Thursday, June 24, 2010

Forgive you?! Part III

Over my dead body!

Maybe? I'll touch on that later...

What if all of us really forgave the way Jesus instructed us to forgive?

Would it mean our hearts would not still ache for the pain another had caused us? No.

Would it mean that by forgiving another person I'm giving them permission to hurt me again? No.

Does that mean they won't hurt me again? No.

Would it mean I would have to forgive a person more than once? Yes.

If I forgive a person do I actually have to like that person still or hang out with them? No.

Can I hate them? No.

If I forgive someone who has hurt me, does it release them from their sin? No.

God releases us from our sins when we repent, or turn away from them. We don't have the power to "release" another from their sin, just ourselves by choosing to forgive. They have to have their own conversation with God, and you can rest assured God's way of dealing with us, though loving and jam packed with GRACE, is going to be more painful heart-wise than anything we could even try to heap on another just by holding onto unforgiveness! Forgiveness does not equal no consequences...obviously if you murder someone you go to prison for it, but God will still forgive you...

So, then, they aren't off the hook? Not in the way our limited minds may think...but we are, even though we may have been the one wronged. There will always be accountability for our choices, even in the midst of forgiveness.

So, then, why would we be 'off' any hook if we didn't do the hurting in the first place? Because when we choose to forgive another person we experience, and are able to walk in, a freedom that's almost impossible to explain. Sometimes it's gradual, but forgiveness frees...it frees the forgiver.

Unforgiveness does not bring freedom...instead it invites one's own personal prison, and not only that, it opens the door to physical, emotional, and spiritual decay.

Unforgiveness is a destroyer, but only for the one that holds onto it...

But you don't understand:
  • My husband is addicted to porn...
  • My wife lied to me for years about her eating disorder...
  • My husband has been having sex with a friend of mine for months...
  • My wife treats me like a child and makes me feel like less of a person...
  • My husband is abusive...
  • My wife constantly compares me to every other man alive, I'll never be good enough...
  • My husband has a gambling addiction and now we are in debt over our heads...
  • My wife only loves me because of the lifestyle I provide her...
  • My husband is gone all the time for work so this friendship with this other man is just to fill the lonely hours...it's nothing, really...
  • My wife is an alcoholic...
  • My husband had an affair years ago but I just can't get over it...
  • My wife constantly criticizes me...
  • My husband constantly criticizes me...
  • My wife is a workaholic...
  • My husband is a workaholic...
  • My wife hasn't had sex with me in ages...she's completely frigid...
  • My husband has been sleeping with several women, most of our marriage...
  • My wife just told me she's leaving...
  • My husband just filed for divorce...
  • Insert "wife" or "husband" into any of the above situations or write in your own...
Any way you peel it, when the person we love the very most, the one we committed to on our wedding day, decides that holding up their end of the deal is just too much work and not worth the effort, what do we do? Where does that leave us?

"What the freak am I supposed to do with this unexpected scenario? I sure as hell know I'm not going to forgive the bastard/bee-otch! Over my dead body will I actually forgive them!"

And that's where my concern lies...over your dead body. Because, no matter how it may all turn out, no matter how much your heart may hurt, harboring unforgiveness in your heart toward your spouse only hurts you. We think it hurts the other person but in reality, unless they have apologized and expressed remorse, they aren't looking back so your attempt to hurt them through unforgiveness goes unnoticed. God has good in store for you. He designed you for greatness but unforgiveness holds you back from walking on that beautiful path...even a path lined with thorns.

I know, and have known, people who have chosen not to forgive. Some of them are physically sick. Others paranoid and "worse case scenario" card holders. Still others are so controlled by the very person who wronged them, even though that person is no longer in their life, because their thoughts are constantly directed at hating that other person. They want freedom but can't find it because they literally can't let go of the reality that they were wronged.

We've all been wronged. Each person on the face of the earth, at some point, will have their heart broken. It does hurt more when it's from someone we love. Obviously. It also hurts to know that we'll be the ones doing the hurting at some point.

But at the end of the day, will we choose to forgive? Will we also choose to humbly repent to those we have hurt? And if the answer to each of these is no, whether for you or the other person, know that we are responsible before God for ourselves...unfortunately we cannot force another person to make the right choice.

And that is where post numero 4 will come in...

4 comments:

  1. I sure am glad you're my friend.

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  2. Unforgiveness leaves us bitter. Believe me, I know. You are right on. God tells us to forgive. We have no control over the other person, but we are to control our thought patterns and actions. Hard work and I'm constantly learning from it. It's "Dear Lord, please change me." Not "Dear Lord, please change them." Thanks for this series.

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  3. deeply impacted, once again.
    thanks for writing this.
    xo,
    victoria
    p.s. love the belly shots. you are a gorgeous pregnant mama =)

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  4. I just read The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews, a story that weaves in forgiveness in such an incredible way. If you haven't read it, I totally recommend it. It's one of the few (2!) books I would want to buy in bulk and give to everyone I see. For me, it worked to bring a willingness to forgive a pretty humongous, life damaging, health altering wrong that was done to me. And nothing on earth has been able to get my heart to soften even a little to listen long enough to God about the importance of forgiving until this book caught my eye. I'm thinking it was no accident that I just happened to go the bookstore and just happened to see that book on the shelf. =)

    Thank you for writing all you do. Now that my heart is a bit softer, I'll be able to listen a lot better!

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