What If God Does Not Forgive?

by Dele A. Sonubi


Generally, the idea behind creation of law (and the compliance of it) is because it is preventive, corrective and punitive. Law will never work if there is no punitive measure guiding its disobedience. (The eyes of the law, unlike the “Omni-eyes” of God, do not watch compliance of law, but once one is caught flouting an aspect of the law, punishment is assured.) No one will ever feel compelled to obey any law if they can interpret its meanings and subject its negations to their own character analysis and acceptance. If the law against over speeding for example is just to remind motorists that over speeding kills and not to over speed, then I know many people who will NEVER regard such caution. For example, I have a friend who constantly lights a cigarette under the federal government’s announcement that “…cigarette smokers are liable to die young“! If after the violation of a law, a confession is made to the police and police commissioner, acting on behalf of the State, can forgive the offender, then I know two third of Nigerians (including this writer) that will gladly take up that challenge and break whatever existing law even if it is for the fun of it. In that case, even armed robbers, rapists, arsonists will not bother going to the police station to confess, they will send a signed letter of confession to the police with some percentage of their loots as gratuity for the forgiveness of their sins just as they embark on another theft. Child rapists will send voice recordings of confession of previous rape as they climaxed on top of another 9 years old girl victim. If there is no punitive measure in law, there cannot be any adherence to it by anyone beyond the mere boredom of repetition of the same crime.

However, the attractions to God and one of the most important reason for His worship, is because no matter how grievous the sin/offence, a plea of the adoring and forgiving blood of Jesus Christ, and the sin is totally forgiven.

Gone were those days when criminals and betrayals of societal trusts were outcasts from communities in Nigeria. Nowadays, there are chieftaincy titles for criminals who torment the poor people with their loots. In ancient times, churches were curious about and preached against stolen wealth. Nowadays, such stolen wealth receive Holy Communion from priests who arbor the looters and make them deacons and deaconesses in the churches. The assumption behind not preaching against crimes and stolen trusts in the churches, is because it is believe that the “healing power of the blood of Jesus Christ had set the criminals free.” Everyone is convinced that a way out of guilty conscience is to go for confession and “buy” forgiveness of sins. That is all.

Does it make sense: that God’s infinite laws are made so that they can be broken repeatedly? Is it really true that our own logic is not the same as God’s logic? In our logic, it does not make sense to make a law so that it would be broken and no chance for punitive measures against its violation.

Arguments have been proffered that God has given everyone the “free will” to act as each deems fit. That free will makes one commits or abstains from sin. The argument went further by claiming that God recognizes only genuine and pure confessions and He truly forgives- like in the case of David- the psalmist. David in the Bible always went to God with powerful poetic repentance and God always forgave him. Perhaps, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka must write a powerful poem of repentance before he dies so that his not going to church might be forgiven eventually. However, with every free will comes the punitive law of responsibility. An actor is responsible for every action taken- good or bad! Being responsible or taking responsibility for actions is in itself a caution against excesses.

There is no doubt that people deliberately commit sins because they know God will say; it’s not right, but it’s okay I forgive you! What if God uses another measure- in addition to the blood of Jesus Christ- to measure forgiveness? What if singing songs more sonorous than the Psalmists is not enough to guarantee true repentance and hell is looming high? It cannot be so simple that after former Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force Tafa Balogun had helped rained untold horror on the public, stole 13billion Naira that God has written off his debt with fate just like that! There are some victims who are daily tormented by constant recollection of the day armed robbers came to terrorize them. There are people living with memories of heinous crime committed against them; some rape victims who are unable to move closer to any man again; some people who are psychologically damaged because of what other people did to them; husbands who watched while gang rapists climbed on their pregnant wives or impregnate their wives while they watched helplessly. The sinners had approached God and confessed and had been forgiven! It is either the concept of God’s wrath and forgiveness is unfair or we misrepresent its interpretations. It cannot be right to destroy a nation knowingly and for God to say; it’s not right, but it’s okay I forgive you! Where is punitive?

Imagine a situation where at some point, God’s wrath had been misconstrued and miss represented by the church? What if sins are not totally forgiven even after pleading the blood? What if truly, God does not forgive sins committed in full knowledge of its implications and consequences with the same ease as we think he does? What if God does not forgive, will our politicians still increase poverty rather than eradicating it? If we are aware that there are punitive measures in sins/crimes, will people still make money from spoils of war? Will people still endanger lives of the others knowing fully well that there is no refuge in God?

