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Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Do You Recognize Forgiveness?

Very few people will actually say that they will never forgive you. It makes them appear small. However, they may just refuse to forgive while telling you that you are forgiven. How can you spot the difference?

Forgiveness is not trust. Trust must be rebuilt after forgiveness is granted. Forgiveness gives the other offender the opportunity to rebuild the trust. It verifies each action in order to prove that the person is trustworthy. The lack of forgiveness may look very similar but the motivation is much different. A lack of forgiveness verifies to prove the person is untrustworthy. It is seeking to prove the failure rather than prove faithfulness. You may ask, "Doesn't either one come to the same conclusion?" No. The unforgiving person will find a flaw in the one he chooses to leave unforgiven. No one is perfect. He will continue to point out the flaw rather than the faithfulness of the one he doesn't trust.

A forgiving person does not bring up the unfaithfulness in order to hurt the one being forgiven. Yes, the incident may be brought to the forefront. No, it will not be forgotten no many times someone says that you must forgive and forget. Deep hurts are not forgotten. Forgiven hurts are not purposely brought up. Some people rehearse the offense in their heads and get angry again and again. Bitterness raises its ugly head. Forgiveness refuses to rehearse those hurts.

Forgiveness is cautious. It treads slowly back to where the relationship was before trust was violated. Unforgiveness may appear to be healed in an instance. Of course, the deeper the hurt the slower the return to trust but the journey is honest with no facade of normalcy.

Forgiveness does not hold the offense against the offender. It is not a bargaining tool which allows the offended one to be bullied. It does not whine about the hurt. It lets it go.

Let's say someone hurts you. You forgive him and you go on. Then, he does it again. And again. And again. It does not matter how many agains there are. You forgive. That does not mean that you continue to allow the person to hurt you. You forgive him and avoid him. You do not think of him nor do you try to hurt him. You wish him well and pray for him.

Fogiveness is a gift. Forgiveness proves the size of the person when it is matched with the size of the offense. Little people will not forgive. They just say they have.

Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV) 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.


Anthony Chia, high.expressions said...

First of all, while forgiveness does something for the one who needs to be forgiven ( “the offender”), the best way of knowing whether there was indeed forgiveness being released, is to look at what forgiveness does to the one who has to forgive (“the offended”). But confining to viewing from the offender’s side, it is true, the offender is NOT the offended; he cannot just know if the offended has forgiven him, without outward manifestation from the offended. In fact, even with so-called outward manifestation, we cannot be sure, if the offended pretended, and we are sometimes, unable to see through the pretence.

Frankly speaking, I beg to differ, if it is absolutely necessary, from the offender’s side, to know whether or NOT the offended genuinely has forgiven him. I will argue for a prima facie forgiveness is sufficient, as far as the offender is concerned.

If you are the offender, and you have done all the necessary, and the offended did say to you that he forgives you, do NOT go pull your hair out over whether or NOT the offended was pretending.

The point is that we cannot force others to forgive us, and to forgive us to the maximum extent. Ha! Is there such a thing or notion as forgiveness and forgiveness to the maximum extent?

The point is that there is a part that the offender has to play; he has to repent, confess, and ask forgiveness, and if he has done that with full sincerity and humility, and with restitution, if that is due, AND on top of that, he has been sensitive to what his conscience is telling him, concerning the forgiveness he is receiving, and if indeed, his conscience clears him, he should learn his lesson, let the matter rest, and be at peace.

If the offended faked his forgiveness, and if the Holy Spirit does NOT alert the offender through His work on the offender’s conscience, it is NOT the offender’s issue. In practical sense, forgiveness opens the door to reconciliation of a relationship; it is NOT forgiveness must equal reconciliation. If it is a relationship, it takes two to tango, so to speak; if the offended does NOT want to tango, you, the offender cannot force it. The offended is NOT God, don’t force it.

Only God is able all the time, straightaway, wants the relationship back, be the willing party to reconciliation; Man only imitates God, the learning process for some, takes a long, long time. Yes, you have erred and done the offended wrong, you cannot go back in time to undo that, but when you have done all that the Word said you need to do, you should let peace return to you, do NOT beat yourself up.

Concerning hurts, when there is true forgiveness, now this is viewing from the offended side, no matter how deep the hurts, it can lose its sting. There will still be memory of the incident, but memory of the incident does NOT bring the sting that it previously had, when true forgiveness has worked through. This is the first level test of forgiveness that one, the offended, must pass.

Luke 17:3-4 gives us, very simply what an offender needs to do:

……“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

It is alright if you, as the offender, want to do more, but do NOT beat yourself up, if you have done as prescribed by the Word; your repentant heart or lack of it, God sees. Learning to recognize false forgiveness is alright, it is exhorted on account of love, of our love, for the one we offended, for we know the damage it does to the one NOT releasing the forgiveness.

Melissa Fletcher said...