1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Question about forgiveness....

Discussion in 'Religion and Spirituality' started by Fishweiser, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    I have a freind I occasionally get into a debate with on forgiveness. We both are of christian faith, but neither one of us follow or study it closely enough to know the full meaning of what it means to be christian. We both have a different view on what it takes to be forgiven. For an example:

    Lets say one day john steal and apple from somebody.

    My freinds view is that yes stealing is a sin, and since God is such a loving and forgiving god, that if john prays and ask god for forgiveness and accepts jesus, he will be forgiven. This is also what Ive even gathered from different preachers. but to me that seems that would not be asking for forgiveness, but rather asking god accept that john stole the apple.

    My view is that: For John to be forgiven, he must return the apple, confess to the person he stole the apple from, and THEN pray and ask forgiveness which may only be granted if you truly have the intention to never steal again.

    To me, that seems to be the more logical intention of forgiveness that God would want, but Ive never really heard any preacher present it that way. So my question is,...Am I wrong in my view of it, or am I right and that its pretty much a given to most preachers, that they just dont get that detailed into it when they say that "all you have to do is accept jesus, ask for forgiveness and all will be forgiven?"
     
  2. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

    72,252
    43,680
    113
    Nov 27, 2007
    Not that I'm a Christian, but it seems the way you've always heard is the standard for getting your god's forgiveness and the way you think it should be done is getting that AND getting forgiveness from the person wronged and forgiveness from your self.

    I'd say do it the way you suggested, regardless if your god requires it. I can't imagine your god would be upset if you sought forgiveness from yourself and the person wronged along with seeking forgiveness from him.
     
    Fishweiser likes this.
  3. muscle979

    muscle979 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    15,818
    6,072
    113
    Dec 12, 2007
    Evans, GA
    I think the key is just having the intention to never do it again. You probably don't hear it preached that way because from my understanding forgiveness from God is much more important than from your fellow man. [Having both would make you feel a lot better though] The 'victim' of your sin for instance might not forgive you. What if you killed somebody [maybe accidentally, but you were doing something wrong]? Not every person has a high capacity for forgiveness. The point here would be that no matter how many times that victim [in this case surviving family members] may curse you you can make it right with God which is ultimately all that matters.
     
    Fishweiser likes this.
  4. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

    35,203
    25,663
    113
    Dec 11, 2007
    I am not a Christian either. I am not going to answer your question because I do not know enough about Christian values.

    I will say that mixing logic and religion could be dangerous.
     
    Ohio Fanatic and Fishweiser like this.
  5. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    I guess where I tie it into man is that, to me it seems that everything the bible teaches can be simplified to "do unto others as you would have them do to you" I mean take the ten commandments for example. I mean would anybody want somebody to break one of the commandments against themselves?....Same would go, if somebody stole he apple from you wouldnt you want them to bring it back to you? or at least try to undo the damage or sin?
     
  6. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    To further the question more, The acceptence of Jesus in your heart and as your savior is all part of the forgiveness process. Now when I ask how that happens, It seems the over all answer is you basically pray and say " Jesus, I accept you in my heart" and that is all you have to do.... Seems to me, to accept him, means you would have to accept his teachings and incorporate them into your lives to accept him. Is that wrong? It just seems like alot of christian views I hear on the matter seems to sometimes be amiss or something.
     
  7. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    After re-reading that last statement, I might add that I hope that didnt come off sounding like I know it all, and all christians are wrong, LOL! Im just trying to peice everything together somehow.
     
  8. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    As Chaplain of this site and a working parish pastor, let me try to get a handle on some of this for all of you.

    First off you are blending two different concepts, one is forgiveness and the second is repentence. Second thing is, like much of American Christian thought, the answers I am hearing are all about what YOU do. Not any single person in the thread but that the action of forgiveness or repentence is about what the human does. Biblically it is always about God did, does, and will do.

    If the actions of Christ on the cross and His subsequent resurrection are to be believed then those actions accomplished our reconciliation with God, a reconciliation broken by sin originally. Yet we are never utterly free from sin because it is in our nature to be sinners (i.e. to put ourselves and our will ahead of God's will). We are always saint and sinner. We always need the Holy Spirit leading us from our Baptism to not do the act in the first place, seek forgiveness for the act when it happens, and strength to lead a new life seeking not to do those sinful acts in the first place.

