Last week, I presented a post on the contentious topic of forgiveness. One of my main points in that post was that unforgiveness obstructs our relationship with God. If we desire the deep intimacy with our Heavenly Father that He longs to have with us, then we must be experts in the field of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a challenging topic to discuss let alone consistently practice it in our spiritual life. So, I am going to go a bit deeper on this issue in this post: 2 Myths About Forgiveness.
Myth 1: What They Did Was A-OK.
Have you ever felt like choosing the path of forgiveness gives the impression that you were just fine with whatever offense took place?
A common myth about forgiveness is the idea that what the offender did was ‘ok’. Somehow, the principle of forgiving those who have hurt us give the presumption that we are totally fine with the offense, that it doesn’t really matter what happened. If we focus on the fact that forgiving someone has nothing to do with them, then we can see how this notion is completely untrue.
I don’t believe Jesus questions how wounded we are. Throughout scripture we see that He knows the thoughts of people, therefore, He knows our thoughts. The condition of our hearts is known by Him so deeply. He knows every deep crevasse, every scar, and every infliction. He does not question their existence. Our Abba Father collects our tears…every single tear that falls down our faces is gently saved and cherished. These facts tell me that He does not doubt the existence of our wounds.
I wonder if His question is more along the lines of “What are you going to do with that wound?” The hurt is there. It is real. But what do we do with it? Forgiveness helps us to deal with our hurts in a healthy way.
It’s Not OK, But…
My choice to forgive does not make what happened to me ‘ok’. And your choice to forgive does not make what happened to you ‘ok’. Far from it. The fact that I need to forgive shows that the wounding mattered. What happened mattered. That it wasn’t ok. But in order for ME to be ok, I need to choose to forgive.
Remember, forgiveness is not for my relationship with my offender. Forgiveness is not for the other person – the other person doesn’t even have to be involved in order for us to choose to forgive them.
The choice of forgiveness is for us, for our hearts, for our freedom to live. It is for our relationship with God. It is also for our relationship with our spouses, our children, other family members, friends and future relationships. I don’t want to be bringing in all of that extra baggage into my other healthy relationships. I have the choice here.
Myth 2: Forgiving Means No Obligation
Another myth about forgiveness is that it means the offender is ‘off the hook’. He won’t have to ‘pay’ for what he has done. Well, God says that vengeance belongs to Him. And from what I’ve read in scripture, I don’t want to be on the receiving end of His wrath. I don’t even want to witness how He is going to deal with those people who have harmed children…and how He will deal with those who have hurt His children. These people might get by during their life on earth; it might look like they are getting away with what they have done. But, one day, they will be judged by the Righteous Judge.
I need to decide what things I will focus on throughout my life. Am I going to spend the rest of my life trying to get revenge on someone who doesn’t even recognize the damage they did? Am I going to waste my time attempting to get something back from someone who can’t give it?
Especially when I know there is One who can return to me what my enemy has stolen from me. He is the only One who is able to restore my broken heart. No one else can.
I have to remember that He’s got this – He will deal with my offenders, in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. My duty is to live a life that glorifies Him. **I can’t even begin to tell you how much I need these reminders myself right now!
Truth: Choose Forgiveness, Choose Freedom
Forgiveness does not mean that person is off the hook for what they have done or that what they did was ok. It just means I won’t pursue something from them I may never get. My family deserves to have all of me, not the leftovers of pain and bitterness. My Lord is worthy of having my entire devotion, not the residual remains of resentment and sourness.
Those two reasons alone are more than enough to persuade me to choose forgiveness.
How about you? How have you believed these two myths? Is there another lie about forgiveness that you have believed? Are the 2 reasons I mentioned enough for you to start choosing to forgive quickly and graciously?
Next week, I will explore a couple more ideas on the issue of forgiveness. I hope you will join me.
If you know someone who you think will be encouraged and blessed by this post, feel free to share it!
Photo credit: FreeImages.com/Marboy-schmidt