Digging Deeper

Unearthing the surpassing riches of Christ

John Calvin: Two Ways to Forgive

I reply, there are two ways in which offenses are forgiven. If a man shall do me an injury, and I, laying aside the desire of revenge, do not cease to love him, but even repay kindness in place of injury, though I entertain an unfavorable opinion of him, as he deserves, still I am said to forgive him. For when God commands us to wish well to our enemies, He does not therefore demand that we approve in them what He condemns, but only desires that our minds shall be purified from all hatred. In this kind of pardon, so far are we from having any right to wait till he who has offended shall return of his own accord to be reconciled to us, that we ought to love those who deliberately provoke us, who spurn reconciliation, and add to the load of former offenses. A second kind of forgiving is, when we receive a brother into favor, so as to think favorably respecting him, and to be convinced that the remembrance of his offense is blotted out in the sight of God. And this is what I have formerly remarked, that in this passage [Matthew 18:21] Christ does not speak only of injuries which have been done to us, but of every kind of offenses; for he desires that, by our compassion, we shall raise up those who have fallen. This doctrine is very necessary, because naturally almost all of us are peevish beyond measure; and Satan, under the pretense of severity, drives us to cruel rigor, so that wretched men, to whom pardon is refused, are swallowed up by grief and despair.

COMMENTARY ON A HARMONY OF THE EVANGELISTS, MATTHEW, MARK, AND LUKE (Volume 2) – BY JOHN CALVIN, available online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom32.ii.lxiv.html

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August 16, 2012 - Posted by | Conflict, Forgiving Others, John Calvin, Living the Faith, Relationships

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