Yesterday in my church we remembered in the gospel how we must forgive 'seventy times seven'(Luke 17).This forgiveness, according to the gospel, is conditional upon the wrong doer repenting. I have always followed the belief that forgiveness should be unconditional. Indeed both our Lord and St Stephen asked that the sins of their persecutors would not be laid upon them-but there is no indication that they repented.
In families and everyday life we have to forgive wrongs without the overt repentance of the person causing the wrong in order to keep the peace.
What do the Fathers say? Or perhaps you have some insight or other information.
Please let me know. Thanks
Here's another verse:
"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:25-26)
Day 33: LET US CLEANSE OUR MINDS
Accordingly, let no one have wicked thoughts within, but let us cleanse our minds, and as we are approaching a clean sacrifice (Mt. 11:11), let us make our souls holy. And this can be accomplished in a single day. How? In what way? If you have anything against your enemy, get rid of your wrath, heal the wound, let go your hostility, that you may receive healing from the table, for you are approaching the awesome and holy sacrifice. The slain offering is Christ. And for whom was He slain, for what purpose? That He might make peace between heaven and earth (Col. 1:20), to make you a friend of the angels, to reconcile you to the God of all, to make you, an enemy and adversary, a friend. He gave His life for those who hated Him. Will you continue in enmity with your fellow servant? And how will you be able to approach the table of peace? He did not refuse even to die for you, and do you refuse to let go of your wrath towards your fellow servant? What kind of forgiveness does such behavior deserve? “He is abusive, and terrible rapacious,” you say. But what is this? Your loss has altogether to do with money. He has not yet wounded you as Judas did Christ. But nevertheless, He has given His blood which was shed for the salvation of those who shed it. What can you say that equals this? If you do not forgive your enemy, you injure not him, but yourself. For you may have harmed him frequently in the present life, but you have rendered yourself unable to plead for pardon in the day to come. For God hates nothing so much as a man who harbors grudges, as a heart swollen, a soul seething with resentment. Hear at least, what He says, "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Mt. 5:23-24)
The problem I have in understanding is that Christ our Saviour forgives all men for free. Yet in order to be saved we need to appropriate this to our lives. Do we appropriate his forgiveness to our lives by unconditionally forgiving others or dor they need to come and ask for forgiveness. Maybe the language is baffling me.
If we focus only on ourselves, then our salvation, to an extent, relies on our ability to forgive those who offend us before they ask for it. It should be unconditional as we say in the Lord's prayer, 'And forgives us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us'. There is no conditional statement in this prayer (i.e. as we forgive those who ask us for forgiveness). Thus, if we have been offended, then we should forgive regardless of whether the offender comes and asks for forgiveness or not. If we are the offender, then it should go without saying that we should immediately ask the forgiveness of the one we have offended. I had been talking with someone very dear to my heart, and something they shared with me was the following: to return good for good is human; to return good for evil is divine. We, as Christians, must always strive to do that which is divine, because Christ calls us to be perfect and holy just as our Father in heaven is Perfect and Holy.
We are sinners, yet the Word became Incarnate and suffered upon the Cross to redeem us. He did not say that only those who were good people would be saved, He said all sinners could be saved.
Of course we have to confess our sins and repent of them and amend our lives, but if we love only our friends, what profit is there in that, do not the heathens do that? Our command is to love our enemies - and that means forgiving even those who do not repent. What their fate before God will be if they do not repent, only He knows. We are not God and we should forgive, as we hope He will pardon us.
Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against one another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.[/glow]
[glow=orange,2,300]Matthew 6: 14
“ For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you.”[/glow]
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God forgave you.[/glow]
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.[/glow]
[glow=purple,2,300]Psalm 86: 5
For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You[/glow]