What is it with some Christians and forgiveness? Is forgiveness doled out by them as they deem appropriate? Do the faults or sins of others make them feel superior or a “better” Christian?
Let’s imagine for a moment you were a longtime acquaintance or relative of Saul and by no influence of his you became a Christian in the early church. So you’ve known Saul a long time and now he’s Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ.
How do you handle that? You know his list of sins which include persecuting the church and an accessory to murder. How do you associate with him and even worship with him?
We know what Paul thought of himself
1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
So here Paul is admitting in his mind he’s the worst sinner yet he knows the grace which has been bestowed on him.
1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
So if I have a problem with Paul concerning his past sins or actions at this point I submit to you this is MY problem.
The Bible tells us:
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Eph 3:23 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”
We have to allow people to grow and be better. If you have known anyone for any period of time you know they can sin but if they are trying to live the Christian life and their fruit is obvious our forgiveness is required. This not only assists in their growth but ours also. If we judge each other for past sins and actions we only are condemning ourselves.
If someone is in current sin there are steps in the Bible for that but the past is in the past.
Phil 3:13 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,”