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Friday, November 15, 2013

Forgiveness For Real

Just like "Soul Mates," the concept of forgiveness carries a lot of preconceived ideas.  Some think that forgiveness magically makes an offense disappear, as if it never offended in the first place.  We often hear the phrase, "Forgive and forget" tossed about ... which I find to be a very unhealthy adage.  Forgetting is not what God calls us to do - we learn from our past and to forget is to abandon or waste the experience.  He may choose to forget, but I don't see where I'm asked to do that.

Still, I wholeheartedly endorse forgiveness.  I believe the Bible describes it as the letting go of what is rightfully mine to require: vengeance, payback, restitution, judgment.  Without God, these things are the right of the offended person, but forgiveness releases me of that burden and reminds me of how much I have been forgiven

Let me give you a few reminders of what forgiveness might look like.
  • Forgiveness isn't forgetting. 
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean that what happened was okay.
  • Forgiveness doesn't make everything go back to the way it was before.
  • Forgiveness does not mean that we are "letting them off the hook" for the injustice of what they've done.  It's giving "The Hook" to our Lord and trusting Him to heal me. 
  • Forgiveness especially doesn't mean that family members should excuse the wrong behavior because they are “family.”
  • Forgiveness doesn't mean that we should hide, or not talk about the abuse or shy away from conflict by not talking about the abuse.
  • Forgiveness does not mean that if I "truly" forgive, I will "trust." each other implicitly. Trust takes time to build.  Rebuilding broken trust may take a lifetime.
You know you have forgiven when you don’t want to hurt or see another person hurt anymore.  You know you have grown in grace when you can rejoice that good things happen to the one who has wronged you...that is something only God can do, my friends.

Ultimately, forgiving is what I do to demonstrate that I truly trust God.  I trust He knew the truth of how I was treated and that He will deal with my offender with more wisdom than I have.  I remember that I need forgiveness, too.  It's letting go of the record-keeping and the concern that I will forget how I have been wounded.  Forgiving allows me to free my focus from what someone else has done and move that focus onto my own healing and growth.  Forgiveness allows the conflict without to become peace within.
Abandonment to Forgiveness by Michelle Moore with Paige Henderson. http://www.rose-publishing.com/Abandonment-to-Forgiveness-Minibook-Freedom-Series-P1822.aspx $5.99
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