Have you noticed? Our evangelical culture is all about forgiveness, until it comes to those who for whatever reason don’t agree with us about forgiveness. The only unforgivable offense, it seems, is unforgiveness. No one seems to notice the glaring inconsistency in our unthinking process. It is very similar to the discussion on tolerance. We are highly intolerant of intolerance. This whole thing drives me crazy.
If everything and everyone is automatically forgiven, then my inability to get it or to grant unconditional forgiveness to those who have wronged me should be automatically and unconditionally forgiven by those who see my actions or attitudes as wrong. But, this is not how it goes. Instead of giving me a pass, like they expect me to give everyone else, they don’t. How so? How can you hold me accountable in a world where accountability is the exact thing you prohibit me from practicing with others?
The whole thing is crazy-making and illogical. But, we say this is exactly what the Bible teaches and what we are to practice. No one asks if this makes sense in light of Who God has revealed Himself to be. Does God universally and unilaterally forgive everyone (universalism)? Or, does He do the unthinkable, and actually refuse to forgive people who don’t repent? If we take our logic that we apply to one another and apply it God, we end up finding Him guilty of incredible intolerance and unforgiveness (He’s even angry with the wicked all day long, Ps. 7:11).
And yet, no one questions the logic of the whole thing. We just “know” that the right answer to every problem is unconditional forgiveness. “Don’t confuse the issue with the Scripture or with reason. And by the way, if you don’t forgive everyone, we don’t forgive you.”