“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart….forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits” – Hannah Moore
This is a common message about forgiveness. It’s part of the human theology that convinces people they need to “forgive” others unconditionally.
First, where does it say in the Bible that God forgives “unconditionally”? God’s forgiveness is offered universally to all sinners, but receiving that forgiveness comes by meeting God’s conditions including repentance. So it’s a false proposition being offered that is not rooted in truth.
Secondly, this so-called “forgiveness” which is quoted above is all about me, me, me. This “forgiveness” of Hannah Moore is all about saving her heart; it’s all about sparing one’s self of anger; it’s about saving cost and wasting the spirit. This is not biblical forgiveness.
Biblical forgiveness is about sacrifice. It’s about sparing someone else. It’s about giving to someone else what they don’t deserve. The focus of this phony “forgiveness” that’s spouted out ad nauseam is not about giving someone else the most important thing they need. This phony forgiveness is just more of the modern “me, me, me”.
“But Dan, forgiveness is about me because Jesus says, ‘But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’ Mk 11:26.”
Again, the real intent of the Lord is completely missed and the message of “me, me, me” gets inserted. We are not forgiving so that God will forgive us. We are to be forgiving because we want to be like God. God forgives the vilest of sinners. We forgive not because it will make us feel better and spare us a lifetime of anger. We forgive because we have the heart of grace that God has for us. Forgiveness is hard, not easy.
The phony forgiveness that’s expressed in the quote above is phony because it gives nothing to the other person. Remember, it’s all about “me, me, me”. There needs to be no reconciliation. And how could there be true reconciliation until the trespasser repents and ask for forgiveness?
The distorted “forgiveness” of today ignores some very important words of Christ. Jesus said, “3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, REBUKE HIM; AND IF HE REPENTS, forgive him. 4 “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Lk 17:3,4. In caps I have put the 2 parts in the path to forgiveness that are mostly left out. To forgive is not an “economy” of anything. It is costly. It takes courage. To do less than give the trespasser a rebuke is doing no good for the trespasser whose soul is in jeopardy. It’s a cowardly thing as well.
Here is how people think. “I have been trespassed against. What shall I do? Well I could go and confront him and give him a rebuke? Or I could just forgive him.”
“Forgiving” without confronting and when there is no repentance is not what Jesus does with us and it is not what Jesus said for us to do. This is a weak approach to sin that doesn’t work anywhere. An employer doesn’t ignore insubordination lest it infect the entire enterprise. The church can’t gloss over and ignore sin lest the disease spread and infect everyone. In a family there must be responsibility and accountability or else there will be no peace and harmony. When there are trespasses, to jump to the forgiving part of God’s plan of grace, we first need to point out sin. Then, and only then, must we forgive if the person repents. This is what God expects for sinners. And we are being like God when we have the courage to rebuke, to hold the person accountable, and then have the grace to forgive.
When we follow Jesus’ plan, real good happens. Friendships are restored. Relationships are restored and healed. This is God’s plan.
Don’t listen to a false message about forgiveness being an “economy” of anything. God’s forgiveness through His Son wasn’t about “economy”. It cost God His beloved Son. When you forgive, go the hard and courageous path.
Honest and sincere Christians struggle with this not because it’s unbiblical but because they have been convinced to think that forgiveness is to be given unconditionally. They failed to examine the premise before accepting the conclusion. A sincere person asked me, “So a person is to go unforgiven?” My answer is, hey, you can say you have forgiven anyone you like. But are they really forgiven? If a man has sinned against you, has he not also sinned against God? If you forgive the unrepentant person, has God? Does God forgive the unrepentant?
For Men to delve into the serious business of forgiving others who do not intend to change is just playing pretend. It’s not real and not at all like the forgiveness of God. Can we be serious and forgive like God does? Yes and that’s what God desires. But it is not for the unloving or cowardly. See Matthew 18:15ff. The goal there is forgiveness and reconciliation. But what modern religious teachers are saying to do is just recognize your brother is sinning and forgive him. … That’s all. You did your part, but you didn’t did you? This is serious business. It’s about loving the sinners soul. It’s about rescuing and covering a multitude of sins, Jas 5:19,20.
I pray this is helpful. Christians should be as forgiving as God. Christians should forgive when God forgives. But Christians should not forgive who God does not forgive. I say this in love. Sincerely, Dan