Sunday, March 25, 2018

Forgiveness: Just How Simple or Complicated Is It?

by Desiree Hope

Sitting in her high place of self-righteousness, Cheryl's aunt blurted out in a scoff-like tone, "You have to forgive!"

She was always telling others what they should do or what she wouldn't do if she were them. An ex-friend from my high school days was the same way. Quite frankly, she was annoying.

One component and prerequisite of forgiveness is acknowledging the wrong, taking responsibility for it and then 'asking' for forgiveness. Otherwise, what real purpose does forgiveness serve?

Do you think Yahushua just went around forgiving people for the sake of forgiveness? No. He did not. The sinner had to be made aware of and take ownership of their sin as to know NOT to do it again.

I'm reminded of a situation in which a husband had committed adultery and a couple of other sinful acts. The 'other woman' came looking for the wife, not knowing she was the wife, because the husband had lied and told the other woman that hiswife of seven years was actually his sister whom he was temporarily living with. 
Of course, the truth came out when the two women met. The other woman had driven the wife's car over to the couple's house. The husband had kept the other woman's vehicle out all night, which is why she went to the married couple's house looking for him to begin with.This was a rare instance in that the wife was a God-fearing woman. She didn't become hostile with the other woman, but invited her inside for a talk.  Afterwards, the wife drove the woman home. 
Later, when the husband came home, his wife said nothing right away. She wanted to make sure she was in a calm frame of mind. Meanwhile, the other woman came back looking for her vehicle. It was parked in the driveway. She knew the husband was home.
He went outside where a loud exchange erupted. They said some ugly things to each other. He threw the keys at her. She grabbed them up, got into her van, threatened to report him to his military superiors, and sped off.
The husband NEVER acknowledged his wrongdoing. He never said he was 'sorry' for betraying the marriage and causing the confusion. Instead he was arrogant and self-indulging.

In this case, the injured party chose to quietly leave the marriage. He refused to divorce her, and that was fine. She just knew that if he was unwilling to acknowledge his wrong and asks for forgiveness, it meant that he didn't feel he had done anything wrong. Or he didn't care that he had done wrong. When people don't feel they've done anything wrong, they're more likely to repeat the offense.

The biblical forgiveness principle sets a precedent of acknowledging, confessing and taking responsibility for one's actions. If the offender never acknowledges or takes ownership of their bad decision, then where does forgiveness fit?

This is a time for YAH to judge between actions. He sees and knows the whole story. And He has compassion for the injured party, granting them their heart's desire to let go and move on without holding a grudge.

However, when both parties are hard-hearted, stiffnecked and bitter, then, unfortunately, they will both endure the hardship of chastisement.

If the offender refuses to acknowledge their wrong, shake the dust off your feet. Pray to the Father and tell Him your desire for Him to be the judge in the matter, since the two of you are unable to settle it.

When one is willing and the other is unwilling, there is no place for forgiveness in its purest form. The injured party simply decides not to hold a grudge, which is, in essence, a demonstration of forgiveness.

In this case, the offender leaves themselves open for severe chastisement, depending on the particulars of the infraction.

So when self-righteous individuals sit on the sidelines and tell you "you have to forgive", let their voice fade in the wind. Loud-mouth busybodies have no clout. Their words mean nothing. Their judgment means nothing because they know nothing of your ordeal. Only YAH knows. And He's a righteous judge.

Forgiveness is both simple and complicated.

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