The publication goal for my book on forgiveness (published by Crossway) is that it will hit the shelves in October.
In the mean time, Tim Challies has interacted with my thoughts on whether or not forgiveness is conditional or unconditional.
Here are a couple of quick comments.
In the first, place, I’d love to hear what you think. Should Christians always forgive. Read what Tim has to say and then weigh in.
I believe that the Bible teaches that Christians must follow God’s example in forgiveness. And, God graciously offers forgiveness to all, but he does not forgive all.
But, some no doubt wonder, doesn’t “conditional forgiveness” lead to bitterness? Whenever I teach that forgiveness should not be automatic, someone inevitably plays the trump card-“But that approach would lead to bitterness.” Their underlying premise is, “If I can establish that your position causes bitterness, I will have proven you wrong.”
Of course, bitterness is bad. But conditional forgiveness (not automatically forgiving) does not spawn bitterness. As I have already said, we must follow the example of God, Who does not forgive everyone, but who does offer forgiveness to all. The offer of forgiveness to everyone, regardless of the offense, is no more bitter than the father who wraps presents and puts them under the Christmas tree hoping that his child will accept the gifts. Forgiveness, and a restored relationship, is what offenders will find inside if they choose to open the package.