Written by Natalie, Editress of Visionary Womanhood
“There’s an old joke that goes like this—a man jumps off a 100 story building. At the same moment, there’s a man in his apartment on the 50th floor who opens his window for some fresh air. As the man who jumped passes the man with his head out the window, the man in the apartment says, “Hey, how’s it goin’?” The man hurdling through space says, “So far, so good!”
Wrongly offered and/or accepted forgiveness is much the same. When it’s happening it’s great—we get to sin and we’re forgiven! Halleluiah! But, the man who jumped is suddenly going to have to pay the consequences of his actions when his body hits the pavement at 100 mph, just as those who never repent of their sins will on Judgment Day. Without doubt, receiving forgiveness when none should be given is not a blessing, but a curse.” The Sin of Forgiveness pg. 84
Once in a while I participate in a book review “blog tour” and review a new book. When I saw title of this book, I jumped on the tour, hoping to gain some insight into this sometimes confusing subject.
- It intrigued me because of my own personal experience with having to forgive—over and over—people in my life who refuse to repent.
- It intrigued me because I’ve watched so many “Christians” live the life styles of unbelievers—infidelity, swearing, drinking, drug addiction, fornication and so on—and yet everyone is expected to go along with it or be labeled a “judgmental goody goody two shoes.”
100 years ago if a “Christian” girl got pregnant there was a proper shame involved. This shame served as a deterrent in society to the sin that can sometimes result in a pregnancy. Of course, there was redemption for those who repented—which helped the process along. At least that ought to have been the case, as Scripture instructs.
It’s quite different today. Now that same “Christian” girl can live with her boyfriend, have a baby, and get the church to throw a baby shower for her where she breezily shows off her belly to the elderly ladies who have brought food and gifts to encourage her in her sin. On the surface it looks loving.
The fact is—she’s heading for the pavement.
I believe this is the main point of The Sin of Forgiveness by Edward F. Mrkvicka, Jr.
What I Liked
1. Mrkvicka holds up Scripture as our plumb line, and his book is heavy with it. He encourages the reader to seek to understand this issue by studying what the Bible says about it. To that end—he even provides 14 pages worth of Scriptures that speak to the subject.
“If you find that my writings on the subject are not in keeping with God’s Word, reject what I’ve written. Conversely, when listening to others, ensure they can substantiate their views through Scripture.
So many Christians say things like,, ‘I believe…blah, blah, blah.’ I want to talk with Christians, especially pastors, who say, ‘The Bible says…” Beliefs are one thing, and we’re entitled to believe what we wish. But that has no bearing on the truth of God’s Word.”
2. It’s an interesting subject. Here are some quotes that reflect the main point:
“In effect, God says we will be forgiven when we accept His Son as our Lord and Savior, and repent as we are instructed. Then and only then will we be forgiven. Yet society says we are to forgive no matter what. Raped as a little girl? Forgive your rapist—even if he is still raping little girls. While society’s view may seem more spiritually understanding, it comes with consequences that are unacceptable. We aren’t God. We aren’t even God-like. We are all sinners.”
“Let’s review matters. The husband had cheated on his wife throughout their marriage. The wife had always forgiven him. The husband had changed careers and locations whenever he wanted. The wife always went along without rancor. The wife even allowed her young son and daughter to be in their father’s wedding with the woman he committed adultery with. She was told by many that it was the right thing to do.
What are the bottom-line consequences of the husband’s sin’s and the wife’s unconditional forgiveness? The list is not pretty…
Can I assure you that if the wife had said “no” along the way that everything would have turned out as God intended? No, I can’t. But I can say with certainty that their chances would have improved dramatically. Perhaps the husband’s little house of cards would have collapsed more dramatically thereby encouraging him to take a different path. But as he was forgiven and loved no matter what he did, he saw no reason to change. He saw his family’s love as nothing more than a safety net whenever his latest sinful relationship buckled.”
1. The structure is somewhat loose. To me, it feels a bit more like a brain dump than an organized, scholarly look at the subject. There are many analogies, which are interesting and helpful, but they don’t necessarily apply if the reader is not convinced of the premise in the first place. I think more space could have been devoted to the argument itself, and if it had been laid out with the counter arguments in a more structured fashion, it would have been even more clear.
2. Related to that is the feeling that it was more emotional than objective. There was an overall flavor of “everyone else pretty much has this wrong.” And, in some ways, I think it could be a matter of semantics. While I’m all about passion—especially when it comes to important issues—I was hoping for a more convincing, objective analysis with less of an emotional flair.
The Bottom Line
This book got me thinking about this subject from a different angle. Of course, the author is not saying that to forgive is a sin. But he is pointing out the fact that forgiveness was purchased for us at the cost of the Son of God, and therefore, it is not to be thought of lightly.
While some Wemmicks will repent and find forgiveness, others will refuse to repent—and forgo the beautiful, costly treasure of forgiveness.
Which kind of Wemmick are you?
(By the way, if you want to read a helpful article on this subject, check out Tim Challies’s Is Forgiveness Conditional or Unconditional? The comments following the post are also very interesting and will get you thinking.)