24 Aug 2014

The Forgiveness Fix (Matthew 6:15 and grace)

Submitted by theshovel
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But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:15

Some grace believers say that because Jesus made this statement before the cross, it no longer applies to us. After all, we’re not under law, we’re under grace, right? That would be a quick and easy fix for a verse that has caused many believers to live under the threat of condemnation, but are we doing ourselves a favor by dismissing it so easily? And are we right in thinking that Jesus taught a conditional form of salvation before the cross because the Law was still in effect? Or could he have been referring to something that still holds true even now? In other words, is there a sense in which God’s exoneration of us is somehow connected to us not holding sin against others—whether before the cross or after?

You see, the simple message Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:15 at that time had to do with shaking the fleshly confidence of the religious mind, and it is just as relevant today. Don’t kid yourself, there is no such thing as being confident of your own forgiveness if you are holding something against your brother. And if you think I’m suggesting that being absolved from sin is somehow dependent upon something you can do, you couldn’t be more wrong. What I’m actually telling you is that the only reason you could possibly hold someone else’s trespasses against them is that you still, to whatever degree, view yourself according to the same standard of judgment. That is how the religious mind has been twisting the reality of what it means to be totally released from sin, and it has nothing to do with the complete forgiveness that’s been made real in Christ.

Look, when you find yourself unable to forgive another person, don’t fall back upon some kind of grace-based rationale by which to intellectually bolster your own lagging confidence, because it only continues to reinforce a legalistic facade created by the mind that cannot know God. My friend, through Christ you have been fully forgiven, and you have been given the wisdom of God. Pay attention, for he is actively working within you to expose the real cause of your seeming inability to excuse others, which is that you have given into a fleshly logic that makes it seem legitimate to view yourself according to sin. But Christ put an end to that logic.

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theshovel's picture

I had a quick chat this morning with a brother on Facebook at 3 a.m. Below is his request, and my answer

In your shovel letter concerning the forgiveness fix, you wrote: Don’t kid yourself, there is no such thing as being confident of your own forgiveness if you are holding something against your brother. Can you explain this a little more clearly? I kinda got what you were saying, but I don’t want to speculate. Thanks. A.C.

So much of what we learned to claim about confidence has a lot to do with the intellect, and that’s what we need to realize. I have heard so many Christians claim to understand the gospel, to know for sure, etc. And my experience has shown me that so much of that was built upon wanting to convince ourselves of things we weren’t really too sure about.

The religious mind, as with the Pharisees, is such that it builds a confidence based upon factual info. The Pharisee mind refers to his own “personal” relationship … but has little respect for that of another. But our life in Christ has to do with being truly made alive in Christ. Being truly confident comes from his spirit in us. Finding confidence in “Scripture” is often just a cover.

The problem is not with the scriptures … but more with the hide-bound mind. The life of Christ within us does not hold anything against our brother. But the Pharisee mind causes us to separate truth from reality. When we are holding something against our brother, the cause of it is interrelated with our own beliefs that something is still being held against us. That’s why people get so doctrinal when talking about Christ.


It's interesting though that there are large potion of Christians that are not as concerned with Biblical knowledge per se but more of an emphasis on the movements and experience of Christianity as it is currently being 'sold'. I have seen a few situations were there was an over emphasis on "the word" and studying but I have also seen people totally disregard the scriptures and letters and just do and teach whatever comes to mind. It doesn't mean there aren't many Christians in these bunches but mostly it means that we have just tossed around others findings and have often been led astray. Personally I WANTED to read the Scriptures and as I read them I discovered things that didn't seem to add up totally but also things that I understood very clearly. The more I read and chewed on and slowly looked over the more I discovered just what an awesome salvation that was available to us and consequently, me.

Matthew 6:15 in context seems to be talking about forgiving debts between people, specifically.  but yeah … forgiveness … it is a conundrum sometimes in my own life.  i know i struggle yet with understanding it, 'cuz sometimes it is just IMPOSSIBLE to forgive, or at least it seems so.  if it were so simple, then everyone would be 'doing it' and COULD do it upon 'demand' and all would be well, right? we could just keep on upsetting and abusing and hurting and offending one another and just keep 'forgiving' one another over and over and over and over again, repeating the same offense or unconsciously come up with a whole host of new ones!  it is the nature between humans to do so, apparently.  but, who would care, right?  we could just 'forgive' one another, right?  there are entire books written on the matter.  and yet …. right?  sighhhh ….

