|I have heard recently someone say, "Well, I just forgave them (even though they said nothing about repenting or asking for forgiveness!) Where did Christians get this idea? God does not forgive us just automatically without confession or repentance. |
In our spiritual walk with the Lord, He does not forgive us in our walk with Him unless we repent. We read "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins ..." (1 John 1:9). I'm often asked about the forgiveness of the soldiers who crucified Christ. He forgave them because He said, "They do not know what they are doing!" (Luke 23:34). The soldiers were innocent of a crime when they put Him on the cross. They were just carrying out their orders and had no malice aimed at Him.
But the Lord said in Luke 17:4: "If one sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' [then] you forgive him." We do not simply forgive automatically those who harm us. They need to "repent" before the Lord. And admit to us that they wronged us as well. We then do not hold out our forgiveness and acceptance with those who confess that they have wronged us. We accept their apology and their honesty that they have hurt us. If their repentance is truly genuine, we are required to accept their confession. But we don't do it with nose in the air!
But to go running after people only allows them to say, "Well, that wasn't so bad. I could say and do what I wanted to with no consequences!" People have to learn to be responsible for their sins, and, they have to be given an opportunity to confess their sins, bring them up, and ask forgiveness. -- Dr. Mal Couch (1/11)