MUST WE FORGIVE?
Jesus said, in His model prayer, "Forgive us our debts (sins), as we forgive our debtors (or those who sin against us.)" The idea today seems to be that we must forgive folk whether these want to be forgiven or not.
I believe that the attitude of a Christian ought to be one of forgiveness. Be ready to forgive anyone who sins against you. But forgiveness is a two way street. Remember, two parties are involved: the one who sins and the one who is sinned against. It's like this: when a person sins against another he also sins against God. He erects a barrier between his brother and him and between God and him. Something must be done by both parties in removing the barrier. I am willing to forgive just as God is willing to forgive. "God is not willing that any should perish ...." (2 Peter 3:9).
I have gone as far as I can in the removal of the barrier. God has done all that he can/will in the removal of the barrier. We both wait at the barrier for the sinner's move. Does he want to be forgiven? If so, he makes this known by his repentance. We now complete 2 Peter 3:9 "... but that all should come to repentance," and we also look at Luke 17 3-4: "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."
We are waiting at the barrier, God and me. We cannot do any more toward removing the barrier. The sinner comes to the barrier and says, "I repent," or, in so many words, "I want to be forgiven." I forgive, God forgives, the barrier is removed and my brother is forgiven and, to our human ability, forgotten.
I think you can see what we mean when we say that "forgiveness is a two-way street."
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