    In the "apple" example (interesting choice, did you mean to connect it to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden?) the sinful act can be forgiven by asking. God desires His people to come to Him and is loving and forgiving. Yet if all you do is say "I'm sorry" what have you accomplished? Your nature is still sinful, you are still selfish (the only reason you asked for forgiveness was to avoid guilt at worst and hell at the most.) You didn't desire to truly embrace the life God offers all of us. You are simply trying to avoid punishment.

    But coming to understand what Jesus has done for us calls us to live a life of repentence, a surrender to the will of God where we seek to understand and do God's will as we are led by the Holy Spirit. Thus once it becomes appearant that God desires us not to steal then not only are we sorry for our act but also desire, out of love for neighbor, to make right the wrong and return the item.

    Great story of how 40-50 years ago a then kid stole a communion chalice from a Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He was too ashamed to sell it and afraid to turn it back in for fear of the law. Finally from his death bed he got the chalice to a neighboring Church (the original was by then gone) to be returned. He had lived his whole life in fear and self regret. God does not wish that for any of us. Had he desired he could have been forgiven years earlier and had he embraced a life of repentence could have returned the chalice at any point along the way.

    I hope this helps move the discussion along.

    Oh and DFD, all faith systems have a logic otherwise they don't pass the laugh test. Read some good theology some time or simply the book of Romans. You may not agree with it but you will likely be impressed with the structure of the rhetorical and logical process.
     
    Fishweiser and dolphindebby like this.
  9. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    So I win! Right?? j/k!!
     
    Ohiophinphan likes this.
  10. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    That sort of leads me to confession to god. That may be one of the first things that confuses a person. I mean, if God is the alpha and the omega, the all knowing omnipotent being he is said to be, why do us mere mortals have to confess our sins to him? Dosent he already know?....I guess theres always questions that just cant be answered, but they do make you look for reasoning behind it. ....One thing that sort of intrigued me was a book by Dan Brown called the Lost symbol. ....Now its been awhile since Ive read the book and Im not the best at taking in and retaining all the details of each book I read. Im also notorious for sometimes mixing what my mind wanders off too into and what the book actually is saying, so I could have it all wrong. ...anyways, what I took from it was this. It goes into something called Noetic science? its supposedly a relatively new kind of science that suggests that somehow each and every single one of us are sort of mentally interconnected with each other in a very slight way, and that all of us sort of combine kinda for some sort of collective conscience. The book, (not the science) goes on to suggest that the bible even suggests a connection to this collective conscience and the collective conscience actually being God himself...such as God Created man in his own image....We normally think of image as a visual thing, but it may also mean a conscience thing...after all we all look different, so which one of us was made in his image? ...then theres "all knowing"....if we are all connected of this grand conscience(or god), all of our knowledge would be sort of connected like a web....Seemed like there was much more that was in the bible that you could almost make that kind of connection, but basically it suggests we all are a piece of what god is, as well as god are a piece of what we are. Kinda goes along with the idea that you dont have to be christian to be moral, because collectively we all know somewhere in us. Now Do I believe in that? No but cant deny Im sort of intrigued...After all, what does the bible actually say that god is out side of the fact that he created us in his own image?..It would be interesting to hear thoughts on all of that...but before I get to far away from what I started on about "why do we confess to god if hes all knowing" It makes me want to play around with the idea that maybe if there was some sort of blurred view of the distinction between god and us, maybe confession really was meant to be made to the person that was wronged, and that in turn would be relayed to god (the conscience)

    I know that all has got to sound crazy, LOL! Again, I dont really believe all that, but when theres all kinds of questions out there thats hard to answer its not all that strange to get intrigued by that??.....Is it?? LOL!!
     
  11. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    The word is "confession" not "admission". The difference? In confession one recognizes that the sin committed was in fact done, done by you, that you are in fact sorry for it and in absolution desire to make amends.. Admission would only be telling God what God already knows. Confession is more of an interactive excercise.

    I should note our tradition, Lutheran, does not practice confession in the same way as do Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican traditions. If we go further into this area perhaps someone from those traditions might better chime in.

    As to "The Lost Symbol", I frankly thought Dan Brown had gotten overly preachy and far afield. Compared to the first two books, I was disappointed. Where in Angels and Demons followed by DaVinci Code he wove in historical lore, in Lost Symbol he took a bit of history and a lot of psuedo science. I didn't like the yarn anywhere near as well.
     
