Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Forgiveness without Repentance?

I posted a great question from a friend a couple of days ago. I have thought about it many times. God requires a repent heart to find a restored relationship with Him? Yet we are instructed to love our enemies. I'm really not sure I'm wise enough to answer this question. Here are my thoughts and as always, I'm no scholar...and even it I was, I'd still say, go the the MAN himself and HIS WORD. I just feel like that is good advise, even the most wonderful trusted pastor is still a sinful man and can make mistakes. I have come home many a Sunday's and had to reteach my kids as to the TRUTH of the word. God didn't make the Bible written in code that only the most genius of theologians can understand it. It is a living book written to speak to each and every common man.

My best understanding is that when we sin, we are not losing our salvation. Once we accept Christ into our hearts we are saved. We can however lose our close relationship with God and we know that our hardened hearts and sins can cause God to turn a deaf ear to our pleas, our prayers and our cries. If we are living an unrepentant life, He can choose to take that hedge of protection away and let us rightfully reap what we've sown. When we sin, the only one that we sin against is God. We we commit the sin of lying, yes, we hurt others, but they have nothing to do with our salvation. That comes from God. So it is only against Him that we are sinning.

God does not say He doesn't love us, He just allows that free will with deserved consequences for our sins. And stays there until we are repentant. Just as a parent with a child. So why would He go one step further and tell us, "“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you …” (Matthew 5:44)? Why can't we have that same freedom to distance ourselves from those who have hurt us? And yet we are not instructed to just tolerate. Just smile a kind smile. Just be polite and don't befriend them ever again. We are told to love them. Ugh. Kinda like, "eat your liver and spinach, it's good for you." Are you kidding me? I'd rather starve. I'd rather not have to bend over backwards to make nicey nice with my husband when he has unjustly hurt me. And to be honest, this was a hard one for me today as hubby and I had a rough start to the day. How can he possibly know the depth of my wound unless I make sure he knows with my quietness? My distance will show him that I'm here, but that I don't really want to be around him. Aren't I the martyr by just keeping my anger and pain to myself? Aren't I such the good wife to just be nice and not say all of what I was entitled to say?

But am I? “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you …” (Matthew 5:44). I tell my kids when they are arguing, do not repay evil with evil. Take Brian a treat, or see if Gabby wants something to drink, after all love covers all sins. But to take that above what I'm humanly capable of and love and bless an enemy? To go good to someone who hates me? How can I? How can I be expected?

We can 1st come to Him and share our hurts with Him. He cares deeply about our hearts, he knows the tears we shed. He is the one who will bring justice. I have to admit it is easier for me to forgive others outside my own home sometimes than my own husband. I have to be quick to go the the Lord and tell him how angry I am, share with Him my frustrations and let Him know that I don't think I can do it. We also have to be quick to ask for forgiveness for our bitterness before it takes root. But to go the next step and act? What can we do for an enemy? "A gift given in secret, turns away wrath." (Provs 21:14) Giving a gift to someone helps move towards that loving feeling and usually softens both hearts. As long as we aren't going around announcing what we did. That gift can be a wide variety of things that best fits the person and their love language. What does it show of God Himself to an unbeliever that is watching us or who was the enemy when we do the unnatural or impossible or even what the secular world considers unnecessary or even weak? It shows a love like many have never known. Do we want to be right or do we want to be righteous in His sight?

I do not like conflict so it has been somewhat easy for me to let things go. But it is usually over time, after I've had enough time to recover and pull myself back up. Time heals all wounds, so to speak. But by the time, time had healed the wound, I wasn't really viewing them as enemies, but rather just as a lost relationship. I had lost the opportunity to go above and beyond and love them while we were enemies.

This scripture doens't tell us that the enemy has to repent to receive our love. Maybe this is because later in scripture it gives reference to how to handle a conflict with "brother/fellow Christian" and reference as to handle a conflict with a fellow Christian in the body of Christ. Both of which are entire other posts. Here is a previous post.

Save us father from bitterness. Help us not be cruel. Teach us to turn our foes into friends and our persecutors into partners for preaching. Give us the strength and wisdom and to let go of our pride so that we can love our enemies even when it goes against everything in us. Help us to trust that someday you will bring justice and we pray that we will not try to take on that job. Help us to pray for our enemies and love them as if they were our very family so that there can be no defilement of Your name because of our weaknesses. Lord forgive us where we have wronged you and lead us on your path for future relationships.


Omah's Helping Hands said...

Amen! Awesome post Suzanne. All too often it is easier to be quick to anger and brush off those that really need us.
I liked how our Pastor had put it (of course he worded it better), love our enemies and show them kindness for we are saved, our enemies need to be led. This is in reference to: Matt 5:43-48 but I'll only insert v. 46 here: "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not event the tax collectors do the same?"
I think you answered the question quite well.

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Amen. Well put!!


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