Today, we’re continuing in our series on forgiveness, tackling another myth of forgiveness:
If I forgive, am I saying that what my offender did was okay?
Our perspective –
This belief is a tough one because, I’ll be the first one to say, it’s scary to make yourself vulnerable to the one who hurt you! It just doesn’t “feel” right or, for that matter, seem very smart.
But when we operate in this way, we’re really basing forgiveness upon our feelings, or worse, on our need to settle the score. And let’s be honest, if that were the case, we’d probably never release our offender from their debt! Oh, what an awful world that would be!
Christ’s position –
Christ commands us to not only to forgive, but love one another (the “verb” – not the noun or “feeling of love”). No where will you find Him commanding us to feel forgiving or feel loving toward one another. Thankfully, Christ doesn’t ask us to do this without first leading the way …
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” –1 John 3:16 (NIV)
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col. 3:13 (NIV)
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)
Notice that none of these verses speak about forgiving if and when your offender recognizes their sin.
Although we all want our offender to see his/her fault, it’s not our job—nor our right—to change our offender, convince them of the error of their ways or make them pay. The only condition mentioned in these verses is “on us”—to extend forgiveness out of and because of the forgiveness we’ve received from Christ.
To drive this point home further, Christ’s forgiveness of us does not mean in any sense of the word that the sin we committed is “okay” …
So how could it mean that when “we” forgive others?
Remember, when we forgive, we don’t just release our offender from their debt, we love our offender like Christ loves us.
We let His love for us flow through to them. When that happens we aren’t losing, even if our offender never wakes up to his sin!
In that miraculous moment (it really is a miracle God does in our hearts, peeps!), we gain in eternal ways that far outweigh any loss or wound.
Bottom line – Christ asks us to do what feels counterintuitive—even foolhardy—because He is in control and is faithful to protect us and redeem what was broken (redeeming our broken hearts, not necessarily the relationship). To offer anything less than that to our offender shows, in the least, a lack of faith in Christ, and in the worst, an insult to His sacrifice and grace.
Even though forgiveness doesn’t make what our offender did against us all “okay”…
What have you done to constructively deal with that loss and pain?
What boundaries have you or should you set with your offender that come alongside your forgiveness of him/her?
This is #10 in Forgiveness Series. Click link to access #9 – Forgive and Feel Better?
Now it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!
Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that is spiritually encouraging.
- Enter in a permalink directly to your “blog post” and not the main URL to your blog.
- Be sure to include a link to “Wedded Wednesday” or add the WW button (code is in MM’s footer) to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
- Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.
- Please no offensive or inappropriate content or sexually explicit images!
Optional but encouraged:
- Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
- If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”