A forgiveness interview I recorded with Bill Feltner and Pilgrim Radio of Carson City Nevada will air Wed., July 11 on “His People” at 12:30am, 10:00 AM and 7:30pm CST over the Pilgrim Radio Network and at www.pilgrimradio.com.
Radio interview differ greatly based on who is asking the questions. I enjoy talking with Bill Feltner because he has a knack for asking questions that get right to the heart of the issue. With Bill’s questions, we were able to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
Why I wrote Unpacking Forgiveness
One question I am often asked in interviews is why I wrote Unpacking Forgiveness. Here is an excerpt from the book in which I explain why, as a pastor, I wrote a book on forgiveness:
I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent working through complex forgiveness questions with people in my churches. On the day I am writing this, I have listened to two different women with broken hearts. I sat across the table and hurt with them and prayed and watched small piles of mascara and tear soaked Kleenexes build.
Looking back across the years I can recall images of so many tired, wounded people. I think, for instance, of my friend, Deb (not her real name). When I first met Deb, she was grieving the loss of her only son who had died at the age of seven after a long illness. She was devastated.
In the midst of losing her son, Deb discovered that her husband was involved with pornography. His addiction eventually destroyed their marriage, and they were divorced. Soon after, Deb’s former husband was tragically killed in an accident.
Can you imagine? Her son died. Her marriage fell apart. Her former husband died. Consider the emotionally-charged, complex “forgiveness questions” that Deb faced.
• Should Deb have forgiven her husband even though he was not repentant?
• How could she know whether he really was repentant?
• If Deb was able to forgive her husband, would that mean she ought not to have divorced him?
• How about after her husband died? Would it be appropriate or easier then for Deb to forgive him?
• What about her anger and grief over losing her son? No doubt, at points Deb even struggled with anger toward God. How should she have handled her anger? Should Deb have forgiven God?
I believe the answer to the last question, “Should Deb have forgiven God?” is an emphatic “No!” That God should be forgiven implies that God may have done something wrong. Many disagree and would not hold to my negative view of the idea of forgiving God. Arguably, the most influential Christian book written on forgiveness in the last fifty years contends that it is acceptable and even healthy for people to “forgive God.”
Where forgiveness is concerned, all of us face complex questions and deep wounds. Only Christ and His Word can unpack forgiveness.
If you have not thought hard about what the Bible really teaches about forgiveness, take the forgiveness quiz!