Saturday, July 10, 2010


Just wondering.

If it's "really hard to forgive someone" who has harmed you, betrayed you, sinned against you, ...
would that mean your forgiveness wasn't really forgiveness?


  1. I would think that such forgiveness is the kind God cares about the most. It may be really hard, you may not have any feelings of forgiveness at all. But the fact that you do it anyways is a confession that forgiveness comes not from yourself, but from God. In so doing, you are taking up your cross and following Christ. And as Luther writes concerning the fifth petition in the Large Catechism, such forgiveness for others is also a sign and comfort that God has forgiven you.

  2. I guess maybe I'm wondering what "forgiveness" is. It's not a feeling, right? But what does it mean to "do it anyway"? What is the "doing" in forgiveness? I keep thinking about what Pastor says about not demanding the pound of flesh, not rubbing someone's nose in their sin, not wanting to make them pay. That's not doing something; I think that's what confuses me.

    And then I'm puzzling too over the Old Adam versus the New Man. The New Man can't help but forgive. The Old Adam ain't gonna forgive, no way, no how. So that's why I'm wondering what it is for forgiveness to be a hard thing to do. If the Old Adam is in control so that it's "really hard" to forgive, then what's the answer for being able to forgive?

  3. This might be slightly off topic, but maybe forgiving is like loving. Sometimes you don't "feel the love" toward someone, but you still love them. You might have to tell yourself that regardless of the person's faults, darn it, you're gonna love them anyway.

    Maybe in reminding yourself and the person that you love them, you might start to believe it or "feel" it again. Could it be the same with forgiveness? It might be hard to forgive someone, just like it's hard to love someone at times, but do it anyway, and you might start feeling it. Heck, you might even start feeling good about it! (Did any of that make any sense? I hope so.)

  4. That makes sense, Meghan. Love is a decision, not a feeling. Maybe forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling, too. And it's just a matter of bringing out feelings and actions into conformity with the decision of the New Man that is in accord with God's word. (Does that sound okay?)

    I guess I just get a little squeamish when I hear about various good works or fruits of faith being "hard." It makes me wonder if we're talking about reforming the Old Adam instead of killing him. But I think (?) there's a way it's proper to talk about it.

  5. Sean, looking at your first sentence, do you think maybe it's not forgiveness that's hard but maybe forgiveness that hurts that is the kind God cares about most?