Archive for November 9th, 2010
Forgiveness can be a complex issue, especially when it comes to deep or ongoing hurt. There’s definitely more to discuss than I had time to last Sunday, so here are some answers to common questions about forgiveness from Ray Pritchard’s, The Healing Power of Forgiveness.
How would you describe forgiveness?
We discussed this already a little bit in this post, but Pritchard has some helpful word pictures that he got from John Nieder and Thomas Thompson:
To forgive is to turn the key, open the cell door, and let the prisoner walk free.
To forgive is to write in large letters across a debt, “Nothing owed.”
To forgive is to shoot an arrow so high and far that it can never be found again.
To forgive is to bundle up all the garbage and trash and dispose of it, leaving the house clean and fresh.
To forgive is to grant a full pardon to a condemned criminal.
To forgive is to relax a stranglehold on a wrestling opponent.
To forgive is to sandblast a wall of graffiti, leaving it looking like new.
To forgive is to smash a clay pot into a thousand pieces so it can never be pieced together again.
Sometimes when we say we can’t or won’t forgive, we are actually talking about something other than biblical forgiveness. Let me list a few things forgiveness does not mean:
1. It does not mean approving of what someone else did.
2. It does not mean pretending that evil never took place.
3. It does not mean making an excuse for other people’s bad behavior.
4. It does not mean justifying evil so that sin somehow becomes less sinful.
5. It does not mean overlooking abuse.
6. It does not mean denying that others tried to hurt you repeatedly.
7. It does not mean letting others walk all over you.
8. It does not mean refusing to press charges when a crime has been committed.
9. It does not mean forgetting the wrong that was done.
10. It does not mean pretending you were never hurt.
11. It does not mean you must restore the relationship to what it was before.
12. It does not mean you must become friends again.
13. It does not mean there must be a total reconciliation as if nothing ever happened.
14. It does not mean that you must tell the person you have forgiven them.
15. It does not mean that all the negative consequences of sin are canceled.
Why do you think these are important distinctions?