I was listening to a lecture for a class I'm taking in seminary this week, and the teaching professor said something that totally threw me for a loop. He was talking about the difference between true peacemaking and appeasement, and he said that we have cheapened the concept of forgiveness. Referencing Luke 17:3-4
, he said that we should listen again to what Jesus actually said:"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him."
Which could imply that if he doesn't repent, you shouldn't forgive him.
I've been taught that forgiveness has two dimensions: 1) the actual act of forgiving someone - no longer holding them accountable for what they did to you (tho how this actually works in the context of some choices having consequences I don't always quite know) and 2) the emotional benefit that comes from forgiving someone. Bitterness and unforgiveness do as much - if not more - hurt and damage to our own hearts as they do to the person towards whom we hold them.... So shouldn't we forgive? At least in theory, even if practically our relationship with the person in question is altered by whatever fall-out there is from the situation? According to what Jesus says here, maybe not...
What do you think about this? I'm happy to say that I don't think
there are any situations in my life that make this question pressing, but there have been in the past and there probably will be again someday, so I'm hoping to think this through a bit while I'm not
Labels: Spiritual Formation, Theology