Are Christians the Least Forgiving People on the Planet?

“I could be a really good Christian if it just weren’t for other people.” ~ unknown

As research for an upcoming book project, I recently posed this open question to anyone who wished to respond:

Do you believe Christians are more forgiving of sinners outside the church than they are to their own “brothers & sisters” inside the church? Example: If a man or woman had an affair as a member of the church body, would members be less forgiving of them than they would to someone who was not a church member? Are Christians nothing more than cannibals who devour their own?

Sweden Zombie Walk

The question was prompted by a recent story in Christianity Today, titled “Going to Hell with Ted Haggard.

The response was overwhelming. Read of few of these unedited reader comments, and feel free to add to the interesting (and very civilized, I might add) discussion…

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Maybe not cannibals… but they do have a way of shunning for a real long time. Even then, the whispers continue.

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Now this is just my opinion … I think yes, if you truly ask for forgiveness of your sins, I think it would then be a sin of the fellow church members to not forgive you … nobody lives a perfect life … isn’t it also a sin to judge others ?

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cannibalThe measure of grace that we show is usually directly correlated to how close to home the sin occurs.

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As a general observance, I don’t see the majority of Christians being very forgiving at all, to either party. However, personally, I tend to be grace-filled/forgiving more to believers who are truly repentant and not as much to unrepentant believers … as for unbelievers. It just depends on the situation and how close it hits home for me (see comment above). I say all of this realizing that my feelings on forgiveness are subjective and not at all what they should be, obviously.

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I am one of those folks who doesn’t lead the life that most Christians would approve of, but I do my best, and I have faith that grace will save me from any of my earthly mistakes.

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I have to keep going back to your question! Romans 3:23 tells us that everyone sins. I believe that to be truth. Each of us, daily, makes mistakes. But I believe that we are to hate the sin and love the sinner. So that is why Gal 6:1 makes sense to me. We are to restore those who have made bad choices.

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I’m not going to quote any bible passages but I do know that good christian people make cannibalmistakes and sin frequently. But is it also not a sin to judge people? Especially when you have not personally walked in their shoes. I grew up in a christian family with parents that were truly heaven-sent. But I know what it is like to do something so against what you were taught and wish you could just crawl under a rock or make time turn back. From my experience, the guilt I experienced was worse than anything anyone else could do to me due to the fact I was a christian. What I’m trying to say is, instead of judging each other, christian to christian, why can’t we just be there for each other. Sometimes that’s all people need. The problem is between them and their God after all.

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In theory, they should be. In reality, unfortunately it doesn’t happen that way most of the time. The hypocrisy of those that CLAIM to be Christians blinds the view of what being a Christian should be so often. And I’m definitely not saying every Christian is like this; I’m saying those that are, ruin the true meaning of what being a Christian is about. I know this doesn’t answer the question, but I think this is why so many people lose faith.

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If we could all be saved and have no further fears of making a mistake or committing a sin, why would Jesus have stressed the importance of fellowship? Am I not to be just as good an example to my fellow Christians as I am to a sinner, up to, and including, the understanding and forgiveness that all of life is one day at a time? Not one of us, whether or not we are at church every time the doors are open, is perfect. I depend on my church family to lift me up in prayer and mercy just as I do each of them.

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We are in the Kingdom because of Redemption. It’s God’s best work. I’m compelled to believe it should be ours as well. Awesome discussion.

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Generally when folks are judgmental and unforgiving, I believe they are frightened of their own vulnerability to the action they are condemning, inside, as well as outside the church. Which is less forgiving? Not sure. I suspect that it us good Christian people. Somewhere through the centuries church membership became confused with Pharisee-ism, where we get to decide who is in, and who is out. It makes us feel safe if we see someone else step in it.

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Don’t think I can add anything that hasn’t been said, but I enjoyed reading this feed & seeing a discussion carried out the way adults should speak with one another!

What would you add to the discussion?

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2 thoughts on “Are Christians the Least Forgiving People on the Planet?

  1. Shared this on my FB’s and Twitter. Will let you know what feedback I get. I believe that yes, though they should not be, Christians can be some of the most unforgiving people on the earth. My family and occasionally my church family have definitely shown that to be true in the past. In fact, I have written about forgiveness a couple of times in an effort to persuade a certain family member to rethink their stance on a certain issue. I keep thinking if they just realize what the Bible says in relation to their lack of forgiveness, they might change their tune. So far, no such luck. I keep praying and believing it will happen one day. I have Christian parents, but the one who claims to have the greatest walk with the Lord is the most judgmental. I often wonder how someone can know so much about the Bible and yet fail to follow such an important part of it. I frequently remind myself that without the grace of God I might be in the same situation.

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