It’s very basic that Christians are to forgive those who offend against them. The scripture is very clear on this and in fact, warns us that if we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven by God. (Matt 6;14).
If someone offends against us and later repents, we must forgive them 70 times 7 times if we are to claim the name, Christian. That is clear enough from the many scriptures given us in the bible.
What is not so clear is whether we must forgive those who have not and will not show remorse? One might notice the scarcity of direct teaching on this question and infer that we are obligated to forgive only in the case of an apology or repentance. If someone offends against me and won’t admit it or show any remorse, do I have to forgive him?
There are two arguments against withholding forgiveness when the offender is unrepentant.
The first argument was provided by Jesus on the cross when he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Even while his persecutors were in the act of taking His life, he forgave them. What more extreme case could you have for withholding forgiveness? And yet Jesus forgave.
The second argument has to do with our own attitude. We are so imperfect that I don’t believe it is possible for us to maintain an attitude of unforgiveness without it affecting our attitude. We are just too proud. Pride fosters unforgiveness because it keeps us from seeing our own shortcomings. The way for us to act is to realize our own shortcomings and just forgive. That is where grace is required. That is where humility is required. It takes no grace or humility to withhold forgiveness.
One of the best admonitions of scripture on this subject is given us by Paul who tells us, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph 4;32).
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (IThess 5:18)
It has always interested me that this admonition does not tell us to be thankful for only the good things. The “every thing” goes way beyond the good and takes in the setbacks, the defeats, the tragedies, the offenses we suffer.
How can this be? It sounds incredible, doesn’t it? How do we thank God for an accident that takes a child from us? Or a suddenly discovered cancer? Or a mugging that leaves us hospitalized? By faith.
There are many things that we will never understand this side of Heaven. But the more we know and trust God, the more willing we are to entrust Him with the fallout of the bad things that occur in our lives. With gritted teeth sometimes we have to say, “ We know that all things work together for good to them who love the Lord…” (Rom 8:28)
Many things that seemed to me a setback turned out to be a blessing with time. And some other things still seem like setbacks after years. But I believe that if it hadn’t been for some of the really hard times in my life, I would never have come to the intimate knowledge of God that is more precious than my life.
Even if we don’t witness the good that emerges from the bad, we trust that God is doing what He only does, good.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (2 Thess 2:11 KJV)
Concerning evolution, I believe everything that has been proven.
Certainly, there has been micro-evolution of living beings within species. Horses have developed from more primitive horses. Breeding of many animals is a means of achieving differences within species of those animals.
But the big thesis of Darwinism is that life itself evolved from inanimate matter by a gradual process. This has not been proven nor have the most intensive efforts of modern science been able to achieve the creation of life, period. Evolutionists would have us believe that life happened accidentally yet its origination cannot be demonstrated in any laboratory.
Another thesis of Darwinism is that lower forms of life evolved into different higher forms. If this was true there would be abundant fossil evidence of transitional forms between lower species and higher species. Despite numerous claims of the “discovery” of such fossils, closer examination has eventually revealed none of them to be transitional forms. The most salient example of this is the complete absence of life forms leading to the “Cambrian explosion.” Evolutionists realize that this absence is fatal to Darwin’s theory just as Darwin himself realized it and have sought many excuses and explanations for this lapse in their theory but all have been shown to be false.
Another tenet of evolution is that there is no design involved in the most intricate and marvelous beings. Evolution insists that it all happened mechanically and any appearance of design is an illusion. But many imminent experts have come to believe through mathematical and scientific analysis that design is the most likely explanation for the immensely complex biological structures existent today. This reasoned approach is rejected by evolutionists because it has a strong implication for the existence of God.
So evolution has become a political matter rather than a scientific one and anyone doubting the theory is branded an ignorant fundamentalist. No effort is made to even consider arguments contrary to evolution. Evolution itself has become a religion but one which has failed on a scientific basis. There is nothing left but theory. Nevertheless, it is now presented as settled science in public schools and our children are being taught that, essentially, there is no God. Any alternative theory, such as intelligent design is resisted as teaching religion.
Accepting Darwinism takes far greater faith than simply believing in creation by an intelligent God. Darwinists’ insistence that there can be no God requires them to subscribe to a delusional theory for they are left with nothing else.
All intelligent and thoughtful people eventually and maybe frequently, come to the question of the real purpose in life. Yes, children and raising them right is important. Yes, doing the right thing is important. Finding satisfaction in work or career is important. Relationships, yes. Wealth, probably not. Fame, of course not.
In the final analysis, what is really the single, worthwhile goal in life is given to us in black and white from the words chorused by the 24 elders pictured in the last book of the bible. Their words say it all.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
This passage tells us why we were created. For God’s pleasure. Like it? Well, regardless, there it is.
How about measuring all our thoughts, words and deeds against that standard? Pretty much trashes a lot of what we do and our motives, doesn’t it? What is really important is giving glory, honor and authority to our Creator.
Starting every day with a reminder of that standard would be a pretty good practice.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
The word “careful” here means full of care, or anxious. God’s Word tells us to be anxious for NOTHING. The proper response to the onset of worry is to pray and put our issues before the Lord. Our Father knows we have difficulty controlling our emotions and feelings. But as a matter of the will, we can refuse to worry about the issue if we accept that God will undertake for us. We might not know how or when but we can depend on Him. This is the Christian antidote for worry and anxiety. Every time the issue re-surfaces, we just remind our heavenly Father that we have left this one with Him and then willfully focus our mind elsewhere.
What a wondrous thing and I have found that it works!
The mind is relieved as we simply apply this principle and we can have confidence that the Lord is in charge and will deal with all circumstances so much better than we ever could ourselves.