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Dr. Dunlap Discusses The Need for Forgiveness
Confusion exists in the Christian community concerning the scriptural definition of forgiveness.
The Forgiveness Series Article 1 of 71
This piece explores the actual scriptural definition of forgiveness. Why is it important for Christians to have a clear understanding of biblical forgiveness? The answer is two-fold. First, refusing to forgive is one of the most serious sins a Christian can commit. Second, a lack of forgiveness results in some of the most severe emotional and spiritual problems a person can experience. When we do not understand how to forgive others biblically, we deny ourselves the benefits we could otherwise derive from our trials.
Forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood topics of our day. Ask a group of ten Christians how the Bible defines forgiveness, and you will most likely get ten different answers. Some may reply that forgiveness is choosing not to hold someone accountable for his offense. Others would suggest that we seek forgiveness for offenses by apologizing to the offended party. Still others, who have bought into a currently popular philosophy, might answer that people who truly love each other should never have to say they are sorry for their offenses.
Christians are confused about forgiveness.
A widespread confusion exists within the Christian community concerning the actual scriptural definition of forgiveness. Why is it important for Christians to have a clear understanding of biblical forgiveness? The answer is two-fold. First, refusing to forgive is one of the most serious sins a Christian can commit. Second, a lack of forgiveness results in some of the most severe emotional and spiritual problems a person can experience. Believers who possess an inaccurate understanding of the forgiveness process deny themselves the benefits they could otherwise derive from their trials and problems.
Knowing how to forgive is a life-skill.
When someone learns to biblically forgive, he is equipped with the necessary skills to deal with conflict as it arises in his home, his church and his community. Our society is slowly strangling in the grasp of the rampant anger and hostility that threaten to unravel us at our cultural seams. The alarming incidence of child abuse and domestic violence, as well as the tragic reality of students murdering one another in our public schools, all point to the fact that people do not understand how to apply the principles of authentic forgiveness to their daily lives.
Is anyone out there guilty?
Our no-fault society is yet another factor that clouds the issue of true forgiveness. It seems that no one today is responsible for his or her choices. A victim mentality has infected our nation. We blame someones wrong actions, for example, on his poor upbringing. The reason he robbed a bank is because his parents didnt give him an allowance when he was a kid. Or we look for some excuse to explain away unacceptable behavior. Ill bet she got drunk and wrecked her car because her boyfriend dumped her. He went on a killing spree because his boss pushed him over the edge. It has become socially improper to label any evildoer as guilty.
We must take responsibility for our choices.
The words of Galatians 6:7,8 clearly reveal Gods opinion of our skewed understanding of personal responsibility for sin: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh, shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit, shall from the Spirit, reap eternal life. Where sin is concerned, God does not condone blame placing. The choices we make in life bear lasting consequences.
God expects His children to take responsibility for every thought, every word and every action. When we have a clear understanding of biblical forgiveness, we move from the deception of a victim mentality to the acceptance of personal responsibility for every aspect of our lives.