Monday, April 11, 2011

Forgiveness

Forgiveness seems to be the topic around SBC this week. Dan preached on forgiveness Wednesday night. Dave talked about forgiveness in Sunday School this morning. I even listened to a Podcast last week about forgiveness. I would take it as a sign that I needed to forgive someone...except I don't. At least, not any one comes to mind? For me, I find it fairly easy to forgive. The thing I have struggled with lately isn't forgiving, but forgetting. Although, I don't think the forgetting part is really possible. It sounds great in theory but I just don't think you can really just forget.

There has been an issue in our lives lately that we have really thought through, prayed through and struggled with. But, when it comes down to it, our issue isn't about forgiveness but more about not opening ourselves up to be hurt again. When someone continually hurts you/your family/someone you care about, you must make a decision. You either allow it to continue happening or you set your self free while harboring no bitterness or unforgiveness. In our case, the moment we did that, we realized we hardly ever think about the issue, worry about it, dwell on it or try to come up with solutions.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on forgiveness? Is it hard for you to forgive? What do you think about the whole "don't let the sun go down" idea. We talked about this for a while in Sunday School today. We are gonna pick up where we left off next week.

9 comments:

BroJoey said...

I think it is harder to forgive the ones I love sometimes than "strangers". As for the not letting the sun go down...with my husband I must forgive before I go to sleep or I will not sleep at all. And then the next day it is worse and harder to say I forgive you....or I'm sorry. That's my two cents.

4 J's said...

Oops...commented under Joey's id! It's really me!

Anonymous said...

There are people out there who live their lives thinking only of them. They act on their impulse and leave wounded behind. They damage their children. The manipulate. They hurt. All in the name of love. That isn't love.

I agree. You can forgive but not continue to be in relationship with someone. You have to protect your self and those in your charge.

On the sun going down...I've always taken that literal. I don't go to sleep if I haven't made things right with another.

The Glenn Gang said...

Literal? Interesting. Is that across the board no matter who they are or just those closest to you?

Audra Laney said...

Nicki, Andrew and I have struggled with this in great depth the past few years in relation to a family member who has continually hurt us (namely, Andrew) over and over and over...etc. It becomes difficult to forgive someone who intentionally hurts you over and over again, seemingly without intention to change. It's even worse when this starts creeping into your children's lives. We struggled and tossed around the idea of forgiving this person but cutting this person off from our personal lives. We struggled with "does Jesus sometimes allow us to be physically punished as a result of our sin?" And "are we able to do that to others?" For example, a woman who has been physically abused...what about if the person doing the abuse is a "master manipulator" by definition? If I'm losing you, I apologize. My point is this...we prayed, talked with this person honestly, and came to this conclusion. Love always trusts. (So much for wondering if we should expect him to REALLY change this time.) Love holds no account of wrongs. (So much for recounting his past time and time again.) That doesn't mean we ALLOW him to walk all over us and abuse/hurt us or our kids. When we see that occurring, Andrew puts his foot down toward that person in a firm, but loving manner. It may mean some separation between us and the "offender" for a while, but we continually forgive him and extend another opportunity, however hard that is at times. No, we can't forget the constant times he's hurt us (namely, Andrew), but we only desire for Jesus to extend the same amount of mercy to us, so we do it for our offenders as well!

Is that about as clear as mud?

I'll be praying for you guys as you struggle through this time. I know how difficult it can be for all involved!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I have struggled with this very issue for over a year now. My family has been terribly wronged and hurt right in the church, just where you least expect it but where it happes so frequently and so viciously.

When the other parties refuse to meet with you, refuse to talk to you, refuse to tell you why they are angry with you, refuse to hear what you need to say, what can you do? When you have never been allowed to know what the issue was to begin with, never allowed to admit, deny, try to fix, explain ... how can you forget? When they have totally destroyed you, destroyed a reputation you spent decades building, how can you forget?

After much prayer and thought, we were able to actually do the forgiveness part and that was hard but forget? H.A.R.D. After many weeks, at great expense to the church and specific ministries at the church, as well as to ourselves, we felt called to leave the place we loved, the service we felt called to for so many years.

Being removed from the situation/place/individuals make it easier to not dwell on it, not ponder things and wonder what and why. So maybe in time "forget" will come about. In the mean time, I just pray for God to give some explanation of why He allowed this to happened and I pray for peace to allow Him to lead us from this point on where He wants us to be.

I keep telling myself that I am going to be spending eternity with these people and I don't want to carry this hurt with me to heaven so for my own sake, if nothing else, I need to find a way to F.O.R.G.E.T.

Dan Glenn said...

Wow...I don't usually leave a comment on "our" blog (you all know it's really Nicki's...she's much better at keeping up with family memories that I am!), but this is an issue that has obviously struck a chord.

First of all..."Forgive and Forget" is not a biblical command. As a matter of fact, it's a human impossibility. We cannot CHOOSE to forget something. My experience has actually been that the more I try to forget, the more I remember. No...forgive and forget is not possible, but forgive IS a biblical command.

Romans 12:17-21 shows us that if it is possible (as far as it depends on you) live at peace with everyone. Those are a couple of very important distinctions that Paul includes. "if it is possible" means it may not be possible (I would include someone who consistently hurts you or your family. I don't think God intended us to live in relationships that intentionally and consistently cause pain to us and our families.) "as far as it depends on you" means that we can't control what others do. We have to forgive and then leave the other's actions to them.

By the way...I also like the end of that passage where it talks about heaping burning coals on someone's head (just sayin...)

Anyway, yes, we have a situation in our family where we have TOTALLY forgiven, but we are choosing to not put ourselves into an ongoing relationship that is hurtful to us and to our children. I feel completely at peace with God about this decision. I guess we just all have to find our own peace with whatever decision God calls us to make.

Can we just agree...Forgiveness is TOUGH!!!

rob h said...

First off, I'm in nearly full agreement with Audra's post. I've had a situation that sounds very similar, and after handling it in completely the wrong way initially, I've tried to take the tack she seems to be taking, and it seems to be effective.

What's funny is the catalyst for the change in how I handled it was the verse Dan mentioned, Romans 12:18. "If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Granted, it may not be possible, but that doesn't remove the requirement for us to try to still live at peace with everyone. It's still our responsibility to treat everyone with the love of Christ and let Him shine through us, whether it's returned or not.

For me, it was about five years ago that the original hurt occurred, and for two years after that, I withdrew from that person, but after having the aforementioned verse pointed out to me by a pastor friend, I changed my approach. I decided to show love instead. And what I've learned is that true forgiveness, while it doesn't forget, it acts like it has. I think even one of the oft-quoted wedding verses in 1 Cor 13 is "love keeps no record of wrongs". I had to do that.

To me, it has everything to do with God's forgiveness of my sin. When Christ died 2K years ago, everything wrong I ever did was paid for, pre-emptively. When I sin, I break the fellowship I have with God as a believer, but when I confess that sin, my fellowship is restored, with no record of that sin remaining. Was my slate wiped clean when I confessed? No, because that sin was already forgiven 2000 years ago. With Christ's death, God forgave me in advance. And that's how I have to treat others, I have to decide in advance that whatever they do to me is forgiven, and that whatever they do, I'm going to show them the love of Christ, because whatever they do to me pales in comparison to what I did to Jesus.

It's a tough call to make, and really tough to deal with real-time, but you know we're with you and praying for you.

michael said...

What about grown people who knowingly put themselves ahead of their children or grandchildren? And then continually place guilt and condemnation on them for not meeting their needs. How long does an adult child have to endure this or put his family through it? Guilt is no way to live your life.

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