I encourage you to forgive the unforgivable.
Today I shall speak of those deepest pains which are often considered unforgivable. When considering the severest hurts and the practical implementation of forgiveness, remember that forgiveness:
- Does NOT mean legal action should never be pursued.
- Does NOT mean separation from a physically or emotionally abusive person should never happen.
- Does NOT mean that restoration is always possible.
- Does NOT mean that all moral and legal wrongs are completely overlooked and treated as if they never existed. This form of unbiblical passivity can lead to long term damage by a perpetrator who has no intention of stopping their abuse (Rom 13:3-4).
Even when an abuser is forgiven, you may not necessarily allow that person back into your trust or even fully release that person from the legal consequences of their sin (Crime dependent) – Much wisdom from the Lord is needed in such cases.
Unfortunately, some abusers are so twisted in their sin, that they view your forgiveness as an opportunity to abuse you all over again, or to gain access to other vulnerable people in your life. Forgiveness does NOT mean that you become a push over for anyone who wants to abuse you!
You see, forgiveness is not about getting personal justice, or vengeance, or even getting what you want. It’s about personally expressing God’s character, while letting God be God when dealing with the offender. It’s about trusting God’s justice more than man’s justice – His mercy in place of man’s anger.
Forgiveness is about setting the offender free from personal animosity and personally inflicted consequences. It’s about giving up your desire for your aggressor to hurt like you hurt. It’s about allowing God the freedom to save some offenders through salvation, should He choose – and NOT holding a grudge against God should He regenerate a sinner that has hurt you.
First and foremost, a Christian is one who has already confessed (1Jn 1:9) and been forgiven of their sin (Col 2:13) before holy God, that humanly speaking was unforgivable! As a forgiven sinner yourself, you are now equipped to do the same (Rom 5:5; Col 3:13).
Below are 4 daily disciplines which will assist to empower forgiveness:
- Design and verbalise forgiveness into your daily prayers (Mat 5:44).
- Be willing and ready to forgive a repentant person, losing count of offenses (Luk 17:3-4).
- Don’t let anger determine forgiveness (Eph 4:26).
- Resist gossip about and mentally replaying the offenses (Eph 4:31-32).
I conclude this mini-series with 6 practical characteristics of a forgiver from Romans 12:14-21
- Bless – do not return abuse. :14 ”Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”
- Empathise with others. :15 ”Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
- Live humility toward others. :16 ”Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
- Do not treat others as you are treated. :17-18 ”Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
- Trust God’s Justice. :19 ”Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Deu 32).
- Administer Mercy as God Does. :20-21 “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Pro 25:21-22)
Today, I encourage you to forgive the unforgivable, for God’s glory and everyone’s blessing. (Todays Pastor’s Pen is taken form the message “Forgiving the Unforgivable” which can be viewed on YouTube or listened to at bbf.net.nz)
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz