Wilson and Hoffman state, “When we have offended another, we should not solicit their forgiveness. What others do or refuse to do in light of our confession isn’t the point. Our part on the road to reconciliation is simply to confess and repent.”
Take a position on this statement
Do you agree or disagree with the authors? Why or Why not?
Is this what most church members believe?
Is this the practice of most church members?
Would you teach/disciple members of your church or small group using the authors’ concept?
Support your reasoning well using Scripture and other related materials.
You may also include personal experience.
Cite any sources used with parenthetical references.
This is a hard question to answer. I was raised to say, “Please forgive me…” and continue from there with my apology. That said my opinion about this topic has changed much even before I read the author’s opinion. I have long felt that I had no control over someone’s reaction but had always hoped for forgivenesses when I would confess a wrong doing. I found that if I hung moving on to whether I got someone’s forgiveness I would have trouble moving on from the problem. I have wronged people in the past and in a way I have felt that getting forgiven by God could somehow hang in receiving temporal forgiveness. This clearly isn’t true but that was how I felt. Moving beyond this simplistic view has caused me to grow in my faith.
Of course, turning this about I have to forgive without getting confession. The best examples of this are my current situation. My previous pastor worked behind my back and in collusion with my estranged wife to prevent me from getting at least two pastoral jobs. He has admitted this not as a form of confession but rather from the revelation made in my wife’s dear John email. He will never confess that he did wrong so I must forgive without confession and move on otherwise I am still stuck in the situation.
I feel that we as Christians must forgive because as Jesus said,”forgive 70 x 7 times” showing that we need to forgive as much as is needed. What differentiates this is that although Jesus calls us to forgive, he doesn’t tell us we must trust again. In my pastor is someone I have forgiven of his actions to move on about I could and would never trust him again in any situation, especially in a place of pastoral authority. He tried to use the problem resolution section of Matthew to maintain his control over the situation but I could not submit to this since he was nit able to see and admit that his actions with my wife were wrong.
As for other members of the church, I know that most have been raised like I was; always ask for forgiveness. But clearly this is foolish. If we ask for forgiveness we are placing the person we wronged under our control. That control is not good. They need to work that out between them and God. I believe that moving beyond simplistic forgiveness is essential for healthy relationships. If you ask for forgiveness you are trying to force emotions and decisions upon someone that is not ready for it. Forgiveness must come from an internal position for it to be true. The best example of this is Jesus on the cross. Even in his pain and accepting of all the sin of the world he found it within himself to forgive the thief who had not wronged Him.
I would use the author’s teaching in a small group. I would make my group realize that forgiveness is always separate from confession. If it were not then none of us could be forgiven if our sins. Christ forgives us of all the sins we have and will commit when we accept Him as savior. If he didn’t do that we would be trying to achieve this through our own power. Without Christ’s forgiveness we are lost and have no hope. He forgives all whether we have done Him personally wrong or not. The forgiveness of future sin is important too; though we strive to not sin again, we will and Christ assures us our place because he has overcome. This doesn’t free us from the temporal consequences of wrongs we commit such as being forgiven for a crime by the victim but still having to go to jail.
Also published on Medium.