Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Are Christians and the Church forgiving?

Are Christians and the church forgiving? Have you been in any churches that say they were forgiving and then someone did something that goes against their view of scripture, expressed a opinion, commits an a sin or offense and the church's attitude towards that individual changes? Have you seen unforgiveness among Christians and churches? How? Should Christians be forgiving? Why or why not? Should Christians and the church be known for offering forgiveness to others? What does it say about a Christian or church when the attitude of unforgiveness prevails? How can Christians and the church be more forgiving of others? Does your church have a spirit of forgiveness? How? What is your church doing to ensure that forgiveness is practiced?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger Jessica said...

I joke that I lost the church in the divorce, but I really did lose the church in the divorce. No one knows what happens behind closed doors and if anyone had bothered to ask, they would've known I was leaving an abusive marriage. I have 3 other friends from that particular church and a couple of others that also lost the church after their divorces! It amazes me that people can be so judgmental and so unforgiving. At the end of the day, I will stand before God for my wrongdoings... not anyone else.

But what is even more interesting to me, is that the youth minister that was arrested for DWI a couple of weeks ago is from that some unforgiving church... and yet, he hasn't been asked to step down and his mother, the preacher's wife, has compared him to King David. So basically, I got blacklisted because I left an abusive marriage and be he gets absolution? Hmm...

10:00 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I am sorry to hear that. I have seen that myself when it comes to divorce. I think some churches, not all, but some show favortism or "church polotics" plays are role in things. I also think some churches might have conditional grace offered. We forgive if you meet these standars. I think churches need to offer forgiveness to all people. The divorced, abused, addicted, and on. Practice the forgiveness and grace that we have experienced from God.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Anna L. Walls said...

I haven't belonged to any church for 90% of my life. Though I recognize that most Christians seem to need to lean on religion for many reasons, I find most of them two-faced and grossly so, if crossed. People should practice what they preach.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Becky said...

I also experienced unforgiveness when I confessed some wrongs that I had done to an elder. He broke trust. I went to him in confidence. We prayed for forgiveness. I was forgiven by God but when the word got out what my sin was that I was struggling with the church turned its back on me. I was hurt most by the ones that should have given me support, help, and forgiveness. Thank you for his post Preacherman.

10:30 AM  
Blogger mrjdobbs said...

People have a hard time understanding what grace is...we want to accept it, but not necessarily give it out. Churches are the same way.

What we must be careful to understand is that the teachings aren't messed up, its the people. I'll flat out tell you that I'm messed up. There are people I have a hard time forgiving, but I do it anyway. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater...not all churches fit this stereotype. And not all Christians in unforgiving churches are unforgiving.

We must take everything with perspective.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Do we make excuses for why forgiveness isn't practiced? I have heard so much well, "The church and Christians aren't perfect." Yeah, so...Doesn't mean we can use that as an excuse to not practice the teachings of Jesus. I think that should make us more forgiving knowing that we all aren' perfect. We all screw up and sin. I think self-righteousness plays a huge role in unforgiving Christians and churches.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it depends on the Christian and Church.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous A former church goer said...

I quit church because of the lack of forgiveness expressed and offered to those who needed it. Including myself. Jesus forgave but the church wouldn't. Painful.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recently, I shared with a friend Tim Keller's The Prodigal God. Keller has many "takes" on the text most of us know as The Prodigal Son. For some reason, his thoughts struck a nerve with me this time. In the beginning of the book, Keller maintains that the account is more about an indictment on the older brother, rather than about grace for the younger son. I think he's on to something.

Too often, those in the Church are quick to receive "unconditional grace." However, we choose whom to give grace to and only based upon our conditions. Sad really.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Sammie said...

I am divorced and have been treated the same way as Jessica. I believe the church needs to practice forgiveness and offer hope to hurting families and indivduals.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Sarah Grace said...

Christians, "the church" - are all human. I think people have to realize that religion itself is man-created and man-delivered. It is not perfect, in fact far from it - it's actually a pretty big mess if you take a wide open look at it!

We rely too much on the church to lead and teach us their twisted, usually misinterpreted doctrine, and then get angry when they act less than "Christ-like"...

