Saturday, September 17, 2011

Here Comes the Judge!

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Paul is concerned about members of the Church in Corinth who are engaged in the negative activities of criticism and censure of one another. Passing judgment, he reminds them, is not their prerogative; it is God's alone. Their priorities should be to love and worship God and to love each other as they love themselves. If those are first and foremost, there is no longer room for boasting about their own righteousness or blaming others for their seeming lack of conviction. Love paves the way to look past perceived shortcomings in others, not only opening the door to forgiveness, but also to forgetting each others' transgressions.

In a recent sermon, Pastor Wallace shared an encounter he had with a young man who claimed to have no problem forgiving others, but he simply could not forget about what had happened and didn't think it was possible. Pastor Wallace put him on the spot.

"So, let me understand here. You can forgive others, but you can't forget their sin against you?"
"That's right, sir."
"Do you believe God forgives your sins?"
"Yes, I believe He does."
"If He forgives your sin, do you want Him to remember the bad thing you did, or do you want Him to let it go?"

Touche! This young man saw the light! He understood that we are not to judge, we are to forgive; we are not to hold a grudge, we are to forget. If we do this and love one another, we will each, as Paul said, receive our praise from God.

Psalms 75, 76 or 23, 27
2 Kings 2:1-18
1 Corinthians 4:1-7
Matthew 5:17-20


  1. Forgive and forget...well said.

  2. Great post, once again, Martha. Question for you on forgiveness. God's forgiveness is conditional. It depends on repentance of the transgressor. To receive His forgiveness, God places that demand on the sinner. Is man to forgive those who do not want forgiveness and who are non-repentant? For example, should we forgive Osama? Should we we forget 911? I am just asking. I do not have any answer here. I am interested to know what you and others think.

    Thank you for presenting the subject. It is worthy of much consideration.

  3. Great question, Hank. I had not looked at the fact that the offender might not seek forgiveness . . . that's a ponder.
    Janu, thanks for stopping by! So glad to see you here!

  4. I am interested in the fruits of your pondering. Maybe ask Pastor Wallace his opinion. I have heard valid arguments on both sides of this question. But it is a question. Not sure where I come down on it myself, if you can believe that!

  5. Comment from Chris Tringali on Facebook:

    Chris Tringali- "My response, in very short form is that as the church, we do judge within the church. But we do so out of love and caring, always looking to raise up mature christians. When we discipline, we do so looking always for repentance and restoration, not condemnation."

  6. Hi Hank,
    Should we forgive the unrepentant? Jesus prayed to the Father - "forgive them, they know not what they do." But the word makes it clear that those who do not repent will not have forgiveness (John 5:14, 8:11, Rev 21:8). These may seem like opposite views and contradictory, but I do not believe they are.
    As a believer, I am called to forgive. Man can be forgiven, right up until he stands before the Throne. I also am called to discipline. I believe forgiveness is for the person violated, for if we harbor unforgiveness, then it is poison in us which will prevent us from receiving forgiveness.
    But forgiveness and restoration are 2 different things. One cannot be restored if they are prideful and unrepentant. If I were to allow an active drug dealer (unrepentant after being discovered and confronted) into the church youth group, would this be ok? No - common sense tells us I have allowed a wolf into the sheep pen to deceive the sheep. I do not seek this dealers death - I seek to remove him from doing harm among the less-mature, and seek to help him understand what the scriptures have to say on this subject.

  7. Thanks, Chefziti. So how do you apply the principle of forgiveness, as you understand it, to people who are non-repentant, and even continue to seek our harm?

  8. I love the “pot calling the kettle black” cartoon ;-) Perfect illustration.
    What a discussion you have prompted here Martha. I’ve been pondering the thought-provoking comments as well as the post itself.

  9. Great comments sister on a piece well written. I sure don't want the Lord remembering my sins...of which there are/were many! Paul said I am the chief of all sinners. I pity those who are not saved because they have to account for every Christ will have not forgiven them! amen.

  10. Wow! I've been gone all day and just now got around to checking on my post. What a marvelous and thought-provoking discussion here. In this coming Wednesday devotion, I'm returning to this subject from the perspective of 9/11 which might open up another can of worms altogether. I do hope so as this has been a marvelous conversation.

    For our enemies, let us forgive because Jesus asked us to and pray that their hearts will be turned toward the Savior in repentance.

    Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts!


  11. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Yes, we are to forgive. There is no contingency here. Forgiveness keeps our own hearts from bitterness and leaves the one forgiven in God's hands, repentant or not. I forgive Osama who was nothing more than an instrument of the devil (albeit willing) because to not forgive him hurts me more than it does him (especially now). Besides, we must trust God's Word that says what was meant for evil, He made it for good. Don't get me wrong here! I have no idea how such an atrocity could have been meant for good, but I do know this; My God is sovereign and I trust Him implicitly. Whether I can see it or not, something good came out of this evil.
    For our own spiritual health, it is incumbent on us to forgive those who sin against us. No matter how big, no matter how small, no matter the recipient's own heart.

  12. Beautifully stated, Victoria! Thank you for taking the time to make such a marvelous statement of faith!


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  14. Not beating a dead horse, but simply fleshing out the topic, trespasses begin in the heart. Someone who wishes to harm you, and desires to act on that inclination has already trespassed against you. These are the people about whom I direct the question of forgiveness. How do we forgive someone who has trespassed against us, in a very serious manner, and who is non-repentant, and indeed plots to harm us seriously in the future?

    I understand forgiveness of personal offenses and affronts. Someone says something they should not and it hurts our feelings. You just forgive and forget. Got that. But that is not what this is. We are speaking to an ongoing, very serious trespass, one that is continuous and the trespasser has vowed never to cease trying to harm us.

    Now I am not saying that we should not forgive. But forgiving someone who has taken a sacred vow to try to kill you, and continuously attempts to devise ways to accomplish that requires continuous forgiveness. Without laying down one's life, as Jesus did when put into that situation, How can men accomplish this kind of forgiveness? Or is that the point?


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