Although Barbara seeks extensive counseling, she eventually separates from her husband for a season. Upon their reconciliation, she forgives him, but is under the assumption that for her to do so means she must never again feel the pain of his adultery. Then one evening she sees Bill smiling and talking to another woman at church.
Although it was nothing more than innocent friendliness, the anguish and suspicion of his betrayal comes rushing back into her soul. She berates herself and questions her own sincerity: Be certain of this: To long for justice is entirely legitimate, but to seek it for yourself is not. Let God deal with the offender in his own way at the appropriate time.
The point is that forgiveness does not mean you are to ignore that a wrong was done or that you deny that a sin was committed. He is the judge, not you. Often we refuse to forgive others because we mistakenly think that to do so is to minimize their sin. He really hurt me. It simply means we consciously choose to let God be the one who determines the appropriate course of action in dealing justly with the offending person.
The Transforming Power of Forgiveness: How to become a more forgiving person Session 3.
They may hurt you again. That is their decision.
- Five Myths about Forgiveness;
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But you must set boundaries on your relationship with them. The fact that you establish rules to govern how and to what extent you interact with this person in the future does not mean you have failed to sincerely and truly forgive them.
True love never aids and abets the sin of another. The offender may himself be offended that you set parameters on your friendship to prevent them from doing further harm.
Forgiveness does not mean you become a helpless and passive doormat for their continual sin. It is most often a life-long process. However, forgiveness has to begin somewhere at some point in time. There will undoubtedly be a moment, an act, when you decisively choose to forgive. It may well be highly emotional and spiritually intense and bring immediate relief; a sense of release and freedom. You may need every day to reaffirm to yourself your forgiveness of another.
There may well be other myths concerning forgiveness, but those are probably the most important ones. We are to forgive because God forgave us. But we are also to forgive as or like or in the same manner that he forgave us. So, how did God in Christ forgive us? This leads us to the five truths about forgiveness. Jackie Pullinger is a missionary and church-planter in Hong Kong whose remarkable life story is told in her autobiography, Chasing the Dragon. A young man named Ah Ping had joined the Triads gangs that controlled crime in Hong Kong when he was only twelve years old.
He soon came to be supported financially by a fourteen-year-old prostitute. When Jackie showed up and began to reach out in mercy and kindness to Ah Ping and his associates, he told her in no uncertain terms: Just get out of here. We will only hurt you and exploit you and kick you around. Why do you stay? Why do you care? He died for me while I was his hateful enemy.
He loved me and forgave me. He loves you, too.
We rape and fight and steal and stab. Nobody could love us. Ah Ping was shattered. He sat down on the street corner and received Christ as his savior. Not long after his conversion, Ah Ping was attacked by a gang of youths and was beaten mercilessly with bats. What transformed Ah Ping? What accounted for his readiness to forgive his enemies? So what is forgiveness? You are going to have to live with it anyway, so you might as well do it without the bitterness and rancor and hatred that threaten to destroy your soul.
He also clearly declares the greatest commandment. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Truly loving God results in Spirit-empowered obedience, which would make loving our neighbors our top priority. This love requires us to pray for those who are hurting and those who hurt, to rely on God for guidance, wisdom, and strength, and to stand in unity against the evil that feeds racism, which is rooted in a false sense of superiority.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Luke Loving our neighbors is showing mercy, a commandment not an option, if we follow Christ. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. Through forgiveness and unity, we can begin a wave of healing that begins within our homes and extends into our communities, in person and online. But as we pray for our offenders, asking God to overwhelm them with His life-transforming love, and yes. Once the Lord helps us process our emotions and rise above resentment and bitterness, He can empower us to pray for those who persecute and hurt us, as we battle hate with love.
But as we stand together, we can celebrate the beautiful diversity of those God created and loves, even those who do not love Him. Besides making disciples of all nations Matthew To pray continually and depend on the Lord completely, as we love Him and all people with our words and actions, regardless of how we differ or disagree in beliefs. To love all people as Christ loves us, because He first loved us. To love all people by speaking up and inciting peace as we refuse to tolerate or ignore any act of injustice, violence, hate, racism, or discrimination.
And yes, even by embracing radical forgiveness as we forgive those who have not yet been forever changed by the love of Christ.
"Forgiveness - Letting Go of the Hurt" Colossians
Lord, thank You for loving us, forgiving us, and empowering us to love and forgive others. As we watch the atrocities unfolding right before our eyes and grieve over the blatant hatred destroying lives, it is ever apparent that we cannot get through this without You, Lord. Please help us place hate-filled offenders in Your hands, praying for them to be so impacted by Your love that they will be forever changed, like Paul, who once persecuted the Church then became a mighty advocate of love and forgiveness as He followed You and shared Your truth wherever You led him.
- Iron Sharpens Iron.
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- Holding on to a position of forgiveness.
Yes, Lord, help us forgive first, so that we can be freed to make a difference in our world by refusing to be indifferent. As we rest in the peace of Your constant presence, please empower us to seek peace, celebrate diversity as we stand in unity, and love selflessly and generously, like the Good Samaritan.
Related Hurt without Hate: The Transforming Power of Forgiveness
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