Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Critique of Chuck Phelps' Forgiveness Lesson (Pg5)

I’m going to deal with the right side of the handout, “The Methodology of Forgiveness.” It’s broken down into two parts, “The Responsibility of the Offended” and “The Responsibility of the Offender.” The first thing I want you to notice is the disparity between the topics. The “offended” with is dealt with on most of the page but the “offender” gets FOUR lines. Again, I think we have the focus wrong. Why do we focus so much on the offended and so little time on the offender?

Offended Person
#1 – vertical forgiveness – why? Did the offended person sin? I guess one way is to ask God to forgive the person, just like Jesus did on the Cross for us but the offender would still have to accept that forgiveness and so the sin must still be dealt with.

#2 – did the offender sin? Chuck Phelps calls it a “true offense.”
            Not all offenses come from sin. Sometimes people feel they’ve been “sinned” against but they have not but it’s still something that needs to be resolved. Mistakes, misunderstanding, differences of opinion, or any other number of things can cause problems between people. If we weren’t prideful, selfish, self-centered, and sinful people, we’d be more understanding and have less problems but that’s not going to happen.
            If it is a sin, we should also ask, “was it a crime?” “Did he break the law?” And then we should deal with it accordingly.

#3 – “Confront those who offend you.” The beginning of Luke 17:3 states that “if a brother sins, confront him…” We seem to focus on the person who was offended doing the confrontation but that does not need to be the case. If I know someone has sinned against another person, I also have that responsibility to confront the sinner.
a.       – obedience not revenge – as long as we realize that consequences are not revengeful 
b.      – for the good of the offender –what?
c.       – designed to edify – what?
      I think I know what he’s saying but confronting sin is for the good of the body of Christ. Dealing with sin does not always seem good to the offender but if sin is dealt with, it’s good in the long run, even with consequences.

#4 – forgive ….”unconditionally”…  I may need to forgive unconditionally but that does not mean that the consequences of the offense are removed and I’m afraid that the removal of consequences is usually how this is interpreted.

#5 – Proverbs 15:1 has nothing to do with this statement

#6 – II Thess. 3:14-15 does not apply to this statement either.

#7 – What does forgiveness have to do with looking for real change from the offender?

The Offender

#1 – “own your offense” – good

#2 – “demonstrate your repentance” – “..might include…before a civil magistrate.”

– this is the only time law enforcement is mentioned and in such a strange way. If he broke the law, this should not be optional and the offended has this option as well.

#3 – don’t expect to be “best friends” immediately

If I was to believe this, I would think the offender has little responsibility in making things right and that the offender should wait to be confronted with his/her offense before he/she has to do anything.

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