Monday, April 21, 2014

Conditional Forgiveness

Is God's forgiveness really conditional?

(an aside - this is so refreshing!!  Unconditional love has become such a rare thing in this world.  Ideally spouses will have unconditional love for each other, but too often that doesn't happen. Friends should unconditionally love each other and be there for each other during the dark times - again, real life doesn't seem to work that way anymore.  I'm so thankful God will always, unconditionally love me, even when I'm stupid, even when I'm grumpy, even when I'm old and no longer cute and skinny, even when I make mistakes, even when I'm not fun to be around because I'm depressed, even when I don't get my work or chores done or keep a clean enough house.  God loves me completely and unconditionally.  That doesn't mean He wants me to stay in a state of grumpiness or stupidity or sin or not do what I am supposed to do.  But His love doesn't depend on it like sometimes people's love does.  May I be like that - may I  unconditionally love my family and friends, without regard to their deservingness!)

So, His love is unconditional but His forgiveness is not?  Yep, as scary as that thought is, it is what the Bible teaches: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt 6:14-15)

Seems pretty clear to me that God's forgiveness is contingent on our forgiving others.  Am I wrong?  Did I misread these verses?  I don't think so, but I am open to correction . . . .as long as it is based on God's Word as the ultimate and only source of complete truth.

Sin separates us from God.  Forgiveness of sin is necessary for a right relationship with God and for salvation.  I sure wanna be sure I have God's forgiveness of my sins!!  And I wanna know if there is something that would hinder receiving that forgiveness. 

But my advice would be to forgive those you hate, have bitterness towards, etc.  If you don't forgive, and if my interpretation here is correct, your very salvation could be at risk.  Yikes, I find that scary!  I've been known to harbor some bitterness in my life.  With this in mind, I don't think I'll be doing that anymore.  

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. " (Mark 11:25)

"Only one petition in the Lord's Prayer has any condition attached to it; it is the petition for forgiveness."
--William Temple