You’re a crime victim. A gang of street thugs attacked and robbed you in a dark, lonely parking lot and physically injured you. They also stole everything you had on you. In the process you endured serious wounds that required many hours in an emergency treatment facility. You will need future operations and several months to years of therapy and recovery. You could have been killed or injured for life.
Your doctors eventually let you go home. Sometime after that you’re ready to have visitors. You have lots of friends and family who sincerely care about you but you’re about to have your doubts about one of them.
The pastor of your church stops by. While ministering to you he informs you that you must forgive your attacker! That’s right he said you need to forgive your attacker, a person who has ended your sense of security and trust forever! Not only that, he says if you don’t do it you’re eternal salvation may be in jeopardy!
Does the Christian god hold the victims of crime in such low regard? Is he that insensitive, uncaring and cold hearted? No he isn’t; it’s just that some who follow Him are misguided.
Think about it: There are tens of thousands of crime victims every year right here in the USA. Many of them will never be the same for years if not forever. If the thought of forgiveness ever enters their minds it will only happen AFTER their attacker’s criminal trial, restitution and prison time. An expression of apologetic guilt wouldn’t hurt either! So according to your brother in Christ’s line of thinking, Christ will hold judgment against all those victims who have failed to forgive their perpetrators. That, sadly is what some who call themselves “Christian” believe.
My friend, no express statement by Jesus the Christ can be found (because it doesn’t exist) that makes this requirement of you. In fact there is plenty of evidence, based upon the original Hebrew scriptures to the contrary. You’re in the next best place to learn what Christ himself really taught about forgiveness between we mortals, and the examples he and his disciples set for us; that’s because this blog is dedicated to exploring the best place- the original Holy Scriptures, not just this bible or that, but the Hebrew scriptures as they were recorded.
So let’s take a closer look to the long ago forgotten Hebrew roots of the Christian faith concerning forgiveness between men and women (often referred to as vertical forgiveness), as opposed to forgiveness between Christ and men and women (horizontal forgiveness).