Forgiveness is essential for life-giving relationships and authentic community. Two things we must understand: We all will offend and we all will be offended. We must learn how to forgive.
Forgiveness is letting go, releasing someone from your heart into the hands of God. Leaving no room for bitterness, anger, or resentment to take root.
Forgiveness is not…
- Forgiveness is not condoning .
- Forgiveness is not forgetting. Some people are toxic and dangerous. They will continue to manipulate. Forgiveness sometimes needs boundaries. Forgiving is remembering. We have set them free from our heart which means there will be no malice or bitterness but there must be boundaries.
- Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciling. Reconciling takes two. Forgiving doesn’t mean you will get back together. Not everything will go back to what it was before.
- Forgiveness is a different issue than justice and consequences. Forgiveness doesn’t ignore justice that needs to be had. Justice being done is a completely separate issue than forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is not removing consequences. So many people believe that in order to forgive it means removing the weight of consequences. Listen withholding forgiveness is not a consequence. In fact it is more damaging to your soul than theirs. Forgiveness also doesn’t mean you no longer have to uphold the natural, necessary consequences.
- Forgiveness is freeing someone letting them go, releasing someone from your heart into the hands of God
- Forgiveness is personal. You forgive people, not institutions or faceless groups. That church hurt me. That place fired me. You can’t forgive an institution. It is always with people. I will never forgive the church….it’s because you can’t forgive a church….someone in the church wronged you or a perceived wrong.
- Forgiveness is a process
Characteristics of Revenge
Revenge is either in your heart or actions taking things into your own hands. Doing to them what they did to you, in actions or heart.
There is an inflammatory nature to revenge ….it escalates…always
Revenge can be terribly tempting
Revenge is totally intoxicating
Revenge is deeply rooted within our sinful nature
Revenge is applauded and encouraged
It looks like they are getting away with it.
I want people to see them for who they really are.
I want the truth to be known.
If I don’t deal with this then they could do this to someone else
They have broken a code and it seems like no one is doing anything about it….so it is up to me…I will get revenge. I will get the last word. I will get the last laugh