ONLY GOD can forgive sins, and ONLY then must we follow suit.
I have been going through the most horrendous spiritual depression, and there is no therapist, no medicine, no cure, accept one, forgiveness. I've had this horrible war raging inside of me. It has turned me into a raving maniac on-line. One minute I'm shouting from the rooftop, swearing to take down Goliath, the next, I'm doubling back, because I just can't take this anger that comes and goes. One day, I think that I've managed it, it's forgotten and forgiven, then I have a flashback, and the burn starts all over, again. I've been spiritually raped, and I just can't get over it. I'm sorry, but rape is an ugly ugly offense. What is spiritual rape? It is the same thing as mental adultery that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5, when we just lust after that married person.
We are all familiar with what Jesus said, if we lust after a married person, we've committed adultery already in our hearts. So, it stands to reason if we can commit adultery in our hearts, we can also commit rape. If a man has manipulated a woman into bed by lies, schemes, and false pretenses, false promises, well then, that man has spiritually raped that woman. Especially if that man claims to be a Christian. Now, I'm not saying that I'm not guilty here. I'm as guilty as Bathsheba, but I'm way more sorrowful, and I have paid the price for my sin. I repented and I've done my time in this prison of unresolved anger. The offender on the other hand, will not even acknowledge the sin done to me. As a matter of fact, he has taken the road of Amnon in 2 Samuel, and hated me, blocking all communications with me, AND in the most hateful of ways.
To make a long story short, Amnon, son of David, the-apple-doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree-son, fell in love, or lust with his half sister. I know, ewww. . He had to have her, so his not so scrupulous pal told him how to get her in bed, and it worked like magic. Once the conquest was accomplished, she was tossed out on her..., well, you know. A raging hatred grew in Amnon's heart immediately after that. It’s cruel fate, and I understand it, having lived it, myself. He ruined her entire life by robbing her of her virginity and her dignity. He not only physically raped her, but he spiritually raped her.
So, I'm guilty, yes, I've repented and GOD has forgiven me, because that is the Grace and Mercy of GOD, but my dignity is gone, and so is my honor. However, the other party in this not so happy party has not repented. In fact, he has repeated the pattern with other woman he could do it to. He has left a trail of broken hearts, and he isn't even the least bit sorrowful. If he has repented, I would have known about it, because he would have done the right thing, and gone on his apology tour, seeking grace and forgiveness for all his victims. I’ve given him opportunity after opportunity to receive my grace. This last attempt was met with my reaching out to him as “marked as spam.” We all know what electronic spam it, it’s JUNK mail, worthy of the garbage bin. Who doesn’t hate spam? Imagine being told, “you are spam to me and I’m sending you to the junk bin.” I doubt there is an UGLIER thing a person could say and do to another who loved him, blessed him, and cared genuinely for him, even though NONE of those feelings or actions were reciprocated. I wonder how many times we “mark as spam,” the times GOD reaches out to us to offer grace to initiate a response of repentance and sorrow for our ugly deeds?
So, I imagine you can fathom the battle going on inside of me. Christians, i.e. church people have been taught the wrong thing for generations, and that is the reason for the horrible battle we feel with hurt multiplied by guilt. I'm free now, not any happier, but at least I do not have to do that which I cannot do:
I doubt anyone knows how much of a relief this is. I know, I can hear you, too, saying, "Jesus tell us to forgive seventy times seven. Allow me to educate you on something I see in this Scripture that I never saw before.
When Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven time?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." We have been taught this verse so out of context it's not funny. That's the problem with being a Christian and just going to church to be spoon-fed, or in some cases bottle-fed the Bible. We are taught random Scriptures, and a pastor will build a whole sermon around this one Scripture. Even if the entire sermon is way off the pendulum of what is and isn't acceptable to GOD, because he used a Scripture that seems to be in line with the sermon, we just believe him. Did you note that little slight of hand? The Scripture is in line with the sermon? Shouldn't it be the other way around? The sermon is in line with the Scripture?
Let's note where this Scripture is; smack dab in the middle of Jesus instructing his disciples what to do about someone who sins against us. In verse 15, it is clear that if this person does not recognize or acknowledge their sin against us on their own, we are to take it to them. (Note, this is a brother in the LORD, we cannot do this with people outside the church.) If this person repents, apologizes, Yay! Yet, if not, then we should take one or two witnesses with us. Again, if he repents, Yay! Lastly, if this person continues to deny his sin, then boot him! This means, NO FORGIVENESS. This person now becomes the one worthy of the garbage bin. If Jesus doesn't forgive him, then who are we to usurp Jesus's authority.
Next, Jesus give the parable of the unmerciful servant who owes his master big time. He pleads for mercy and receives it. He then in turn goes to his servant and demands payment for the little owed to him. This minor debtor pleads for mercy, but the swindler has no mercy and throws him in prison. When the master finds out about this, the master hits the roof and the stuff hits the fan, for the unmerciful middle-management jerk, who thought he was more than he really was. The next time this unrepentant “rapist,” goes to seek some favor or deliverance from GOD on a matter in which he he cannot handle, relief will not be on the table, not until he repents of the deeds he has done to others.
