This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Forgiveness and Repentance

This is an issue i've been torn about for years. In personal relationships, must repentance precede forgiveness? If someone lies to me, stabs me in the back, etc., can i truly forgive that person before and without their repentance about the matter? All the pop-Christian self-helpy stuff i read says emphatically "yes." But it's not so clear to me.

i was going to cite a montage of scriptures that seem to support either answer to the question, but i'd rather just get to my lack of clarity--

It seems to me that God does not forgive without repentance. If God can forgive without repentance, then why not simply bestow the forgiveness of sins through Christ's blood upon the entire trans-historical human populus apart from any particular prescribed response on the part of man? If i'm obligated to forgive without repentance on the part of the one who hurt me, then why isn't God also obligated to forgive us without repentance on our part?

If forgiveness does not require repentance, then it seems like evil isn't taken seriously and Christian forgiveness is little more than passive resignation (which is very hard to swallow).

If forgiveness does require repentance, it seems like there's room for nursing wrath (which is even harder to swallow).

So what does God expect me to do about forgiveness?

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