I have heard this all my life. There are many Bible verses to back this up and I understand what people mean. Usually they are longing for the ‘sinner’ to come to their senses and stop doing the ‘sin’ to come and apologise and then the sinned against can proclaim forgiveness over them. Sounds perfect doesn’t it? What happens if the perfection doesn’t happen or in that precise order?
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go.” (Matthew 18 v 23-27)
It was an incalculable amount but it hasn’t stopped people trying to work it out! Anything ranging from 2.5 billion to hundreds of billions of dollars!!
It was an overwhelming and unpayable debt.
The servant could not repay it. So a life of slavery for himself and his family was what they faced. Such bond-slavery is still the reality for many in our world today.
It is an incredible story isn’t it?
Forgiveness is not settlement of differences. It is not justice.
Forgiveness is giving what is not deserved. It is cancelling debts and it is releasing the person with no strings attached.
Forgiveness is birthed through ‘pity/compassion’. How does that come to us?
Was it because he fell on his knees?
Was it because he begged?
Was it because of a pathetic attempt of a promise?
What would happen if those 3 things are not there? If someone will not repent do you still forgive? What if they are dead?
No repentance no forgiveness! Really? If that be really true then we have been set up to carry in our life a whole lot of unforgiveness!
We can only find the answer if we turn the cross of Christ into a courtroom.
Christ forgave you even when you were not repentant. There are 2 miracles: the miracle of forgiveness and the miracle of a repentant heart (a changed life). If God’s forgiveness relied heavily on a repentant world then we have a God who is battling with unforgiveness because the world lies unrepentant.
The miracle of forgiveness is for you the one who is sinned against and settles your wrath. The miracle of a changed heart because of that forgiveness is for the sinner and as this story tells us these miracles at times don’t always happen and can lead to worse situations for the unrepentant heart.
Has someone hurt you and it is impossible to approach them to tell them? Has someone hurt you who is no longer here? Has someone hurt you who refuses to apologise? Then your prayer is still forgiveness, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Their story isn’t over. But yours doesn’t have to become twisted and broken because of the sin of the unrepentant.