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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 006: Can someone who harbors deep unforgiveness from childhood be saved?

By Michael Pearl

Episode Transcription:

Michael Pearl:  Here we are, going to answer some Bible questions today. We've got Jared behind the camera and Mike Pearl sitting right here behind the fuzzy face. So let's hear the first question.

Darlene:  Hello. My name is Darlene, and I'm calling from Missouri. My question is about un‑forgiveness. If a person is still harboring deep un‑forgiveness towards people who wronged them when they were young, can they really consider themselves saved? And how would you minister to someone who has practiced un‑forgiveness and mistrust for over 30 years. Thank you.

Michael:  OK. That is a very, very broad question, not one I can answer thoroughly right now. I have a tape that I have already made, "When Forgiveness is Sin." And that shocked a lot of people. A message given a couple of years ago. You need to get that "When Forgiveness is Sin." I am not of the persuasion of some that we are obligated to forgive everyone that's wronged us. Jesus said that we forgive 490 times, but here's the context. The disciples said, "How often should we forgive our brother if he sins against us?" And Jesus said, "If your brother sins against you, and come and confesses his sin, forgive him 490 ‑‑ seven times 70 ‑‑ 490 times in a day."

So Jesus made that conditional. That you forgive if he comes to you and confesses that he sinned. In other words, if he's repentant of the sin. There is no indication that we forgive people that have not turned from their sin.

Now, lady, if you had a father or brother or an uncle who molested you when you were five years old, six, seven, eight, nine years old, sexually molested you, and they never came to you and said, "I'm sorry. I was a terrible, cruel, wicked, and evil man. I should have been castrated and killed. I realize how I've hurt you and how I've harmed you and I know I have no right to ask you to forgive me, but I just want you to know that I am deeply sorry that I hurt you."

In that case, you could forgive. But if you have a molester who has buried his sin, has gone quiet with it, a blackout, but not repented of it, lady, you don't even have a right to forgive him. It's not a question of should you, You don't have a right to. You couldn't forgive him if you wanted to.

A person cannot be forgiven until they repent. And if he has sin that he has held on to, if he's still a child molester or a porno freak, and he still lies awake at night and remembers his experiences and lusts after the old days again, how could you forgive him?

Now there's a question of bitterness. Maybe that's what you're dealing with. If you hold bitterness in your heart, or this person you're speaking of holds bitterness in their heart, then the bitterness is like acid that you hold in your hands hoping to throw it on your offender, but in the meantime it eats you up.

And so if you have bitterness in your heart, then that's harmful to you. Just like anger, there's a legitimate time to be angry. But the Bible says, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Get rid of it before the sun goes down. Don't sleep with the wrath.

So if you have an ongoing gnawing, something eating at you, then that's between you and God. You need to commit that to God and you need to come to God and ask for his peace, his mercy, his forgiveness, and lay it aside. Don't let it eat you up personally. But it may give you peace.

And I've gotten letters from many people that said that listening to that tape, "When Forgiveness is Sin," gave them peace. That they were in this struggle between the offense that was caused them and this arbitrary command to forgive regardless. And they couldn't bring those together. And once they laid down the struggle to forgive and said, "OK, I don't have to forgive. I can know that this person has offended me, is non‑repentant and deserves hell."

And once they did that, then the bitterness went away. Then the inner struggle went away. And in a sense there was a release even to the offender because they could give him back his guilt. They could lay the guilt on him and not have to carry the burden of that offense. So get that tape, CD, "When Forgiveness is Sin."

Announcer:  If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.

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