What if God does not forgive sins committed? Then we are going to rot in punishment unless like Michael Jackson sings; “look at the man in the mirror and then make a change!”

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Asuquo Ema November 2, 2006 - 6:24 pm

This is indeed a very thought provoking article because it really makes one analyze religion from a critic's point of view.

I am always baffied at the way we Nigerians claim to be so religious and Godly but yet our actions say otherwise. We are always quick to attribute "God" and "Religion" to our fate instead of applying the human spirit to solve our problems. The average Nigeria uses the word "God" about five times in a single sentence without even thinking.

As an adult now, I see religion as simply "Man Made" and nothing else. In Asia "Hinduism and "Buddism" have existed there for centuries and is still prevailing today despite the influence of colonialism. It's the same thing in Africa with "Traditional Worshippers" that were around before european colonialists arrived. The major difference with Asia and Africa is that we Africans succumed to the pressure of european colonialists who told us that our way of life and worship were indeed inferior. People acknowledge "God" in so many ways through different religions – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddism, Voodoo and other forms of traditioanl worship that may even be interpreted as being primitive or worshipping idols. There is a big difference between "Spirituality" and "Religion". One can be spiritual and at the same time not religious. Yes! It's very possible! Life will be very easy if all our problems could just be solved by simply praying but that isn't the case. Life is more complex than that.

An interesting observation I made is that most of the third world nations clinch on this notion of "Religion" and "God" while the western nations have basically abandoned this idea. Please bear in mind that it's these same western nations with the help of their so called "missionaries" that came and brainwashed us with this idea while at the same time exploiting us during the colonial era. We adopted the western religion (Europeanized version of Christianity) and at the same time failed to adopt their economical systems that have proven to make the western nations prosper.

As the famous singer Fela Kuti said "Shuffering and Smiling" – That sums it up for me as far as religion is concerned.

Tinu October 31, 2006 - 5:13 am


Your article makes an interesting and thought provoking reading BUT you based your discourse on the assumption that mere saying "I am sorry" or "confessing to a Priest" or "pleading the blood of Jesus" is enough to cleanse a sinner from all unrighteousness. How I wish it were that simple! The word of God instructs us that what is required is "True Repentance" and an assurance that the sinner will not return to his/her former sin. God is NEVER mocked, He will not allow His kingdom to be ridiculed. That He allows suffering and misery is always for a purpose which if we are patient and walk in the Spirit, our eyes of understanding will be opened and we will comprehend why certain things are the way they are. Let us consider the story of King David, a man after God's heart. When He had Uriah killed so he could take Bathsheba his wife, though he repented and lamented, God's punishment was that the child of that union died. We did not read in the bible that David ever committed the same sin till he died. Sometimes God raises up wicked kings and rulers over a rebellious people to bring them to their knees, e.g King Nebuchadnezzar.

Christ's redemptive blood is for those who believe in God through faith in Christ Jesus, as Lord and Saviour. So pleading the blood achieves nothing in itself except it is done in faith and in truth. I acknowledge the "lies" peddled by a lot of self acclaimed "Pastors" "General Overseers" and "Apostles", but that is their own script to which they shall all give account.

The state of our nation Nigeria makes a non-believer wonder if there is a God, but I can assure you as sure as there is a sky above that there is an ALMIGHTY GOD and He will in His own time make manifest His ways. Have you ever considered that maybe we as a people are being "pruned" (I don't want to use the word -punished) for our complicity in the ills perpetuated by our so called Leaders? When last have we as a people demonstrated against election rigging or raised our voices against corrupt leaders?- not in the comfort of our homes but on the streets.

I wish I can write more but it is late and I must get some sleep. However, I will like to leave you with these words:

God has not promised skies always blue, but He has promised strength for the day, rest for the labour, light for the way, grace for the trials,help from above, unfailing sympathy, and undying love. Have a blessed week.

Mrs Tinuade Ihama

Conscience October 28, 2006 - 8:26 am

Nice comment. I think I agree with most of your views.

