Loving humility – marvelously strong

By Dave Henning / March 22, 2023

“At the sight of men’s sins . . . always decide to use humble love.  If you resolve to do that, once and for all, you can subdue the whole world.  Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things and there is nothing else like it.”- Fyodor Dostoevsky

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying, ‘ I repent,’ you must forgive them.”- Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

In Chapter 7 (“The Basics of Forgiveness”) of Forgive, Timothy Keller notes the rich and multidimensional Christian understanding of forgiveness.  However, Pastor Keller advises, to practice Christian forgiveness we must start with a look at its basic components.

Pastor Keller notes that Jesus gives two directions regarding forgiveness.  At first sight those directives appear to contradict each other.  But taken together, they’re crucial for understanding how forgiveness actually works.

First, in Mark 11:25 Jesus says if you’re praying and recall that you’re holding something against someone, you must forgive them on the spot.  Most significantly, the phrase ‘forgive them’ (aphiete) is the present of the imperative.  The strongest possible emphasis.

However, Pastor Keller observes, the call to forgive on the spot seems to contradict Jesus’ statement in Luke 17:3-4.  Here Jesus lays two equal responsibilities on us.  To confront (rebuke) and forgive.  A balance the Holy Spirit must help us sustain.  Because the human temperament seems prone to stress one or the other.

In conclusion, Pastor Keller stresses, the ultimate purpose of forgiveness is the restoration of community.  Thus, the author cites James R. Edwards (The Gospel of Luke), who explains:

“[Forgivenesses’s]  purpose here is not to humiliate, defeat, or drive out sinners, but to correct and restore them.  It is often easier to turn a blind eye to sin in the community.  The admonition of fellow believers requires the church to function as a body in the costly work of reconciliation.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you respond with loving humility?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Attitudinal forgiveness – reconciled”

About the author

Dave Henning

Leave a comment:

Call Now Button