Thursday, October 3, 2013

Before you can be forgiven you must forgive yourself?

Forgiveness implies that someone has done wrong. A person who forgives ceases to hold resentment. When God forgives he grants remission of the offenses. With God forgiveness is mercy for rebellion against him. For mortals forgiveness can be for actual wrong or perceived wrong.

Let's first look at perceived wrongs. Some may get angry if on some point there is disagreement. No one did wrong; that's what I call "world's colliding". Those world's collide often in marriage. Colliding world's is a tool Satan uses to make dysfunctional families to the extent that marriages are destroyed. When marrying each partner brings along a milieu. Sometimes the environments match; sometimes they don't. Most likely any couple who gets married has many familial differences. Those differences are sources of turbulence, and Satan just loves it!

Perceived wrongs, however, can be on any subject. People are clumsy in speech and actions and others are just overly sensitive; thin-skinned if you prefer. When around some people, known to be thin-skinned, it's as if everyone is walking on thin ice. It's necessary to watch words, actions and even expressions so that the thin-skinned one will not be offended!  It may be that skin thickness is inversely proportional to how secure a person is in their own world!

To be "the better person" a Christian must often resort to asking forgiveness for perceived wrongs although the wrong is only in the mind of the beholder. It takes a humble and secure person to grant forgiveness when no wrong was intended. My hat's off to those that can do that and I pray that there is a special place in heaven for those that are meek!

Greater than perceived wrongs are actual wrongs. In the religious world actual wrongs are the sins of individuals.  The irreligious have no standards of conduct except those that they agree to impose upon themselves. Many impose no morality on themselves or anyone else. "If it feels good do it!" is their creed and by belief they are Epicureans. They live for pleasure and each irreligious person in effect makes themselves God. In fact, many "New Agers" believe that God is themselves and it is only necessary to have a peak experience after self-actuating to find God within! (This differs from Christians who are temples for God compared to heretics who believe that they are gods!)

Holy Scripture reminds us that we're all evil-doers/wrong-doers/sinners. Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

Excepting the Son of Man (Jesus) everyone who ever lived was a sinner. (That includes me and everyone else. Self-righteous people are sinners too! They're just blind to their own sins.)  We have all done wrong. Whether anyone likes it or not "wrong" is legally, morally and ethically derived from Judaism. There isn't one "wrong" not included in The Law, The Pentetuch (first five books of the Old Testament). All religions in the world are either descendants of Judaism or apostatized from  the teachings of JHWH, the Hebrew God.

Since we have all done wrong, any "sane" individual should desire forgiveness to avoid eternal punishment if nothing else. However, it's obvious that when pleasure is the principle, evil-doers feel no desire to seek forgiveness since they in effect have set themselves up as idols. They worship self by putting self above God! Hence, "insanity" in my view is worship of oneself!

As for Christians it would be logical to assume that each sought forgiveness to become a disciple of Christ!  (Keep in mind that most Christians are "Christians in name only" and have never confessed their sins).  Likewise, if a person seeks forgiveness from God it is logical that they recognize the wrong they've done.  A sincere Christian not only recognizes the wrong they've done, but feels remorse for those sins. If no remorse is felt, contrition is faux and forgiveness isn't received! Therefore, sincere sorrow and contrition is rare and hence the "path is narrow" to eternal life. Look at yourself honestly and evaluate your own contrition. Are you truly sorry?

This leads me to a conversation. In Bible Study several years ago a young lady said "It order to be forgiven by Christ you must first forgive yourself!"  Being older than most in the group I politely asked  "From what Scripture did that come?" She replied "I don't know. I just always heard that." 

There are several verses where forgiveness is contingent upon forgiving. Here's one prominent example:

Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"

However, in all cases "forgive" refers to "forgiving others" and precedes Christ providing forgiveness to the sinner. In not one instance is Christ's forgiveness contingent upon "forgiving oneself". To think that way is presumptuous and heretical. In effect the sinner is placing himself in equal or greater stature than God.

Here's an example of what it takes for Christ to forgive. The person doing the anointing is what we call a harlot:

Luke 7:46 "My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman (the harlot) hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven."
Did the harlot "forgive herself". No! She merely honored Jesus recognizing him as God. She showed love to Jesus. She never once was presumptuous that she had any power to self-forgive. Because Jesus forgave her much, she loved him much.  This "harlot" is believed to be Mary Magdalene who was honored by being the first to see the risen Savior!  You see, she came just as she was, without one plea!  She never sought to forgive herself (works salvation), but relied only on Jesus.
So what does it take to be forgiven by Christ? It's simple without stipulation or works:

Luke 5:20 "And when he (Jesus) saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee."


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