BIGFEST October 27, 2006 - 3:53 pm

A thought provoking write-up.We should all fully examine this article.However,we will all be judged by what we do in secret because what you do in secret is your religion.

Uzo October 27, 2006 - 11:37 am

Well said! I agree with the comment by Rosie and most of all,i agree with the writer of this article.In my 31 years on this beautiful earth, i have never seen a religion filled with as many self righteous people as christianity.I know this for a fact cos i'm a catholic christian.(even though some of you may argue that those two nouns can't exist side by side). We say the central theme of our religion is love and yet we flagrantly rain omninous consequences on those we don't subscribe to our beliefs.We build overindulgent edifices to worship a man who was born in a manger? We preach against corruption and yet, we collect tithes from the politicians?

Hello? am i missing something here?

Rosie October 26, 2006 - 7:38 pm

When it comes to religion, I am very skeptical. Imagine that – a practising catholic who is skeptical on religion. When I was thirteen, my best friend at the time became a born again. She used to shove Bibles under my nose all the time until I told her to get that "man-made history book"away from me. She was shocked. She said I had blasphemed. I told her to read her history books and find out the Bible is just a bunch of stories , agreed upon by the early "fathers" (not mothers or sisters) of the church. Early Christianity was rocked with chaos. No one could agree on one thing. So they chose the books of the Bible from thousands of books (some are still being discovered today) and tried to destroy the rest. So when someone quotes the Bible to me and tried to justify morals based on the Bible – I tell them this: The Bible tells me the God I worship is a man. It tells me it is a white man with white flowing beard. It tells me I am made in his image. Well, as a black woman, I think God messed up a little because,there is a small percentage that physically look that way. The Bible is subject to strange interpretations. It contradicts, yet we cling to it, because it is all the founding fathers of Christianity left us. No one is as unChristian as Christians. We need to stop faking it.

Ikechukwu Nnamani October 26, 2006 - 6:11 pm

You echoed the thoughts I've carried in my heart for some years now. Why is it now that we have so many churches in Nigeria that evil abound?

Atrocities in the cities.

Abomination in the nation.

Let us examine ourselves deeply, running away from facades and flimsy promises of "salvation" at the "push of a button".

We need help from God, not to save us from the devil but to deliver us from our delusions.

Ben Idris Alooma October 26, 2006 - 11:44 am

This is an excellent article, very thought provoking. I hope that Nigerians in general (from the rich to the president to the legislattor to the armed robber to the beggar to the poor) read this article and meditate upon it. This article is qualified to be included in the Bible and Quran without further delay.

I have always been of the opinion that Nigeria (Nigerians) contemporary situations are beyond prayers. God is very far from the shores of the most wicked isolated nation in the universe. For God to hear Nigerians, righteous Nigerians must take over (radically preferably) the affairs of the country thereafter God will henceforth commence listening to Nigerians. For now, no way! with God.

On a second thought, what happens if there is no God afterall and ONLY the devil truly exists? Then most Nigerians have be conned and suffered for nothing! What happens if there is no heaven afterall? What if there is no hell (other than the present day Nigeria)?

Why do the children of overseers, pastors, etc always end up taking over the affairs of "their fathers" church? (No qualified other church member, right?)

Why do the children of rich (???) Nigerian end up in politics and positions of power/money control?

Why do Nigerian high ranking military officers (former or current) always end up with pot-belly?

Why do Nigerian politician become "overnight" multi-millionaires?

Why do the rich Nigerians alwyas have numerous foreign accounts?

Why do Nigerian legislators send their kids to foreign schools?

Why do Nigerian politician (from the president to the commissioners) run to foreign hospitals for simple medical check up? (note: there is no malaria in western nations, no sunburn, no fever, no … )

Why do Nigerian christians and muslims run to juju man/woman for booster power?

Why are Nigerians generally highly educated but mostly unemployed?

Why do the resources and wealth of Nigeria belong in the hands of one man or few people (that is, counting along the friends and girlfriends of the one man)?


Why …..?

Why …..?

If you can answer all these questions (truthfully) then Nigeria and Nigerians will experience peace, progress and prosperity.

God (Allah, Chineke, Olorun, or whatever you call him/her) and Satan (Bilisi, Esu, or whatever you call him/her) be with Nigeria.

Long live Nigeria. Long live Nigerians.


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