Debt Relief — Rethinking Forgiveness and Reconciliation from Jesus’ Point of View

Online GreetingReady to have a huge load lifted off of your shoulders? A load of guilt that God never meant for you to carry?

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, it is my sense that far too often in the Christian community at large, we display a woefully naive and underdeveloped understanding of person-to-person forgiveness.

Too many times I get the sense that our default position is to demand of the one who is wronged his or her need to forgive the one who wronged him. While at the same time almost giving a pass to the one who committed the wrong in the first place. As if to say, “Yes, it’s too bad that someone hurt you. But you are obligated to forgive that person, whether they acknowledge the hurt they caused or not.”

I mean, is it not one of the most basic of Christian ethics to say to someone who has been deeply wounded, “You need to forgive the person who wronged you, love the person who wronged you, and be reconciled with the person who wronged you. No matter what”? Whether or not they make any attempt to right the wrong that they committed? Whether or not they repent of the wrong, or even admit their wrong? 

A woefully inadequate view of forgiveness which (IMHO) ignores Jesus’ purposeful and particular and pointed and powerful usage of the word “debts.”

A naive view of forgiveness which, in far too many cases, only amplifies the pain caused to the one who is wronged. (When we demand of the one who was wronged a forgiving spirit, while neglecting to suggest any obligation on the part of the one who did the wrong to right the wrongs that they committed, or in Jesus’ words, to settle their “debts.”)

A woefully underdeveloped theology of forgiveness which only empowers and enables hurtful behavior.

Which forces me to ask, Why do we do this? Why do we hold the persons who are hurt accountable to forgive the ones who hurt them, without equally holding accountable those who caused the pain to their biblical obligation to right the wrongs that they committed? Thereby empowering dysfunctional behavior on the part of one who caused the pain in the 1st place? Which only motivates them to continue to hurt others with no accountability whatsoever.

Is this really what Jesus meant to teach here, in the Lord’s Prayer, when He taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”? That no matter what the hurt, how deep the hurt, we just forgive. End of story.

I don’t think so.

You might be in for a pleasant surprise as you listen to this podcast.

Please note that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!!!

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3 thoughts on “Debt Relief — Rethinking Forgiveness and Reconciliation from Jesus’ Point of View

  1. Cindy

    I just want to thank you so much for bring to light that fact that I have permission from our God…

  2. As you like to say Dewey – SPOT ON! Loved this message! You’re definitely not the only one who’s never heard a sermon on repentance and restitution, only an incessant (and yes, naive) nagging to forgive those who’ve hurt us regardless of their attitude towards the offense. I think this has had the unintended effect of increasing the hurts and divisions and feelings of injustice among us. What would the church look like if we were not only a forgiving people, but also a repenting people? And your final point about our not being obligated to forgive the unrepentant, but that we can choose to forgive, that truth alone would set so many people free of bitterness (myself included, honestly). Great word, thank you!

  3. Nice. But whats the next step? I wanna escape this mentality!

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