* The Other Side of Forgiveness: Bob Enyart interviews theologian Dr. Chris Brauns about the other side of forgiveness, the biblical side, which recognizes repentance as a prerequisite to forgiveness. While the action of forgiveness is absolution, the purpose is reconciliation. And reconciliation is two-sided. Pastor Brauns website is chrisbrauns.com and his book, Unpacking Forgiveness, is available at Amazon.com and wherever great Christian books are sold!
* Can I Forgive Sins Committed Against Others? No. Only God can forgive sins. That is, only God can forgive everyone and anyone who repents, regardless of whom they have sinned against. Why is it that God has standing to forgive me, even when I sin against my neighbor? God can forgive even sins committed against third parties because every sin is also and foremost a disobedience to God. So if that sin is in the form of stealing from a neighbor, or lying about a co-worker, both the neighbor, and God, have standing to forgive. You however, and Pastor Chris, and Pastor Bob, none of us, have standing to forgive those who have not sinned against us. So generally speaking, the answer to this question, "Can I forgive sins committed against others?" is, "No, unless you are God." For when Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven you”, the scribes reasoned, "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:5-7) Consider also however that many sins (and crimes) have a direct victim and indirect victims. For example, when Islamic terrorists kill Christians, Jews, and others, they are sinning not only against the immediate victims and their families, but against all those around the world who they are attempting to intimidate. When racists or atheists vandalize synagogues or churches, they are seeking to harm all Jews or all Christians. Thus, we do have standing to forgive those who have sinned (or committed crimes) against others, after they repent, if and only if we happen to be indirect victims ourselves.
* Automatic Forgiveness Keeps People from Christ: See also our related radio program at kgov.com/automatic-forgiveness. Many unbelievers have rejected Jesus Christ in part because of the false teaching that Christians should forgive others regardless of whether or not there is repentance. For Jesus Himself taught that ordinarily repentance should be a prerequisite for Christian forgiveness. For example see Luke 17:3.
* Today's Three Resources: (1) You can listen to Nicer than God, a fast-paced critique of today's Christian teaching on the issues of forgiveness, judging, confrontation, etc. in an MP3 download or CD format. (2) You can read Bob Enyart's classic Nicer than God article. Or (3), you can get a subscription to our Monthly Bible Study and receive an MP3 CD album mailed to your home once per month. Nicer than God would then be just one of the worthwhile albums you will automatically receive and hopefully, greatly enjoy!
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IMPORTANT: Moody Radio featured an informal debate on forgiveness with Chris Brauns and the host, Julie Roys ended the program saying that Pastor Chris had won her over on this topic. (Incidentally, the other pastor on the program brought shame to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for defending even that it is acceptable for Christians to "forgive God". Of course blasphemy is not "emotionally healthy behavior".)