Can you forgive someone else’s enemies?

Father Stephen Freeman on forgiveness.  A good read for Lent/present times …

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  • Frances Thompson  On 13 March, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    It seems to me that there is a good deal of confused thinking here. 1. What are we supposed to forgive: the sin or the injury? It is commonly said that only God can forgive sins. In the quoted passage Jesus forgives the man because he is God. Personally I believe the Gospel goes further than this – ie. if the victim forgives then (arguably) God has nothing further against the perpetrator. But even supposing this to be the case, a third party can’t forgive sin. (The commission given to the Apostles is usually understood as belonging to the ministerial priesthood not to every believer, and it takes us into complex theological territory. It also requires penitence on the part of the sinner). 2. Forgive the injury? But how can we forgive an injury which is done to someone else? Only those who suffer have the right to forgive. Once we start forgiving injuries done to other people – or at any rate to people with whom we are not intimately involved – we are into a world of formalism and make-believe. It is so easy to forgive an injury which we have not suffered! Where is the compassion for the victim? To forgive as a mere bystander is to trivialize sin and to run away from life’s tragic implications. That is not Christianity, it is sickly pietism. Deacon Ian. Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:49:47 +0000 To:

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