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Friday, September 6, 2013

Consider: Forgiveness RJD Sept. 2013


                                                                                                                 
Journal Entry January 18, 2004

“The Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’” Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)



The issue of forgiveness is a thorny one at best. People grow tired of being used and abused by their “friends” and “family.” They begin to build walls between themselves and those who cause the hurt. Sometimes the hurting ones feel they have to accept the stress and pain “because that’s the way they are!” Others who are hurt live with the circumstances because “he or she family.”
Jesus tells us through his reply to Peter that we have to forgive not once, not twice, not even three or four times, but as many times as it takes.
I can only forgive those who hurt me through Jesus. I say this because I cannot confront those people because 1.) They don’t believe they did anything wrong or anything to hurt me. Or 2.) They think they can do these things because “that’s who I am.”
Right now, I have to ask Jesus to forgive those persons who hurt me continually. I know they don’t even know their behavior causes me pain.

Father, please show me how I can do this forgiving when they don’t know  their part in hurting me. AMEN   

UPDATE: I have learned that it takes a lot of grace to forgive people continually. I believe I have made progress with this issue. I’m not perfect but I have found it easier to ask God to deal with the problematic thoughts of those around me. I learned this very well last month.


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12 comments:

  1. Cecelia, thanks so much for sharing from your heart and journey. It really is only possible to forgive the way you are saying with the grace we ourselves have received from Jesus. So you are absolutely right.

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    1. Thank you for stopping in and reflecting on this issue. Something happened in our neighborhood yesterday that has made this forgiveness issue very real to me.

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  2. Wow! This is a hard one, but as you say it is only Jesus who can forgive through us...Thanks for sharing this heartfelt issue from your journal.

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    1. Kel: Thank you for stopping by my blog. Feel free to stop in when you can. I usually post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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  3. You're so right. This is the hardest part of living/walking with Christ. I never quite master it. I wonder if it's why Jesus told His disciples explicitly to 'forgive as you have been forgiven...' He knows who we are. Thanks for being so honest about this struggle.

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    1. I fully understand the part about not quite mastering this forgiveness. I had to realize that I hadn't forgiven a person last evening when I heard of a neighborhood happening that reminded me of a young man who was working in our church. I shared the event and my recognition of the lack of forgiveness on my part at a time of prayer at church this morning. It is a struggle.

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  4. Forgiveness...something we are commanded to do, and something we have been given so freely from our Lord, and yet we often find it so difficult to do...to forgive others as well as ourselves. Yeah, something we have to let Jesus do through us and then it becomes a little easier each time. Even when we have to do it over and over and over. What a powerful word, Forgiveness! Thank you for this reminder today.

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    1. Pamela: You are welcome. I used to teach my son that Jesus forgives us and we should forgive others.He told his dad that phrase one time time his dad overreacted about something our son couldn't help.

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  5. Forgiveness is an topic I think a lot about. Last year, I had a discussion on forgiveness with someone in my Bible study class, and he made two points that make a lot of sense. Specifically, I asked him how to be a good Christian without being a doormat. He said that we are commanded to love as Christians, but we must consider that "tough love" is a type of love. He said that we can forgive someone in our heart, while respectfully distancing ourselves from that abusive or harassing person. He said that to continue being a "sitting duck" only keeps the person from realizing growth is necessary.

    I also asked him if true forgiveness was possible without true repentance; his answer was "no." He explained that, as Christians, we must repent of our sins and turn our hearts toward God to be forgiven. So grace is there for us, but we must repent and accept it first. If there were no need for repentance on our part, God's forgiveness would be automatic and there would be no one excluded from the Kingdom. Similarly, we can extend forgiveness all we want to an aggressor, but if that aggressor has no remorse for his offense, the relationship will not be mended and we will not be in communion with this aggressor.

    Anyway, this is an insightful topic to explore. One book I'd recommend on Christian values, forgiveness, and boundaries is Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. One article on balancing forgiveness and justice I'd recommend is "Seventy Times Seven" by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker, http://www.osv.com/tabid/7631/itemid/9481/Seventy-Times-Seven.aspx.

    Can you tell I think a lot about this topic? ;-) Thanks for this post, Cecelia!

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    1. Janette: Thanks for stopping in.Thank you for your very wise thoughts. We all deal with forgiveness as we walk our path with Christ.

      I have had to practice the forgiveness that goes through Christ and then had to curtail fellowship with someone. I don't usually talk about it because a lot of people don't understand how much it hurt me and that person couldn't or wouldn't take any of the responsibility for the hurt.

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  6. Well said. Really good post. And you are right. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, and it frees us and the other party so that God can move in lives in mighty ways.

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    1. MM: Thank you for stopping by.Thank you for the kind words.

      Please feel free to drop in whenever you can. I have posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.

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