Reconciliation

This is the final entry in a series based on the Six Steps of Granting Forgiveness.

Jacob and Esau were twin brothers, and though they were competitors from birth, they were still brothers.  Yet, Jacob seemed to not prize that relationship as much as he coveted the blessings that their parents had to give.  Jacob schemed to get Esau’s inheritance. He took advantage of Esau, he tricked his father, and he stole what was his brother’s.

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“I forgive you.”

“As a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins…”

So we hear week after week as we confess our sins together in worship, and our called minister pronounces forgiveness to us.

Yet, has anything really happened at that moment? Has our spiritual situation changed in any way?

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Letting Go

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” -Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch Christian who was arrested by the Nazis for harboring and aiding Jews during World War II.  In the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp she and her sister Betsie were horribly mistreated, and her sister died as a prisoner.  Many years later, after speaking in a church basement about her experiences, Corrie was approached by a former guard from Ravensbruck – who had become a Christian – who asked her for forgiveness.

It was, according to her, the hardest thing she had ever been asked to do.

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How Do We Forgive?

Today saw yet another example of how truly awful human beings can be.  I heard the news with a strange mixture of sadness, frustration, and horror… but not shock. I wondered all afternoon why I wasn’t more shocked, but a good friend hit the nail on the head after Bible study tonight: “It’s almost like we’ve come to expect it.  It just doesn’t surprise us anymore.”

That issue aside, it didn’t take long for me to go from grief for the people affected to anger, and the question, “Who?  Why?”  Of course, behind those questions is the desire to see justice.  I want to know who did this, and I want them to be caught.

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Boundaries

In a previous post I mentioned the Six Steps for Granting Forgiveness, from the PREPARE/ENRICH marriage system by LifeInnovations. This is the second in a series explaining each of those steps in greater detail.

One of the big mistakes people make when granting forgiveness is thinking that in order to really forgive you have to pretend the hurt never happened.  I think this is especially true among Christians.  We read in the Bible about how God forgives us, how he remembers our sins no more, and we think that means that to forgive like God does, we have to pretend a person never did anything wrong.  We even sometimes think that we need to actually forget that it happened.

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It’s…. not alright!

In a previous post I mentioned the Six Steps for Granting Forgiveness, from the PREPARE/ENRICH marriage system by LifeInnovations. This is the first in a series explaining each of those steps in greater detail.

Have you ever had this happen to you? You did something wrong, you know it was wrong, you go to the person and apologize, and they say, “That’s alright.” Or, “It’s okay.”  Well, if it was “alright” and “okay”, then why did I need to apologize? In fact, I’m probably apologizing because you were the one who let me know it was wrong in the first place!

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Forgiveness

The other day in my Bible reading plan I was in Proverbs 17, and I came across this passage:

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. -Proverbs 17:9

The Proverbs are sometimes murky, sometimes humorous, sometimes piercing, sometimes obscure, sometimes strange and just plain hard to understand. However, this one speaks loud and clear, and can be summed up in a single word: “Forgive!”

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