Bible is neither a statute book nor a dogmatics-text but it is the source of theology. As the Word of God, not only its exact words have binding authority but so have all conclusions that are properly derived from it.

Furthermore, neither study of Scripture nor theological activity is at all possible unless one uses terms that do not occur in the Bible. –Reformed Dogmatics Volume 2: God and Creation, by Herman Bavinck, Baker Academic, 2006, p. 296

Darren then asks, referring to my article Don’t Apologize and Don’t Say, “I’m Sorry,”

Am I missing something? We are to forgive as Christ forgave, yes? Does He wait for, require first an apology? A payment? Making things right? I would answer my question with no and hope for or wait for correction if I’m wayward in my thinking.

  • He misread the article, thinking I’m appealing to folks to apologize.

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Practical Thoughts on Forgiveness

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Texts that Imply Seeking Reconciliation

  • Luke 15:18-22 – The Prodigal Son is seeking forgiveness from his father.
  • Romans 12:18 instructs us to do all that depends on us to live in peace with others.
  • James 4:17 says if we know to do good, it would be sinful not to do it.
  • James 5:16 says we should confess our sins to one another.

Conditions When You Can’t Forgive

  • The offender is dead.
  • The offender is an abuser.
  • The offender is unwilling to reconcile.
  • The offender is not a Christian.

Understand Transactional and Attitudinal Forgiveness

  • Attitudinal forgiveness releases you.
  • Transactional forgiveness is two people working to neutralize the sin.

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