Consider the man who suffered from a debilitating disease of the brain. At times it would cause him to act irrationally and unpredictably. Under the influence of one such attack, he unwittingly struck out and killed another man. At trial, he was sentenced to death. But when his relatives appealed for mercy and explained the medical reasons for his temporary insanity, the governor granted clemency and pardoned him. But before his friends and relatives reached the prison to share this good news, the man had died as a result of his illness. So he gained nothing from the governor's pardon. Quite apart from the pardon, he needed treatment for his disease. Only then might he have lived to enjoy his release. It is treatment we need, not just forgiveness.

source: Sundar Singh, The Wisdom of the Sadhu, 92-93 tags: Forgiveness, Salvation