Unpacking Forgiveness

Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds

Unpacking Forgiveness cover

Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds is published by Crossway (Amazon, Barnes and Noble). Read endorsements here.

Many forgiveness books that target a general audience are too simplistic. They encourage forgiveness so broadly that they diminish the justice of God and the integrity of grace. This is what Dennis Prager pointed out in a Wall Street Journal article. Prager wrote:

Though I am a Jew, I believe that a vibrant Christianity is essential if America’s moral decline is to be reversed. And despite theological differences, Christianity and Judaism have served as the bedrock of American civilization. And I am appalled and frightened by this feel-good doctrine of automatic forgiveness.

Unpacking Forgiveness presents the beauty of God’s grace and the necessity of forgiveness. But, it also teaches that it must take place in a way that is consistent with justice. We must move beyond a “feel-good doctrine of automatic forgiveness.”

This book consider many practical questions such as:

  • What if I can’t or won’t forgive?
  • How can I stop thinking about an offense?
  • What if Christians cannot agree?

The Forgiveness Quiz is a great way to consider central questions to the topic.

Other links on forgiveness:

Another point of encouragement for Christians who cannot agree

Unpacking the Casey Anthony Case

Should I confront an offender or just get over it

How can I stop thinking about it?

Didn’t Jesus Forgive Unconditionally on the Cross

9 Forgiveness Links

 

You can see related posts here.

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44 responses to Unpacking Forgiveness

  1. Shared from Forgiveness Made Easy by Spurgeon

    He forgave us for Christ’s sake, not for aught that we had done. True, we did repent, and did believe, but repentance and faith he gave us, so that he did not forgive us for the sake of them, but purely of his own dear love, because he delighteth in mercy, and is never more like himself than when he passeth by transgression, iniquity, and sin…

  2. Chuck — thanks for the Spurgeon quote.

  3. Regarding forgiveness between the Saints, there is a WHAT and a HOW – two separated elements that must not be confused. The WHAT is that we must be ready and willing to forgive our sinning brother. But How is contained in Luke 17:3 – the two IF – THEN statements. If you understand computer programming, you will instantly recognize the IF – THEN logic of Jesus’ command regarding the process of forgiveness.

  4. Well said Roger. I wrote a lot of code in a previous life so that parallel makes sense. This flow chart regarding forgiveness may be of interest.

  5. Roger, I am having problems replying so I’ll try this again. You’re computer programming illustration is a good one. This flow chart may be of interest.

  6. DEAR PASTOR CHRIS,,,,,,,,IF YOU REMEMBER ME,,,,,,,I AM ONE OF THE LADIES THAT WROTE ON YOUR BRICK WALL FOR 3 OR MAYBE 4 OR SO YEARS,,,,,ABOUT MY WAYWARD DAUGHTER,,THAT WAS RAISED IN A CHRISTIAN HOME AND WAS ALWAYS THE MOST WONDERFUL CHILD,, UNTIL SHE TURN18,,,WELL THAT IS ALL BEHIND US,,,,PRAISING THE FATHER FOR HIS FAITHFULNESS,,,,,,,,SHE CAME BACK TO US WITH HER HUSBAND AND OUR BEAUTIFUL GRANDDAUGHTER,,IN JULY 2012 AND EVERYTHING HAS BEEN GOOD ,,WE ARE SO BLESSEDTO HAVE OUR FAMILY BACK,,,,,AND THIS JULY WE BE BLESSED WITH A GRANDSON,,,,,GOD IS AMAZING,,,,AND WE GIVE HIM THE GLORY FOR EVERYTHING,,,,,,IT IS REALLY HARD SOME TIMES ,, BUT HIS WORD IS TRUE,,GIVE IT TO HIM AND WAIT ,,,,,,,THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH PASTOR FOR THAT WEBSITE A FEW YEARS AGO THAT I NEEDED SO BADLY ,,,GOD KNOWS ALL ARE NEEDS,,,,,LOVE AND PRAYER TO YOU PASTOR CHRIS AND YOUR FAMILY,,,LOVE YOUR SISTER IN CHRIST,,,,,

  7. Carol, of course, I remember you! I am so, so thankful to hear your answered prayer. I’ll bet you are so enjoying your grandson. How wonderful. I am so thankful and rejoicing with you.

  8. Hi Chris,

    I am thinking of getting your book. I was curious though if you have considered the important textual variant in Luke 23:34a? I have written a paper on this issue at Harvard Divinity and distilled it here if you are interested:

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2012/04/05/from-the-lips-of-jesus-or-a-scribal-hand-father-forgive-them-for-they-do-not-know-what-they-are-doing/

    I do not think that unconditional forgiveness is a valid biblical transaction theory. I also bring out some implications to this as well such as universalism.

    I would like to get your feedback on that article.

    Thanks,

    Alan

  9. Thanks Alan. Your paper is highly interesting. I think I have seen it before, but not while writing Unpacking given that it came out in 2008. I agree with you on the “universalism” aspect.

    With Holy Week coming up, I am swamped right now for evaluating your article. But I scanned it and think it looks like very worthwhile reading. Thanks for touching base.

  10. So, how does 2 Timothy 4:14-15, where Paul instructs Timothy, “beware of him yourself,” regarding Alexander the coppersmith, work together with Principle #2: Proactively Show Love? It seems that Paul warns Timothy to keep his distance from Alexander.

  11. It’s a great question Cyle – – I think it’s the being as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves principle. Sadly, we run into it occasionally in local churches with those suspected or accused of child abuse. We show them love – – proactively – – we’ve done it at our church. Yet, we also have to be on our guard.

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