To Forgive or Not to Forgive.

From Noriko Dethlefs’ In His Strength (p53)

“It is rare that killers are brought to justice here [in Afghanistan], but in the case of a colleague – whose cousin was shot dead for not releasing some office documents – members of the family are taking the law into their own hands. When I spoke to them about forgiveness, they agreed to forgive after they found the killer and put him to death. It is a matter of honour”

Compare to:

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.


Forgive, and you will be forgiven.


if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

The above quotes present interesting contrasts in attitudes to forgiveness. The resulting outcomes are also significantly different.

What is REAL forgiveness? Something we apply AFTER punishing someone for perceived wrongs? Or something we apply despite being wronged?

What do we think is more important?

Maintaining our personal sense of honour – or being eligible for God’s forgiveness?

2 thoughts on “To Forgive or Not to Forgive.

  1. People do have very different ideas or explanations of what forgiveness is, not only between “one religion and another” so to speak (although the differences may well represent different religions really). For instance, some people say forgiveness is something that is better for you to do so you can heal because not forgiving means there is anger or something in you that will hurt you. That’s a bit different, I think, from an idea of letting something go so you can be forgiven too. And, again, some people pretty much are enablers because they never think anything can be done about anything without it coming back on them.

  2. And then there are questions of what to be forgiven for; some people primarily have in mind anything that crosses them or happens to strike them unpleasantly or gets in their way. Other people have a list of what they think God says. Others, just the technicalities of current law. And so on.

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