FORGIVING IS REPENTANCE
by Sam Ashoo
During this week of Lent I will unfold a true story of a wounded friend. If you have not yet read my previous blog posts, please start there.
So the act of forgiveness becomes an act of repentance. As I sit and wallow in my anger, it is clear the Lord is calling me out of it. He has warned me of the dangers. He has commanded me to seek out those who may be angry with me. He has shown me the path of forgiveness of others' sins. All this so that I may understand the method He has chosen to redeem my soul, so that I can be reconciled to Him whom I have sinned against: my God. It is just a small glimpse of what our Lord has done for us. To create, to be rejected, to be sinned against, to show mercy, to give grace, to forgive and create a path for reconciliation. It is the gospel.
And what of repentance? I recall debating this problem. Is it possible to forgive one who is not repentant ? Can one who has no remorse and no intent to repent be forgiven? Should I even begin to think about forgiving such a person? Clearly the answer to this comes from the scripture. There is no stipulation to withhold forgiveness. If the command to forgiveness results in restoration of my relationship with the Lord, and my reconciliation with the Lord, then I should seek forgiveness first. Repentance requires an inclination of the heart of the sinner. I have no control over anyone except myself, but the command to forgive remains. Forgiveness does not depend on repentance.
So, where am I? It has been a long and difficult journey, and it continues. But my prayer has changed. I pray that the Lord help me to release my anger and forgive. I also pray that the Holy Spirit move within my friend. I pray for his reconciliation with the Lord and for his ability to forgive. I also hope that someday we may both have reconciliation with the person who committed the sin.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.