Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
Can You Forgive Someone Who Hasn't Repented?
Something in the last paragraph of this post by Doug Wilson flipped a switch in my brain that clarified for me the old question of whether we can forgive those who haven't repented of their sin against us. Some argue that we cannot -- that the transaction cannot be completed if the offender will not receive the forgiveness. But forgiveness really is monergistic -- it's tearing up the debt and throwing it away, which doesn't in the least require the debtor's cooperation. The offender may or may not receive the grace associated with the act of forgiveness -- the receipt for the forgiven debt, as it were -- but he has nothing to do with whether or not the bill has been written off. He can't change or alter that in the least. He can run up more debt by sinning against us again, but we have the freedom and the power to just keep forgiving.
Now of course we cannot erase his debt with God, and He may or may not forgive him. If He does, well, we'd better be on board with that and not be holding on to the offense. And if He doesn't, well, as Mr. Wilson put it, "God will hold them to account for their sin. You don't need to worry about that." He has a right to keep the account; we do not. We are instead to forgive as we have been forgiven. And how was that? While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. While we were yet sinners the Father accepted that sacrifice on our behalf. While we were yet sinners He did away with our debt. And then, to all whose debt He has cancelled, He graciously grants faith to take hold of the receipt marked "Tetelestai! It is finished! Paid in full!"
We never go to God to confess our sin except to discover that it's already been forgiven. Likewise the one who sins against me, if he does come repentantly, should find I've beat him to the punch, having torn up the IOU before he's even had a chance to sign it.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 5:30 PM
On August 19, 2007 10:02 PMAnonymouswrote... Valerie, Great post! This is, I believe, the hardest part of faith "to get". I live with a husband who tears up the IOU before I ever come to him in repentance (after going to the Lord first). This took me many years to grasp and I pray I will never (again) take advantage of his faith and forgiveness. Patty
On August 19, 2007 10:17 PMAnonymouswrote... What I love is finding out that living under the shadow of His wings is sort of also like living in the shade of a gigantic PAID IN FULL note. We'll never know just how large that debt ever got. May God grant that I can love other people like that. ~Eleanor