Do you see a co-relations here? In all these situations, there is repentance. Just what is repentance? Defined, it's changing one's mind to agree with God, in this instance about our sin. If our mind is made up, and we don't believe that we sin, and we don't believe that we need any mercy or forgiveness, then we are granted what we don't want, no mercy, no forgiveness. If GOD isn't going to forgive someone, we cannot, either. Note in the story of the prodigal son, the father never went chasing after the wayward son when the wayward son ran out of money. The father waited and watched from afar, until the son came to his senses. Likewise, GOD doesn’t always chase after us if He knows that our hearts are hardened permanently, however, if GOD knows that we have a heart after His, hidden under all that dirt, he relentless chases us, but not necessarily with more handouts, but more trials, persecutions, problems than we can handle, until we come to our senses.
Now, let me get this straight here, we all sin against GOD, thus what Jane does against GOD is none of my business, but if Josh Pew Warmer sins against me, and he refuses to acknowledge his sin, GOD hasn't forgiven him of that sin, nor should I. Think about it, we can't give what we are not asked to give. If GOD does not forgive Josh Pew Warmer, we have no authority to go over GOD's head, because there is no over GOD's head. I know this goes against everything you've learned, however, I do believe that is why the church is in the mess it is in and ineffective in reaching people with the power of the Holy Spirit. They Holy Spirit does not act when people think of themselves as the Holy Spirit and take on matters man’s way, or interpret Scripture in ways that man thinks it should be. In other words, the doormat doctrine is not in the Bible. Maybe if we stop forgiving those who aren’t forgiven by GOD, then they won’t be free to continue to perpetuate spreading their sinful seed around to unsuspecting, and other stupid women like me.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul says boot the sexually immoral brother. Don't hide it, sweep it under the carpet or affirm it. For the brother who thinks that the sexually immoral brother is NOT sinning against GOD, or the church, then both need to feel the door hitting them in the @ss on the way out. We have no right to boot the non-believer who does not already have the Holy Spirit, but only the believer who claims to be a believer. He is doing far more damage to the body of believers by claiming to be one, sitting in a pew every week, unscathed, and continuing in his lifestyle of an unbeliever.
Scripture always needs to verify Scripture and I wouldn't be me if I don't go back into the Old Testament to find where this principle originated. It takes us back to the book of Joshua. I am sure that you all know the story of Joshua and the Israelites circling the city for seven days then shouting down the walls, (by GOD's Hand, of course). There was one other thing GOD commanded, and that was "don't steal any of the goods for yourself."
Wouldn't you know it, there was a bad apple in the bunch, and Mr. Achan got a little greedy. He just plucked a few devoted things for himself, just a little, not much, a couple of gold coins nobody would notice, perhaps. Nobody but GOD would miss it. Because of his sin, the next battle did not go so well, and they all went running home with their tails between their legs, all those who survived, that is. When Joshua sought from the LORD why, the LORD let it be known that there was a bad apple. Here's the part, though, he didn't tell him who it was. Joshua had to call the tribes one by one, heads of clans one by one, fathers once by one. Finally when they got to Achan, he knew perjury was out of the question, because GOD knows when we are lying. Congress may not be able to tell the difference, lie detector tests sometimes can sometime not, so are not reliable, but don't you try to get your sin past the Almighty, because He was up there watching it, play by play, tapping his fingers, knowing that this was not going to end well for the bad apple.
This is why I don't get televangelists who fleece the flock. They apparently do not know the Bible or GOD, but he knows them. He knew them before the sin, during the sin, and after the sin. So, back to Joshua, Achan confessed and sadly for the Achan family tree, the bud stopped there. GOD had the entire family "put out" of the camp, in a very permanent sort of way. So, to sum up, one bad apple in the whole bunch surely does spoil the entire barrel. One approved sexually immoral person in the church ruins the entire congregation, rending them powerless to fight the enemy we fight today, the dark forces, principalities, authorities, or as I called them, the rip-tides in the Spiritual Realm.
So, Scripture must Scripture. Now, I'm not telling ANYONE to go out and take revenge, that's GOD's job. What I am saying is, cheap grace ain't no grace at all. Cheap grace is permission to do it again, and again, and again. Cheap grace is forgiving the sin that GOD has not yet forgiven. Cheap grace wreaks havoc in the body of the church and the body of the "victim."
I can't say that I feel better because I don't have to forgive what GOD hasn't forgiven, because here is the tricky part. I want to forgive like GOD forgives. I have had a sad life, and there are way too many hurts that GOD has allowed to happen to me that intimately portray GOD's hurts we cause Him. I read that GOD feels our pain when we are in pain, I beg to differ. I believe we feel GOD's pain when we sin or are sinned against.