Forgiving is for wimps
Forgiving sinners is for wimps. Well, not exactly; some of the strong forgive sinners after they’ve punished them severely. It isn’t that they’re vindictive, you understand, it’s just that their sense of justice is profoundly developed and they can’t allow sin to go unpunished. Because this is true, it applies to every sin that’s committed against them. I mean, if they’re going to be righteous they have to be consistently righteous and no transgression can go unpunished and that means that anyone who sins against them can expect nothing less from them than severe retribution. As I’ve said, after they punish the sinner to the limit of the law (which is the only way to show that you take sin seriously) then they’ll forgive the sinner. Forgiving under these circumstances doesn’t make these people wimps; their willingness to extort the maximum amount of agony from the transgressor proves they’re not wimps.
But let’s be clear about this. Such strong people aren’t self-centred because not only will they punish those that sin against them, they’ll punish those that sin against anybody! Just let them get wind of some sin committed and they’ll search it out and run it to ground as if it were a rabid animal. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened—there’s no statute of limitations on sin and it doesn’t matter if, back when it happened, it was dealt with satisfactorily by those immediately involved because these strong people need to be sure that it was dealt with to their satisfaction. [We hear of so many sinners “getting away” with stuff, don’t we?]
To their credit, in such matters these strong people are willing to take the risks that go with bringing justice about. Their enquiries might generate real hurt for the innocent whose healthy but real dependence on the sinner is undermined and their life might be made more difficult because of it but that’s the risk these strong ones are willing to take. The strong need to protect these dependent people by showing them that they’re not to depend on mere humans. The strong owe that to these dependent people who depend on the strong to do that for them.
These non-wimps aren’t just busy-bodies or self-appointed “truth squads”; they always have good reasons to get involved, don’t you know. They simply can’t have sinners free to roam around without being confronted and exposed if they judge it’s necessary.
But the strong people make sure that they don’t overreact. I mean they wouldn’t take out an ad in the local newspapers or send bulletins all over the place openly talking about the sin. They're mostly careful to see to it that they tell only their husbands and wives and friends; oh, yes, and of course, any others who are in a place of responsibility and who might need to know because they might want to close a door or two against the transgressor. [You can’t have sinners welcomed to your gathering or home—that can injure your reputation and maybe even your ministry if you have one.]
I need to repeat that these strong people aren’t “busybody” types. The proof of that is they don’t act like tireless private detectives and lawyers, as if they were building an ironclad case against the sinner—making sure they have every little detail. Not at all, they’re perfectly satisfied with the fact that “it” happened. It doesn’t really matter what the “it” was precisely or the level of engagement of the sinner in “it” or if others were involved and if so how, or what the circumstances were that were the matrix of the trespass. Such issues don’t matter because something was done and there’s no need to drag out all the details; it’s best just to leave “it” to the imagination. Some of the strong, in their wisdom, think it might even be wise to think the worst because that way when you do end up forgiving it’ll be the worst case scenario that you’ve dealt with. I mean, how would you feel if you fully punished and then forgave what you thought was X and later had reason to believe it was X+?
[To be continued, perhaps, God enabling]