Forgiveness Cannot be Removed From the Exculpation of Wrong

If we divorce forgiveness from exculpation, then the repentance of the wrongdoer is unnecessary. But if we divorce forgiveness from exculpation, then what exactly is forgiveness? If not forgiveness, then what is concept which describes the idea that we will no longer hold against someone an evil?

Think awhile. I’ll wait.

And if we say we will no longer hold an evil against someone who actively promotes it and refuses to reject it, then how are we not excusing it and thus tacitly promoting it ourselves? And how exactly does this help the emotionally or physically traumatized deal with their pain? How does calling evil good help victims of evil to even define the problem in the first place? 

I submit that the very concept which is forgiveness demands that it be directed to someone. Which is why it’s contractual, not psychological. Forgiveness not directed to another person or persons to me is meaningless. Obviously we cannot direct it to ourselves. If we are the innocent victims, then there is nothing of which we need to be forgiven. And if we extend it to another who rejects it then what exactly can be done with it?

Forgiveness as a bromide to sooth our emotional pain doesn’t seem consistent with its definition. Of course, I may choose to not allow another’s offense(s) to affect me either emotionally or physically or both (and there are many psychological/spiritual strategies for this) but I cannot forgive an evil act or idea that is still being actively perpetuated without tacitly excusing it. This is a bastardization of forgiveness by all rational definitions of the concept, including the Biblical one, and this makes it satanic.

Another false assertion/assumption is the idea that all “negative” emotions are somehow bad…are counter-productive. Nothing could be less true. Directing pain and anger towards an unrepentant abuser, for example, is extremely effective in motivating people to avoid the abuser and to seek justice for both themselves and other victims. It is not a desire for revenge–as the lie often goes–it is a means of self-preservation and the eradication of evil. Perpetual evil-doers–psychopaths, narcissists, and other vile sundry abusers–absolutely love the idea of forgiveness absent their repentance. Because it allows them to continue to sin without fear of reprisal and shifts the focus from their wickedness to the victim’s “bitterness”.

Reject this false forgiveness and at the very least we resist evil, reject the devil, defang lies, heap judgment upon the wicked, and rescue the innocent from the gaslighting of their oppressors.

8 thoughts on “Forgiveness Cannot be Removed From the Exculpation of Wrong

  1. A little familiarity with the debates between Socinus and Covetus on the atonement will help to understand where the Calvingelicals went wrong in understanding forgiveness.

    Faustus says (see Faustus Socinus on Penal Substitution–Part Three at the above link):

    You might argue that God wanted to exercise each of his attributes, viz. mercy and justice, at the same time and to commend them both to us. On the one hand, he appears merciful in that he does not exact the punishment for our transgressions from us. On the other hand, he is shown to be just, because he nevertheless punishes our sins. [i.e. by punishing Jesus for our sins per the Calvinist theory that Covetus is defending]

    If you wish to affirm, as your teachers are accustomed to do, that God has perfectly exercised that punitive “justice” and mercy toward us in this fashion, I say that this is not only patently false but even impossible, as I demonstrated toward the beginning of this response. This is because perfect mercy demands that the one who is guilty should be forgiven completely. But perfect punitive justice demands that the very same person who transgressed should be punished with the due penalty. It is impossible and contradictory for someone to be completely forgiven and at the same time punished with the de-served penalty

    In other words, how the hell do you both forgive someone and punish them at once? Faustus also makes the analogy (this may not be on that blog) that when you forgive a debt, the guy who owed the debt is free, the debt is gone, so how do you also make someone else pay it? Payment and forgiveness are contradictory. It can only be one or the other. But Calvinism wants to assert that God forgave our debt by paying it (to himself). Or in other words, God forgave our sins by punishing someone else for them (which is not possible, because that’s not forgiveness). This is why they’re so confused on forgiveness. And since instead of us having to pray to the Father “forgives us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (biblical version) or “forgive us our transgressions as we forgive those who transgress against us” (liturgical version), we don’t have to pray for forgiveness at all because God already forgave all our sins, past, present, and future, by punishing Jesus for them, meaning, we don’t have to repent to be forgiven or pray to be forgiven, meaning when we emulate God’s forgiveness in forgiving others, we don’t need to require them to be sorry or ask for forgiveness, we should see their sins as having already been forgiven by Jesus being punished for them, and thus we have no right to ever hold anything against anyone, nor does God, because all sins were punished on Jesus and thus forgiven by punishment. This is so totally contrived and doesn’t work at all, but this is how the Calvingelicals think.

  2. The way in which forgivness is typically taught actually promotes the worm theology of Calvinism. If being human is bad then humans are not valuable. It is a way to devalue humanity and convincing masses the philosopher kings (pastors/politicians,etc) has the right to do that.

    In reality, being human is good. Image of God and so forth. When one does evil is perpetually deceptive and such they are being LESS human. Some are really animals. Yet we are constantly told they are of the same value even though they horribly devalued others. This is pure cognitive dissonance.

  3. David, that was excellent. Thank you.

    That’s a contradiction I hadn’t picked up on, but now that you mention this, I see this exact same kind of false thinking constantly in the forgiveness-absent-contrition argument.

    “We can still take action against our abusers and seek justice even though we forgive them. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”

    Umm…yeah, they are.

  4. David, Your comment reminds me why we have to go back and do the heavy lifting on the Cross/Resurrection and Who they claim Jesus is. If Jesus is God in the flesh then it was not really “another taking the punishment”.

    But are we really understanding the whole concept of “conquering death” by making it only about their definition of sin?

    And then we must define sin. When your very existence is sin, you deserve punishment.

  5. We can still take action against our abusers and seek justice even though we forgive them. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”

    Umm…yeah, they are.”

    If forgiveness means we don’t seek the same revenge, it works. You abuse my child. I abuse yours. You murder my mom, I murder yours.

    This is exactly how I see the ancient barbarian cultures worked. But we don’t understand it from that backdrop.

  6. “I can punish (hold accountable), and yet not punish (demand no repentance as a prerequisite to granting moral value or a re-commencement of a relationship).”

    That’s exactly the root contradiction I was looking for. Thanks you guys!

  7. Lydia, I think the need to come up with some ‘scientific’ or ‘logical’ explanation for atonement (other than just the idea that sacrifice is a magical act that somehow completely unexplainably makes forgiveness possibly on the condition of repentance) is born from a need to force predestination and/or absolutist style faith alone plus once saved always saved to work when its obvious they never can. Socinus’ atonement theory is simple: he goes by the book of Hebrew. Jesus died on the cross, then became high priest after the order of Melchisedek, and ascended to heaven which is the true holy of holies, and there sprinkled his blood in the heavenly holy of holies to complete the sacrifice. There is no notion of punishment or vicariousness. Its purely a sacrifice, a magical act. There is no logic to it, no science to it, it works purely by divine fiat. And as such, there is no way that by analyzing it you could ever create a doctrine as to how it works, like “Jesus paid it all, I can rape you right now and still be saved.” Impossible, because the inner logic of the atonement is non-existent. But to the Calvinist, there is a logic to it, i.e. that its a punishment or execution swap, Jesus took my whoopin’ so God can’t ever whoop me no mo’ no matter how bad I am. Certainly no such logic exists in Hebrews, nor can any such logic be found in the Old Testament animal sacrifices. Its pure ‘magic’ i.e. fiat, no logic. Where anyone goes wrong is trying to put logic to it, and then comes false doctrine.

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