Thursday, November 10, 2011

Forgiveness, Part Four

Adequate Forgiveness

Adequate forgiveness involves God, God’s people, and oneself. If any one of these is omitted, then serious problems will result. Every sinner needs to find at least one person who is willing to listen and, while knowing the very worst, will still love and respect the sinner. Such a person is God and the church is such a society.

Every person needs a social context in which he can openly admit how far s/he has fallen. Yet s/he must still feel loved and accepted in spite of her or his shortcomings. S/he must be supported in developing the kind of God-approved behavior s/he really desires. God’s people believe that sinners are worth saving. They do more than support; they motivate each other to self-control and will power. The church is to help people rise above their failures.

Saul of Tarsus was adequately forgiven because he dealt adequately with his guilt. In Acts 24:16 Paul said, “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward man.” Paul dealt with his guilt by confessing it to God, to God’s people, and to himself.

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