Forgiveness… Another “Slice”

These are some of the questions I have been asked about forgiveness recently.

“Do I have to forgive if they never said they were sorry?”

“What if they keep doing what they want forgiveness for?”

“When is too far… too far?  At what point do I not forgive?”

All these are excellent questions.  They are real and even putting them down here I feel the anxiety they carry.  These are questions coming from people who have been hurt, wounded, frustrated and whose hearts have been scratched deeply.  Thanks for sharing them.

I think a great starting place to begin is with our own forgiveness.  These questions are in all seriousness questions God could ask about me.

Do I have to forgive if Leonard never says sorry?

What if Leonard keeps doing what he is asking forgiveness for?

When is too far… too far?  At what point has Leonard gone too far?

How do you think God respond to each of these questions?

Do I have to forgive if Leonard never says sorry? All my sin is already forgiven by Christ.  My apology is not what activates the forgiveness of God; the forgiveness of God was applied because of faith.

What if Leonard keeps doing what he is asking forgiveness for? Umm. Uh.  Guilty.  Yet wherever sin makes a mark, Grace makes a bigger mark.  I cannot out sin the grace of God.

When is too far… too far? At what point has Leonard gone too far?  This is a biggie too.  The Bible says that HE is with me wherever I go.  It says that when I sin, I am bringing Christ into my mess.  His promise is to never leave of forsake.  The word never is kind of a big deal here isn’t it?

Okay, so here are some of the things that make forgiveness a bit confusing.  The emotion involved in an offense. Offenses hurt.  Some shred the very fabric of our being.  Abuse or betrayal at the hands of those closest have poured havoc on many a soul.  Repeated offenses from someone who seems oblivious to all but themselves has left many a person with doubt about themselves and the integrity of a relationship.   Our feelings are huge in the process of forgiveness.

Fairness and justice are major players in the forgiveness game. When offenses are abundant and it is always left to you to be the forgiving person, our hearts and minds tell us that it is just nor fair.  People often ask where the justice is in this mess.  We are trained from our earliest days to give people a small rope.  Fool me once…turn the other cheek, but only once…  Stand up for yourself… Don’t take crap off of anyone…  Avoid the person who frustrates you.

For those of you reading and trying to apply my general thoughts to a specific situation, I am sorry for the frustration that brings.  I will say this, I am to forgive others as Christ has forgiven me.  When I first read this I figured this was just a giant hill to climb.  Forgive like Jesus?  But on careful examination, Jesus is telling me the key to forgiving others is deepening my understanding and embracing the forgiveness of Christ.  As I am forgiven… apply forgiveness.

What this means for me is that I need to revel in the forgiveness I have received and in doing so, I will able to overcome much of the issues of fairness and justice and the deep seated emotions these issues bring.  That’s all for today.  Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on August 18, 2010.

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