Forgiveness

Is conditional forgiveness really forgiving?

In October 2012, I published a post about forgiveness. I had almost forgotten about it until I saw this article from BBC News .

A 68 Year old grandmother, Angela Burks, was stabbed 13 times, by Lee Greenhall who was later found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Angela says she is prepared to forgive her attacker if he will “Turn to god”.

Whilst I have every sympathy with the pensioner and condemn unreservedly her attacker Greenhall, I must wonder if forgiving someone with a condition attached is proper forgiveness.

If Greenhall does “Turn to God” and seek his forgivness, then if he is trully repentant he will receive God’s forgiveness. We are forgiven by the grace of God, without conditions attached.

But what about forgiveness by Angela for Greenhall? She has added a condition to her forgiveniss. I assume by wanting the perpetrator of the attack on her to turn to God, she is a Christian, who believes in God. She should know that God does not impose conditions, yet she is.

Matthew 5: 23-24 tells us that the wrongdoer should first seek the forgiveness of the person he or she has wronged. When that person makes forgiveness conditional, are they committing a wrong too? Forgiveness must be unconditional, as by God’s grace his forgiveness is. If Angela Burks cannot forgive unconditionally, is she too in need of being forgiveness.

 

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