Maybe it's time we dig a little deeper - lead instead of follow. Study the bible for ourselves - and I mean really study, not just read one version, but compare to the original texts. Try to gain our own understanding of what the bible originally said, meant, intended, etc in it's original context & time.

And pray to God to teach you through the word. Pray to find your own understanding of God's will, his plan, his love.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Billy Propst said...

@ Sarah Grace ~ Exactly! Spot on!!
The main thing to remember here is... the only people that needs to forgive someone are the people that were offended!!
Jessica, Becky, and Sammie; as a follower of Christ, I am to love you! It is not for me to judge you or to forgive you! If you are a follower of Christ, and have sinned against Him, you were forgiven when He died on the cross.To say you need to be forgiven more, is to say that when He died on the cross, it wasn't enough!
What you are looking for is love and understanding, not forgiveness!
As far as "Christians" and "Church" go,well, let be perfectly blunt!!The Church is not the building for the weekly meeting and Christians are not the people who meet there!! There are a lot of pretenders in those congregations!!
The Church is the body or bride of Jesus Christ! The definition of Christian should be the same thing, but I don't like that tag because it has been made so dirty!! I would rather just say that I'm a follower of Christ!
The advice given by Sarah Grace is very sound!! Try that and don't worry about forgiveness from pretenders!!

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sometimes. I am not at other times. I want to be most of the time. But, I don't always manage to be the person I want to be. So, are Christians and the Church forgiving? Not if at this moment I am being honest with you and with myself. I haven't been a part of a building fellowship for at least a couple years. Those hardest for me (as Christian and Church) to forgive are those left in the building but I am still working on it.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Johnny said...

I belive the church has hurt many people. Those who the church has hurt have problems with forgiving just as much as the churches who don't offer or practice forgiveness.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I believe that the church is still growing and learning. Every church body is different in how they walk out different things they are experiencing. We have many immature Christians walking around holding grudges and the mature ones attempting to set the example by walking in forgiveness and love. What I mean by immature, I am referring to attitude not spiritual or physical age.
I am personally dealing with someone who I feel is harboring unforgiveness toward me and it breaks my heart! I love this person dearly and want to see freedom in their life in this area. Father God loves her so much and I choose to love like Jesus does. Just because someone is unforgiving never gives us the right to be angry or bitter toward them. The best response is love, kindness, grace, mercy and honor. It is in this that will break the chain of the other bound in unforgiveness. These are just my thoughts from my own personal experiences. :-)

12:40 AM  
Blogger Just Another Thought Online said...

It depends if they really believe in the tenants of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus. Those who don't forgive aren't really Christian or at the very least are hypocrites.

4:15 AM  
Anonymous Ted said...

I think the real mark of a Christian is love and part of love is forgiveness. So, if you don't forgive, you don't love and if you don't love your not a Christian. We are commanded by God as followers of Jesus to love.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgiveness is one of the hardest principles for sinners. We want the riches that God gives us freely and our pound of flesh too. However, Jesus taught forgiveness as a command. The parable of the unmerciful servant(Matthew 18:21-35) is one example. We will not be forgiven if we do not forgive. Releasing someone from guilt when you forgive them is so cleansing even if they do not acknowledge their fault. What do we do when our brothers and sisters hold on to grudges and withhold forgiveness. Is the church in the pursuit of unity not holding people accountable in situations where forgiveness is required? Or is the church turning withholding forgiveness when we sin? This is a very delicate balancing act. We have to remember Christians are simultaneously saints and sinners and there is forgiveness for the Christian too. Jesus is there providing the same forgivesness from the first moment of our salvation to the last breath we take. I pray that along the way of our sanctification, that we listen to Christ and follow him. If we do, then we will forgive as we are forgiven.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a Deacon in the Christian Church. I messed up big time, and tried to kill myself over it. While I was on my "Death Bed" The Elders sent a message to me through my wife. "either step down or we will remove you. Where was my church family when I needed them. My church family and leadership turned its back on me when I needed them, so I turned my back on them. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever get involved in any church again.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am about to give up on the whole idea of church. My ex wife left me and my pastor and now her's probably could have help prevent this. NONE of them chose to say anything, yet they allow her to sleep with another married sunday school teacher.

12:27 PM  
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