Question: We often hear in sermons that God is patient and does not punish many of sinners. And Christians are ordered to forgive those who have sinned against them. But wouldn’t such forgiveness be a temptation for others? If a person who has committed a grievous sin (God forbid us from this), escaped punishment in any manner, would this not be a signal for those like him that this is allowed to do? Do I need to forgive such a person?
Sorry, but quite often you can see the following picture: a murderer or a thief who has gotten away with his crimes due to money and connections, stands in a church with a decent outlook, and prays. Is this the fruits of our Christian forgiveness, or is this our banal cowardice and unwillingness to do anything with the powerful and seek the truth?
I will try to formulate my thought once again. If God’s judgment keeps silence, the earthly one cannot satisfy everyone – the villain must be punished. Should we, Orthodox Christians and citizens of our country, somehow seek just a retribution? Sorry, I by no means call for anything illegal, but here’s the deal: I know one person who has done a lot of bad things, including something against me. But this person repented. Repentance cannot be faked or imitated. This man bears his cross honestly, perhaps he will carry it until his death. And all of the above applies precisely to unrepentant villains.
Forgive me, please, if my question seemed naive or silly to you, but, as they say, it is the burden in my heart.
Answer: Christian forgiveness is not about not calling sin a sin. This is about not saving up resentment, hatred, anger towards the person who committed the evil, above all – against you and your loved ones.
So, the fact that you personally will not keep evil towards the person (not only at the level of words, but at the level of the heart, that is very difficult!) does not mean that you will no longer consider theft or other crimes to be unacceptable.
Let me remind you the words of Apostle Paul from the Epistle to the Romans: “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:14). Please look through the interpretations of this fragment. And do not think that you know better than the Lord. Please! If God suffers long, therefore, there are reasons for it. And if you know the story and inner determination of one particular criminal, it does not mean that you know what other people have in mind. God forbid you from such pride and audacity as assuming that you are smarter than God! If a person does not tell you about his repentance, well he does not have to. Who are you for him to share with you or listen to you? The same person as he is.
As for earthly justice, you, as a citizen, have every right to go to court and defend your rights within the framework of the law. If you are not satisfied with the quality of the judicial process, then basically you have the opportunity to get a legal education and do justice, with full legal knowledge, having the appropriate competence and license. This is a legitimate way, brave, and good. Or help to study young people who may be promising and good lawyers. This, again, is your right and this is within the law.
If you have no leverage on lawlessness, it is necessary that you acquire it, as justice is so heaven burden in your heart. All the rest, alas, will be idle thinking and idle talk. And I can only encourage you to focus on your own spiritual life, on those real things that you can do as a family man, a citizen of your country and a professional, and make sure that you don’t be a source of sin yourself.
God bless you!
Originally posted by Foma Magazine
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds