Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Other Side of Forgiveness - Some questions about Being Forgiven

     Matthew 5:23-24:  “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."  But what if your brother or sister is not open to reconciliation?

Matthew 1815-  : “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  But again, what if the other person will not listen and instead responds with anger or vengeance?

1 Corinthians 11:27-28   So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.  For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.  So, if we have said we are sorry, asked for forgiveness, but it is not granted to us (ie, again, there is no reconciliation), should we refrain from taking communion?  Common wisdom says that when we cannot forgive others, we should refrain from taking communion...using a fast from communion to empower us to focus our hearts instead on forgiveness, what that means, how to do it, asking God's help to let go and see the other with compassion rather than anger or hatred.  But what if we have forgiven, but are not forgiven in return? Not everyone is willing to reconcile, even people who consider themselves Christians.

John 20:23   If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.  So again, if another person of faith declares you to be unforgivable, does this mean you actually are?

Next blog post I may give some of my answers to these questions...but I would really like to hear your thoughts in the mean time.