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Is forgiveness fair to the victim

Discussion in 'Egalitarian Christians' started by Zoii, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    There is something to be said for the Buddhist concept of Karma. It may not be Christian but I pray its true. I find it really hard to reconcile that someone can commit a heinous crime, leave the victim to suffer for years into their life if not their whole life…along with the victims family and close friends. Yet all the perpetrator has to do is say Im sorry God.


    Great!!! that evil person is forgiven for all they have done. So I have some questions. If you’re forgiven does that mean you don’t need to feel guilty? If you’re forgiven does that alleviate any obligations to your victim? And what if its true…while the perpetrator is forgiven the victim isn’t alleviated of their suffering. For so many it’s a life sentence. Where is the fairness in that?


    Buddhists will say that if your evil then evil will befall you and if you’re a good person then good will come your way. I can see practical elements to this quite easily and it fits with me.
     
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  2. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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    One thing I'm very clear abut is that being forgiven (by God) doesn't remove any obligations to your victim/society. If you're really sorry, you will do everything in your power to mend what you've damaged, and to contribute to others' well being in other ways.
     
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  3. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    IMO that is an evangelical misunderstanding of the principle of forgiveness.

    As Paidiske said, if you are forgiven by God for something, you still must make restitution. Forgiveness from God is more than just saying "I'm sorry." It requires true heartfelt repentance which involves changing your mind AND your actions. And it only removes the eternal consequences of sinning: eternity of torture in hell. If you murder someone, you will still go to jail here. If you defraud, you still have to pay it back, etc.

    That is the God and eternity side of forgiveness. But there is also the personal side. If we are wronged we MUST forgive. In the gospels our Lord ties our being forgiven (on the eternity side) to our own forgiveness on the personal human side.

    Matt 6.14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
    15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

    "Forgiveness" is an accounting term. It means to be owed a debt; and you decide to cancel that debt. If we do not do that, we ourselves end up imprisoned by unforgiveness. This magazine cover from October 1976 brought this to my understanding like nothing else.

    [​IMG]

    I would encourage you to read the first article by British theologian Dr. Derek Prince entitled "The Barrier of Unforgiveness."

    Link: CSM
     
  4. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's often just a lazy superstition to create the "just world" fallacy. And I'm not at all unfamiliar with Buddhism.

    I'm a Lutheran, which probably makes me one of those odd folks that doesn't see what's so great about demanding a pound of flesh or a lot of pietistic, guilt ridden religion to right the worlds wrongs. Not because I think that's an easy thing to do, to live without resentment, but because I believe that's what God's will for each of us ultimately is. People are more than the worst thing they have ever done. If you really comprehend grace you set aside resentment as something that eats you up spiritually and emotionally, and you don't try and hold onto it.

    This is potentially just resurrecting the medieval system of penance in another guise. I would prefer to say someone who is justified by faith is free to do so, but they are not externally compelled to do so.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  5. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    Oh thats great.... the evil one gets free to leave it all behind with Gods blessing while the victim is despised by god for not forgiving the evil person and feeling bitter
     
  6. Amilia

    Amilia New Member

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    If it was about fairness, you'd be punished too, since you've also sinned. You are obligated to forgive people when you're forgiven by God, because you've made mistakes too. There have been people in my life that I couldn't forgive myself and I had to ask God to help me forgive them, and it worked.
    Christians are supposed to be merciful and love even their worst enemies, it doesn't matter if it is fair. God will decide what to do with them when the time comes, right now we're called to forgive other people no matter what they do to us.
    Also, I would just like to mention that people tortured and killed Jesus, who is 100% perfect, and yet He still forgave them.
     
  7. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, forgiveness is freely available to everyone, including to the person that feels bitter and unable to forgive.

    This is really more of a pastoral problem than a theological problem.
     
  8. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    The victim is not an evil person.
    Hanging on to unforgiveness and bitterness does NOTHING bad to the perpetrator; but keeps the victim from healing properly.
     
  9. W2L

    W2L Well-Known Member

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    Forgiving our enemies seems to be the best thing. No one can avenge us better than the Lord.

    Romans 12:19-20New King James Version (NKJV)
    19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
    For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
     
  10. JoeP222w

    JoeP222w Well-Known Member

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    This is not entirely accurate. The person must abandon sin and trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God grants them a new heart so they no longer desire to sin. Does this mean that they should go back to the victim and attempt to make amends for the wrong they have committed? Yes. But making amends never erases the crime. Being forgiven by God and being made a new creation does not remove the temporal consequences of the crime. For example, if a man rapes and murders a woman, then God grants him grace through repentance and faith through Jesus Christ, that does not mean that the man should not go to jail for the rest of his life or even face the death penalty. The man should turn himself in and face the consequences of his crime, even if he has been grant eternal life by God.

    If you are forgiven by God, there is no longer legal guilt. However, as mentioned above, there are still consequences for sin.