    Fishweiser likes this.
  12. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    Sounds like I may need to spend a little more time in church to, if anything, polish up some of the vocabulary of it all! LOL!!

    Anyways, back to the apple scenario. (and no I didnt mean to refer to adam and eve, but it kinda makes for a neat little coincedence)

    So Johnny stole the apple. Now he needs to 1.) Confess (depending on which faith you follow) which is sort of manning up to the fact that what you have done was wrong before god. 2.)repent, which is to maybe bring the apple back or find some resolve for for the person he stole from, and then vow to never steal again. then 3) pray for forgiveness, which god will grant so long as you have repented. is that pretty much it in a nut shell?
     
    Ohiophinphan likes this.
  13. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Sorta. God's forgiveness is not conditional and repentence is not saying "I will do better" but "I can never do better God, please let me surrender my life to You and You guide me."

    Yet the sequence of confession, repentence, and then absolution/amendment of life is basically correct. We don't do it though to GET God to forgive, we do it out of a changed life BECAUSE God forgives. Help?
     
  14. Fishweiser

    Fishweiser New Member

    864
    347
    0
    Apr 24, 2009
    Yeah, it helps....Im kinda stumbling over the "God's forgiveness is not conditional " part, because that just sounds like it could be misleading......It seems like gods forgiveness would have to be conditional. I mean, isnt the repentance part of it a condition? I guess Im somehow looking to distance the notion that a person can sin, ask god for forgiveness, feel bad for it for a couple of days, then a week later commit the same sin and start the whole process over again and have it all be OK.

    See, some of the least trustworthy people Ive ever met have also claimed to be some of the biggest Christians around. Im convinced that many people who claim to be christian do so because in their mind, its a sort of get out jail free card, and they use that to quench their guilt....."Gods forgiveness is unconditional, god is bigger than me and,most importantly, bigger than the people that are upset by my actions. I can take comfort in that because all I have to do is ask for that forgiveness"....Its easier to go that route, than to actually change your entire way of doing things. ...Thats where I get frustrated with the whole forgiveness thing, because if its not carefully understood it can be used something like a "a higher purpose serves me" ...Does blasphemy get much bigger than that? ...and the worst part is, its almost as advertised in some cases...

    It almost seems as if at one point of time something went down like this:

    Church A: Come to our church! be forgiven of your sins! all you have to do is this along with this and then ask for forgiveness and all will be well...

    Church B: Come to our church, we can do all church A can do but all you have to do is this, and then ask for forgiveness.....

    Church C: Ya know what, we can get you forgiven so fast, that all you have to do is ask for it in a prayer!!...thats right!! we'll take any sin and turn it into salvation!!

    Im sure you know as well as I do the history of how important it was, and still is in some sects, to spread Christianity....

    All this is why I kind of wince a little at the notion that god will forgive us unconditionally......
     
  15. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    I certainly understand your wincing. And yes, people have, since Bible times, seen the Christian faith as "fire insurance" rather than as a relationship with God. The problem with God's love as conditional is that then our salvation is back in our hands and not in the hands of Jesus. Suddenly the cross and resurrection are not enough to bring us back to God. If we can "not sin" without Jesus then we don't need Jesus.

    American, Protestant, Christianity has had an overwhelming emphasis on "being saved". That is OK but since selfishness is at the core of all sin, indeed it is the sin of Adam and Eve, that emphasis causes problems. It encourages folks to view salvation as a box to check off and then go on to the next thing.

    Being a Christian is a whole life. It is a life acknowledging that I am by nature a sinner and thus always in need of God's guidance and forgiveness. It is also a life of gratitude to God for having forgiven me and restored me to a relationship with Him that I have not earned or merited. (Grace) I then spend my life saying "thank you". That thanks is accomplished by learning what God asks of me and trying to do it. I find that in scripture and as importantly in fellowship with other Christians. This is intended not only to give me community but also to ward off some of the more outragous misinterpretations of what the Bible says.

    Let me also encourage you to find a good, Christian community in your area. I know sometimes that is hard. Congregations can become clubs, can fight over stupid, cruel things, and even become little more than arms of a secular political movement. But looking is still worth the effort because when you are in a good congregation these questions of yours become the community's questions because all of us are still trying to work it out each day.
     

Share This Page