Clarified Concepts Related to an Understanding & Application of Biblical Forgiveness #6

by adustyframe ~ October 28th, 2007

What a title! I’m just continuing to copy the notes from Family Camp and that’s what he called it!

Understanding how to think correctly about Biblical forgiveness–especially the difference between judicial punishment and personal forgiveness.

The apology:Nine essential words 

There are nine essential words found in a sincere request for forgiveness; a sincere apology.

*I was wrong.

*I am sorry.

*Will you forgive me?

Why are these words–these three concepts essential?

*Offender needs to take responsibility.

*Offender needs to apologize.

*Offender needs to restore the relationship.

Some apology texts:

Saul who excuses, blames, and justifies. I Samuel 15:17-29

David who repents Psalm 51:1-9

Sin/Wrong: Two aspects

 Judicial punishment

 *Requires punishment for the offense.

*Respects right and wrong.

Personal Forgiveness

*Requires a choice on the part of the offended.

*Relinquishes one’s choice of vengeance; “to get even”.

Our focus: Personal Forgiveness 

Stages of Personal Forgiveness–a work in progress

*Rediscover the offender’s humanity.  The offender is a person created in the image of God.

*Surrender the choice to get even. This is our Biblical responsibility. The offended one recognizes the choice to forgive. It is a mark of God’s grace that we can even do this.

*Revise our feelings.

The offended one consciously chooses love-motivated and grace-filled feelings.

Didn’t God do this for us? Yes, it takes work.

Aspects of Personal Forgiveness 

Understand that personal forgiveness..

*Is an inside-out process. It is not passive. We choose in our minds and hearts to forgive.

*Is not about a reunion. (Lots of large myths out there.)

*Does not obligate one to return to the situation.

*Does not automatically mean restoration of relationship, community, or fellowship. There is no Biblical obligation to have the person remain in or become a part of your life.

“You can’t talk yourself out of something you behaved yourself into” 

Saying I’m sorry doesn’t always cut it. The offender often must behave in ways that show the sincerity of their words.

Obstacles to reunion: Repentance & Restitution.  Restitution is not a synonym for vengeance.

 Personal Forgiveness does NOT mean we…

*Tolerate wrong!

*Forget what happened.

*Excuse the person who did the offense.

*Take the edge off of the evil perpetrated.

*Surrender the right to justice.

*Invite someone to hurt us again.

*Forgive and forget.

We do remember the bad things others have done to us. The central issue is not to forget, but what to do when I remember how a person has wronged me.

It is important that we do not make a simplistic connection between forgiving and forgetting. True forgiveness requires a careful look at what has actually happened to us.  Gary Inrig Discover the Power and Reality of Authentic Christian Forgiveness.

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. The Art of Forgiving. Lewis B. Smedes

We do remember how that wrong has been an offense against the standard of God.

In Genesis 50:15-19, both Joseph and his brothers remembered the harm inflicted so many years earlier. While his brothers choose to remember the evil of their behaviour, Joseph chose the hope of this perspective: “God intended it for good.”

Personal forgiveness enables the choice of hope for a better future. Therefore, we are able to…

*Remember the good parts of the bad past.

*Remember the past with truth. (As it was and as God has graced us to handle it.)

*Remember with a new respect for ourselves (having been enabled by God to forgive as God commands.)

*Remember with sadness. (It was a real hurt with real pain.)

*Remember without illusions (Fantasies of what cannot be, but with hope and contentment in what can be with God’s help.)

It will never be the same again, but I have hope of becoming what God wants me to be. God is there. He has a plan. He sees my cares.

Are you making any progress in your steps toward Biblical thinking about forgiveness?

I Peter 1:3-11  

You can have confidence that when God enables you to forgive, it is an evidence in your life that you are a Christian.

What have we learned from looking at clarifying concepts?

*A sincere apology includes three concepts:

I was wrong, I am sorry, please forgive me

*Personal forgiveness requires a choice on the part of the offended one to relinquish one’s choice of vengeance; “to get even”.

*Relinquishing one’s choice of vengeance does not change the wrong of the offense, many of it’s consequences, or state of estrangement.

*One must forgive and remember with a renewed choice of hope for a better future.

I personally was blessed during this part of the series. He cleared up some pervasive myths on forgiveness and helped me to realize some things that were a great blessing to me.

I also think we’d all do well to pay attention to what is required in a sincere apology.

More to follow…


2 Thoughts Shared to Clarified Concepts Related to an Understanding & Application of Biblical Forgiveness #6

  1. Christy

    Thank you for sharing this, Lizzie. It was helpful to me.

  2. Jenn

    This is a topic that really strikes home for me. Something that I am continuously working on and need reminding of from time to time.

    It’s easy to just say “Sorry.” But there’s a lot more to it, isn’t there!

    Thanks for sharing.

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