One of my team members and I were talking about forgiveness the other day and he was sharing some of his thoughts on the matter. I asked his permission to post his thoughts here.
by Patrick Lightfoot, Adult Minister, Journey Christian Church
Why is forgiveness so difficult? Because it involves people’s hearts. Forgiving others I believe is one of the most challenging callings in a Christian’s life. Paul writes to the church in Colossae, “ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive”. We have been commanded to forgive and it is much easier said than done.
I have been reading a book called, Attachments, Why You Love, Feel, and Act the Way You Do, by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Gary Sibcy. The book has been eye-opening, as I have had to reflect on my childhood, how I was raised, and how these relationships have shaped me. During my reading this morning I read the following about forgiveness misconceptions:
The three most common misconceptions about forgiveness are:
- “If I forgive, it means that I’m condoning the act.” No. Forgiveness begins with righteous anger, an acknowledgement that the offense was wrong and that it hurts you.
- “To forgive means I must forget—and I can never forget.” This is also false. Forgiveness does not mean you forget anything. You just give up the right to replay the event, and you stop wishing for revenge.
- “If I forgive, I become a doormat; I’m saying it’s okay for people to walk over me.” This is blatantly false. While you don’t hold the injury against the offender any longer, forgiveness does not mean you give him or her, or anyone else, a license to walk all over you.
Forgiveness is a one-way process. It requires you to give up your anger and your desire for revenge. Are you ready to give up your anger and desire for revenge towards those you need to forgive?