Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Five Myths about ForgivenessHow little we hear such things when we hear sermons about forgiveness. What we hear is that the pain is supposed to go away, like the offense never happened? How often does the pain-causer use forgiveness as excuse to keep on causing pain? Which brings me to Storms last truth about forgiveness:
1. Contrary to what many have been led to believe, forgiveness is not forgetting.
2. Forgiving someone does not mean you no longer feel the pain of their offense.
3. Forgiving someone who has sinned against you doesn’t mean you cease longing for justice.
4. Forgiveness does not mean you are to make it easy for the offender to hurt you again.
5. Forgiveness is rarely a one-time, climactic event.
5. God forgave us in Christ by reconciling us to himself, by restoring the relationship that our sin had shattered.Does forgiveness, particularly under the myths Storms has described allow for restored relationship? Yes, we are forgiven, but is our relationship with Christ restored, if we do not stop, or at least try to stop - confessing when we do not actually stop, causing Him the pain that our sin gives Him? Does God not have as much right to protect Himself from our misconduct as we do from the misconduct of others?
Relationships are two-way streets. I know, salvation, eternity, all that. Frankly, I have no idea who God will "finally save in heaven," as my grandfather used to say in every mealtime prayer - I can't know that. I am not God, I have neither His knowledge nor His wisdom, nor even the capability to obtain them. But I do at least see NOW as in a mirror dimly.
Relying on God's blessed forgiveness now must have consequences in my life now, or I can have no assurance of it. I must struggle to reach out to God as much as He has struggled to reach out to me, or at least as much as my feeble capabilities will allow, to KNOW that I am forgiven.
Anything else is a cheat - and it hurts God.