it can be reasoned really that it is less an issue with this thing we are supposed to be able to 'do' called 'forgiving', and more about an issue of relationship and communication between humans.  for the New Creation, our hearts are really for and toward one another as siblings in the great family of GODHE has given us HIS very Nature and Heart and Mind and Love.  to know that Love and Heart is to have first known guilt, shame, fear and to have been miraculously set free from it, because all that fear, guilt and shame was all sourced from a nature that was outside and other than GOD and HIS Nature.  before we were made New in Him, it was to have known no hope of that even being a possible reality for us.  no hope of any possible relationship with the GOD WHO CREATED us in the first place.  no hope of any knowledge of the gap between man and GOD being filled by a miraculous JOINing of the two by Jesus Christ Himself.  MIRACULOUS being the operative word … synonymous with GOD.  :)  wonderful amazing miraculous stuff of GOD!!  :)

i digress …  when i find myself in a mentality of UN-forgiveness toward or concerning others, i find myself arguing with whether 'excuse' and 'forgive' are synonymous.  i go to the dictionary and find plenty of ammo for argumentation.  other words like 'pardon', leniency, indulgence, etc.  then there's 'slight' offenses and 'more serious' offenses.  round and round my inner mental battle can churn.  ughhhhh and blcht!  

i will reason that it is simply about my relationship with this person. well …. maybe i don't care about restoring any  relationship with that person.  then what?  well then i usually just tell GOD that i simply don't seem to 'have it in me' to forgive this person and therefore i simply must not know what it reahhhhlly means.  then i get mad at myself and start kicking myself around and beating myself up inwardly, resulting in worse feelings and become convinced that i  am majorly deficient of any love from GOD to give to this person, etc.  more blcht!!

next, i simply resign myself to the fact that GOD has forgiven me and GOD has forgiven this other person and that has to be good enough for the both of us, because i still don't even want to be around that person or for that person to be around me.  i have to forgive myself for not forgiving them 'cuz i can't even conjure it up from within me to get it OUT of me to give it to this other person or persons, whichever it may be at the time. 

what do you do with THAT?!  LOL   if healthy relationship and true communication is to be restored between two people, forgiveness is necessary, but if it just can't be, then … well … ??   forgiveness from GOD required a bloody death!  what do we require for forgiveness between one another?  don't answer that!  it might be more death!  or at least blood!   lol   but really.  if sin was dealt with, why do we hold things against one another?  why do we do things that are even found 'worthy' enough to hold against one another?  (that could be a futile list of endless “things”!! they're all relative to the individual.)  humans are complicated creatures!  ha!

there are the little annoyances that we often find unbearable to endure being around and simply must remove ourselves from, but what about those major issues that require actual forgiveness to resume any kind of relationship and communication.  the ones that really churn our stomachs, interrupt our sleep and health, rob us of concentration, etc.  and what about enduring all that on a daily basis with someone at work, or a family member, or a neighbor, or … fill in the blank.  you know, those issues that REALLY do take a MIRACLE-forgiveness to restore relationship?. 

sometimes just allowing ourselves to call things for what they are without any fear is the best and biggest part of realizing our true freedom. smiley and i LOVE this part:  “… through Christ you have been fully forgiven, and you have been given the wisdom of God. Pay attention, for he is actively working within you to expose the real cause of your seeming inability to excuse others, which is that you have given into a fleshly logic that makes it seem legitimate to view yourself according to sin. But Christ put an end to that logic.”  <~theshovel heart

Sherr I think it's cool just how open you are on this topic. I want to find time to read all that you wrote. Maybe I can comment more then. For now I'd just say that I think we get pretty crazed about forgiveness especially when we read that Jesus said that God wouldn't forgive us unless we did grant to our brother. I think the freeing thing though is in the reality that under a performance standpoint, before there is any blood shed, that indeed is the reality...but not now...now we simply forgive AS CHRIST FORGAVE YOU. Are we in trouble for the sin of unforgiveness? No. His blood took care of that. But it is LIFE to forgive and move on. How it is we are learning that can be all over the map I suppose but we are indeed all learning it arent we!


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Random Shovelquote: Putting Christianity into Practice? (view all shovelquotes)

At one time, the idea of putting my Christianity into practice sounded reasonable. All I can hear now is a religious attempt to make God happen in your life. source