Saturday, June 01, 2013
The Sin of Forgiveness, Edward F. Mrkvicka, Jr.
A search on Amazon books under the subject “forgiveness” produces a list of 8,374 works. Obviously, forgiveness is a big issue. What that search won’t tell you, though, is that there is a great deal of disagreement among those authors as to many aspects of forgiveness. In particular, there is serious disagreement about whether forgiveness should be conditional (that is, forgiveness granted on the basis of repentance by the offender) or unconditional (forgiveness granted regardless of whether the offender repents). Mr. Mrkvicka’s book takes the former position. The latter position is what gives him the title of his book—that forgiveness granted apart from repentance is sin, damaging both the offender and the one offended.
Mr. Mrkvicka’s main point is clear: forgiveness must be given only on the basis of demonstrated repentance on the part of the offender. To do otherwise results in the abuse of the one offended, and the escape from responsibility for the offender. However, very little else in Mr. Mrkvicka’s book is clear. The “Table of Contents” looks clear, but the content of the book is muddled. The argument of the book remains undeveloped. By the time the reader has finished the book he may or may not have been convinced that Mr. Mrkvicka’s view is right. But the reader is left with many unanswered questions, as Mr. Mrkvicka gives no guidance regarding how this works out in real life. The book itself is simply an extended insistence that forgiveness depends on repentance.
Forgiveness is an important issue in the life of the Christian. Understanding how and when we are to forgive, and what that looks like demands a thoughtful, careful treatment. Unfortunately, Mr. Mrkvicka has not given us that book.