    Do you seriously want God to be fair? Why do you believe you are better than the one who rapes and murders? The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. For this time, God is granting grace and mercy. If God were to grant justice and fairness in the very next moment, where do you believe you would be the moment after that?

    The Bible says no one is good, not one. [Romans 3:10-12].
     
  11. inquiring mind

    inquiring mind associate with those you can learn from Supporter

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    Nope, it's not fair to the victim. I don't think God promised us fairness... however, He is just.
     
  12. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Guilt is actually a terrible motivator for human behavior, and punishment only restrains evil to a certain extent without actually causing people to be good.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  13. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    Guilt is surely the outcome of remorse. How can you repent if you dont feel guilty and remorseful. And of course I think victims want satisfaction... I think when a heinous crime is done and the perpetrator gets a pathetically light sentence it is in effect yet another impact on the victim..... ie the degree of punishment in a way provides an acknowledgement of the suffering of the victim....and if thats reasonable from the perspective of a legal system...why is it so unreasonable when we think of Gods justice.
     
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  14. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Because God's justice doesn't work like a western european/American human legal system. Which is a good thing, for you and me.

    Look up the concept of restorative justice some time. That is closer to the biblical model of justice. Retributive justice is actually a feature of only certain societies or ages of mental developement, but any human being can understand restorative justice.
     
  15. RayJeena

    RayJeena Humble and proud of it. Supporter

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    Karma is simply reaping what we sow, which is also a Christian
    concept.

    It's good to remember, however, that even the act of wishing
    ill on someone, even if it feels justified, carries its own karma.
    How people treat us affects their karma, just as how we react to
    how they treat us affects our karma. While it's natural to feel ill-
    will towards one who wrongs me, my goal is to limit such dark
    feelings to just initially, shortening my recovery-time so that I'm
    not wallowing in bitterness too too long.

    ^This.

    Forgiveness benefits victim and villain alike. It's been said that
    bitterness is the poison we drink while hoping the other person
    dies.

    -
     
  16. JD16

    JD16 What Would Evolution Do? Supporter

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    What about deathbed conversions? For argument sake If Stalin, Hitler and Mao repented, confessed and accept Christ on their deathbed....I suppose God would grant forgiveness and accept their souls. The 3 of them were responsible for about 100 million deaths, not to mention the countless others who suffered tremendously because of their actions. Imagine if their victims were to encounter them in the afterlife and spend eternity with those responsible for the lifelong torment.....not a pleasant thought by any account....
     
  17. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    You repent according to the CONVICTION of the Holy Spirit. That is different from guilt or remorse. For one thing, it is much less emotional.

    John 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;

    Also, while repentance is a decision, it cannot come without God giving it to us:

    Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”
     
  18. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I had a bad church experience years ago. I found it difficult to forgive, so I know what that is like. But the only reason we have trouble forgiving is because we ourselves feel so wounded and empty. The way to learn to forgive is to focus on what you have, and not what you lack. But if you delude yourself into thinking resentment is a righteous thing, you'll never be able to let go of it.

    That's one reason politics in the US is so poisoned. There are a lot of people that channel their "righteous indignation" into politics, instead of looking for the notion of the common good, their politics is all about their resentments and hurts. I personally think it is due to a decline in real spirituality in this country, that we even lack the ability to talk to each other about serious issues, without looking for a way to punish somebody in the process.
     
  19. Shiloh Raven

    Shiloh Raven Well-Known Member

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    I am editing and correcting my post so it will make more sense. And what happens to their victims who did not repent of their own sins and seek God's forgiveness for their own sins? The belief is, they will go to hell for all eternity, separate from God, and will be in eternal torment. Not a pleasant thought by any account either.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  20. Greg J.

    Greg J. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some of you are speaking as if you weren't murderers, but we all are (James 2:10, 1 John 3:15). It is natural to hold onto the idea that "I haven't sinned as badly as that other person," but when it comes to God's grace for salvation, dying with even only a white lie on your account sends you to eternal punishment. When you think someone else doesn't deserve salvation or deserves more punishment than you, remember you don't deserve it either. Think about how worthy you are of salvation (zero. not at all). You have worked for and earned eternal punishment. As a matter of the heart, God's forgiveness is a package gift to mankind. Either it is for everybody or it is for nobody. Which would you prefer? If you choose to deny forgiveness to someone else, then you deny it for yourself, too.

    ... Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 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. (Matthew 6:12-15, 1984 NIV)

    The idea that someone caused harm and is getting away with it is erroneous thinking. No one gets away with anything done in this life. God will call everyone to account for what they have done. That's all over Scripture (Matthew 12:36, Romans 3:19, Romans 14:12, ...), and it includes being unforgiving, btw. Look to your own inability to pay for your sin debt before you examine someone else's guilt.

    Read Psalm 73 for Asaph identifying with the feeling that others are prospering because of their sins. Also see Psalm 37.

    The truth about God, his justice, and mercy does not change based on what seems or feels right or wrong.
     
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