Provocation #15

Jesus says, “Forgive, and you will also be forgiven”. That is to say, forgiveness is forgiveness. Your forgiveness of another is your own forgiveness; the forgiveness you give is the forgiveness you receive. If you wholeheartedly forgive your enemy, you may dare hope for your own forgiveness, for it is one and the same. God forgives you neither more nor less than as you forgive your trespassers.

It is an illusion to imagine that you have forgiveness while you are slack in forgiving others. No, there is not a more exact agreement between the sky above and its reflection in the sea below, than there is between forgiveness and forgiving. Is it not pure conceit to believe in your own forgiveness when you will not forgive others? For how in truth can you believe in forgiveness if your own life is a refutation of the existence of forgiveness?! Yes, to accuse another person before God is to accuse yourself, like-for-like.

People so gladly deceive themselves, so gladly imagine that they can have, as it were, a private relationship with God. But if you complain of your enemies to God, he makes short work of it and opens a case against you, because before God you too are a guilty person. To complain against another is to complain against yourself. You think that God should take your side, that God and you together should turn against your enemy, against him who did you wrong. But this is a complete misunderstanding. God looks without discrimination upon all. Go ahead. If you intend to have God judge someone else, then you have made God your judge as well. God is, like-for-like, simultaneously your judge. If, however, you refuse to accuse someone before God he will be merciful towards you.

Provocations are taken from Provocations: The Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

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One thought on “Provocation #15”

  1. On this one, he misses something very important that we see when we look at more than one statement in Scripture about forgiveness. It is not a straight up ‘if-then’ situation. In fact, we are to forgive as (in the same way) we have been forgiven. Jesus illustrated this in his story about the evil servant who was forgven so much by his master, and then refused to forgive the small debt owed him by a fellow-servant. It is abohorant to God when, having been forgiven so much by a Holy God, at such a high cost (the death of His Son) we refuse to forgive another.
    If we persist in unforgiveness, we have real reason to question whether or not we have experienced saving faith and the forgiveness of our sins, for who, having experienced God’s grace and having been forgiven so much, could refuse to forgive another fellow sinner?
    “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ sake, has forgiven you.”

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