"If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself." - Augustine
There are so many instances in life and what we see daily that counter this idea such as. . . .
I can't say I believe in God's blessings of wealth, prosperity and then discard where he says we are to look after the poor - Matthew 19:20-24
I can't say I believe in the sanctity of marriage and then bail when we hit a rocky path (note today's approx. 50% divorce rate) - Matthew 5:31-32
I can't say I believe that children are a blessing but then say that the kids I have are enough, don't bless me anymore God! - Psalm 127: 3-5
I can't say I believe that Jesus was persecuted and died for me yet I don't think as a Christian I am subject to any level of discomfort for my faith - Mark 8:34-38
And this one being the hardest for me . . . . I can't say that I believe God has forgiven me yet I don't feel someone else is worthy of forgiveness - Luke 17:3, Matthew 6:14-15
Yes, we are to rebuke out of love hoping to achieve repentance so we can forgive but we live in a broken world. Evil exists and it's real as it manifests in the hearts of so many. I honestly am not waiting for an "I'm sorry" from my NM or EF. I've struggled with what forgiveness is supposed to look like then if I don't get repentance? Max Lucado, in his book 'Cast of Characters', had an idea. . . .
"To forgive someone is to admit our limitations. We've been given only one piece of life's jigsaw puzzle. Only God has the cover of the box. To forgive someone is to display reverence. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgivenss is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right. After all, don't we have enough things to do without trying to do God's work too?"
So do I have a choice to forgive or not?
*Thnx to Mark Driscoll's blog posting on Forgiveness at Mars Hill*