Good discussion this evening on forgiveness… read together a chapter of Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall. He covers what forgiveness is and what it is not… very helpful.
It is not:
- approval of what they did
- excusing what they did
- justifying what they did
- pardoning what they did
- denying what they did
- blindness to what happened
- refusing to take the wrong seriously
- pretending we are not hurt
- being aware of what someone has done and still forgiving them
- a choice to keep no records of wrong
- refusing to punish
- not telling what they did
- being merciful
- an inner condition
- the absence of bitterness
- forgiving God
- forgiving ourselves
I think that “it is not telling what they did” might be incompatible with “not forgetting” or “not refusing to take the wrong seriously.” To skip to the hypothetical applications that you can see through anyway… the other party doesn’t have to “repent” before you forgive, which is worth mentioning. The question before me has to do with how one responds after forgiving, and what one does when the other party does not acknowledge any wrong but continues to wrong others. One thing that seems clear is that forgiveness does not preclude consequences… sometimes a consequence is that the relationship is forever changed, hence forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean reconcilliation. Good thoughts, still processing…
Great thoughts, looks like a must read…yet another book to add to the already expanded list of books.
In my experience, forgiveness has always been a choice to be made, and then walked in afterwards.
In other words, I need to continue to walk in forgiveness, and not “take it back” a few days later when painful situations or words come back to mind again. It’s not like I’m forgiving others repeatedly, it’s just that I need to daily choose to continue walking in forgiveness.
A friend of mine in the 80’s defined forgiveness as, among other things, “Giving up your right to revenge”, which may not be a complete thought, but it’s an important piece, IMO.