Conversation on Forgiveness

j0178785We deal with forgiveness issues almost daily at our house.  I am trying to instruct my children regarding what biblical forgiveness “looks like” in reality, and a couple of instances have been before me for months. 

Sometimes I battle with granting forgiveness because I have an inflated sense of entitlement, and sometimes it is because the circumstances or offenses are simply hurtful to bear.  Sometimes it is my wounded pride that gets in the way when there is an unfounded accusation.  What I am learning is that forgiveness is a process, not merely a choice.  

I have been trying to make my way through “Choosing Forgiveness” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  It is an excellent treatment of this topic that so many of us struggle with, whether or not we openly acknowledge it.  What I appreciate about her book is that she targets most every scripture passage there is regarding forgiveness in order to understand the players and the process.   It is so crucial to look at scripture for the answers to these deep heart issues.  Our emotions skew our judgement, and, our judgement is skewed by the deceitfulness of our hearts.  We have no other reliable recourse but the living, discerning Word.

Recently on the Sharper Iron blog I had a brief discussion with an online friend (her own blog is here , and I discovered she is talking about this idea as well–go see) that went like this:

One passage that I have been meditating on is Luke 7:36-50. In this passage the Lord forgives the sinful woman of her sins. The phrase that won’t leave my mind is what Jesus says “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven-for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” How forgiveness and love are intermingled is something that will not leave my thoughts. Yet the forgiveness and grace the Lord gives us is motivated by love.

My reply:

Thanks for the response…exactly the type of thing I am looking for. In a book I am reading on this topic of forgiveness, it is this very thing…an overwhelming love for, and sense of desperate indebtedness to the Lord…that enables folks to grant forgiveness, even to the most heinous and “undeserving”. I know I am forgetful too often that my own heart is routinely and thoroughly “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”. This is one of those passages that puts our sinful hearts under the microscope.

Forgiveness is an easy thing to talk about when it is third-person.  When it is in supposition, or in giving advice to someone else.  But when you are faced with a situation that is blatantly unjust, and you are on the receiving end (or someone you love is), it morphs into a whole ‘nother thing.  That is when we need to get back to the old, old, Book and see ourselves in the mirror of its pages.  Know that every day I am granted the precious balm of forgiveness–pardon from my Father for my “crimes of deepest dye”.  We are all so prone to wander…to leave the God we love.  The one who needs my (or your) forgiveness is just as hopeless and helpless in his or her own sinfulness, whether knowingly or not. 

I think we’ll talk more about this in coming posts.  This is an important issue, and a particularly slippery and treacherous one.

God loves, heals, forgives.  He can enable you as well.  Prayer is fundamental to this process.  We need to know God’s purposes and fulfill them, not simply accomplish our own agenda.  Ask Him to help.

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