HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Forgiving for the Sake of the Enemy
 
Isaiah 2:9 says that we must not forgive idolaters who do not repent.


"Their land has also been filled with idols;
They worship the work of their hands,
That which their fingers have made.
So the common man has been humbled
And the man of importance has been abased,
But do not forgive them.
Enter the rock and hide in the dust
From the terror of the LORD and from the splendor of His majesty.
 
We forgive for the sake of the enemy according to the Christian teaching that we must be other-centred and not self-centred. Self-centredness and selfishness are not the same thing. Selfishness is hurting others for your own gain. If you help others because you want to feel good that is self-centredness.
 
Jesus said love your neighbour and didn’t say love the sinner. To love your enemy is not the same as to love the person as a sinner for the enemy might have the best of intentions and see you as a threat.

Free will conflicts with the doctrine that pardoning is a duty even if it is taught that you can only forgive a person who freely did wrong. Now, you are more certain that the person did wrong than you are that he or she is sorry when the apology comes. The person could fake repentance to avoid the results of their actions. Thus it follows that forgiveness is degrading to the person who is asked to forgive and so it is really another act of wickedness. To forgive is to reward the person for insulting you. It is more moral to punish that person and never forgive and to deal with your bad feelings in a way that is good for you so that you will feel no pain. The Christian faith is erected on the cornerstone of forgiveness so the faith is all error for its foundation is error.
 
If forgiveness is about abandoning the desire to punish and punishing is about reforming as well as about paying for the evil you did then forgiveness does not care about the wicked person at all. It does not care what that person owes society so it does not care about society either which raises the question of what the wicked person was resented for in the first place.
 
The condemnation of crime is more important than the punishment of crime. Therefore if you may forgive and still punish you are doing wrong for you are putting more emphasis on the punishment. Forgiving is ceasing to condemn. If you can do that then the punishment could also be shelved. Indeed it ought to be if it is less important. You do not really forgive anybody you punish or who you allow to be punished. One of the greatest marks of Christian hypocrisy is the way they bless people who forgive and who still support the legal retribution system.
 
In most cases, it is easier to do wrong if you are confident you will be forgiven for we fear people wishing us evil. The amount of time most of us have spent in doing harm when we were confident we would be pardoned adds up in damage to many things that people have gone to jail for. So there is no doubt forgiveness is indeed making an excuse for non-criminal evil, provided free will is accepted as true, though it is dressed up as doing the opposite. The gospel of forgiveness of Jesus Christ logically implies you should hate yourself and let others walk all over you. When non-criminal evil can do as much damage as crime then when we let it go unpunished we should let crime go unpunished too!
 
It is hypocrisy to claim that there is a difference between forgiving and condoning when most forgiveness does not exact a punishment or restitution and does not need to. I mean if X smashes your window and you forgive him and make him pay for the repairs you are not making him pay because you forgive him or because you don’t but because you want the money so his wrongdoing is still being condoned. It just looks as if it is not being.
 
The real reason we like forgiveness is that in most cases it does result in us getting away with the evil we have done. That is the real attraction. It is about us and not other people.
 
We are told we are all sinners. If that is true then we deserve whatever evil others to do us. It would be unfair to condemn them for hurting us. If we take an eye for an eye it leaves us all blind but we could gossip about one another and run one another down because we deserve it and we do that a lot at times anyway.
 
The doctrine that we all need forgiveness from one another and from God and that we need to forgive ourselves is harmful because it implies we all deserve to suffer and be condemned. One way it harms is this. When you get a reward or a compliment you want it to remind you that you are a good person. To be a good person is the same as deserving only good. But to believe that we are all sinners and deserve suffering and need pardon is saying that anything anybody does for us it is done for any reason but not to really convey to us that we are considered good. Only a delusional person would be happy with such blessings. They are Black Widow bites.
 
When we forgive our enemy we declare ourselves to be his friend. We are going to help him if he is in trouble. It would be bizarre then if you could send him to jail for a crime against you and couldn’t refuse to give him a lemsip for his flu. If we really are his friend we will not want him to go to jail and even more so if we feel he has really reformed.
 
A lot of the time, if you send a person to jail they will be worse when they come out for jail is a brutalising experience. It is utter hypocrisy for Christians to say they have forgiven enemies they send to jail. The boast, “We don’t want revenge. We just want justice”, seems hollow. If they really meant it they would not be able to send hardened criminals to jail for they will resist changing their attitude and use jail to harden their hearts. Punishment is to reform not to make worse.
 
You would need to be clairvoyant and know the criminal exceptionally well to be sure that sending him to jail would be best for him and other people. When you are simply guessing that it is the right thing to do it is clear that you have not forgiven him at all. You are getting your own back and using the law to do it. You never know what the future will bring – end of story.
 
When we cannot forgive for our own sake or the sake of the enemy we can’t forgive for both at the one time either.
 
It is interesting to note that Jesus incited hatred against your enemies by telling you that if they repent you can forgive them (Luke 17:3). So if they don't repent and apologise don't forgive them. It is argued that Jesus pleaded for forgiveness for his enemies on the cross. But Jesus did not say he forgave them but prayed that they might be forgiven after repentance. He did not say he forgave them. Praying for your enemies to repent and be forgiven by you is entirely compatible with hating them for it is an expression of non-forgiveness.
 
He said that if you are struck on the cheek offer the enemy the other cheek. Some say this is not about passive love but about you asserting your equality with the attacker. It is passive aggressive as you invite him to degrade himself by hitting you again. It is intended to make him feel he is a coward and to trigger self-punishment.
 
Jesus said that if somebody takes your coat let him take your cloak too. It is argued that offering your cloak is about you taking control over the situation and embarrassing the person who is taking from you.
 
Jesus told his people to carry Roman soldier's packs two miles when ask to carry them for one. It is argued that if the soldier let them do that he would be fired.
 
If Jesus' commands about how we are to treat enemies are not as passive and kind as some think and are passive aggressive and nasty then there was nothing special about that man. In reality, there is nothing in the commands that suggests being vindictive towards the attackers and persecutors. In the case of the soldier getting sacked, it is not true that soldiers were treated harshly for making people carry their packs too far. Also, even if that were the case Jesus could have been speaking hypothetically. He could have meant that if the soldier would not get sacked then carry his pack across the country if he wants you to. If you want to interpret Jesus' commands as passive aggressive vindictiveness then you need other Bible texts to make such an interpretation reasonable.
 
St Paul stated that you must not take vengeance but leave room for it in Romans 13. He explained that he meant that vengeance is God's and God will repay. Clearly, he forbids trying to help enemies when one feels God is punishing them. You must not sympathise with them. He did say that you must do good things for them but so as to lay hot coals on their heads. This means that the good he means is just about actions and not attitude. You are to do good to them while wishing evil on them. Maybe Paul is evidence for the vindictiveness of Jesus' outlook.
 
Psalm 139 is for people who admit they hate their enemies and who feel so sure that it is lawful that they ask God to look at them and see how perfect they are! God clearly agrees with the hate.
 
The person who forgives will reason, "That person hurts me for he sees me as a danger. He hates his perception of me and not me and so I forgive. I understand and understanding is necessary for forgiving."
 
In fact a person who has warped perception is worse than the person who sees you as you are and hates you for it. That person is more dangerous. It is more rational to forgive the person who hates you because he knows you.
 
Forgiving for the sake of anything other than your enemy only looks like for forgiveness but it is not. The Bible errs seriously in suggesting such hypocritical forgiveness is holy and good.