Saturday, March 3, 2007

Forgiveness

DH's counselor loaned him a DVD on "Forgiveness." At first I didn't want to watch it. The topic of forgiveness makes me mad. In all the books I've read on abuse and related topics (and there have been many), I usually gloss over or skip entirely, the part on forgiveness. So we put the DVD in and the first 10 minutes really made me mad. But just as I was ready to walk out, the speaker started talking about myths about Christian forgiveness. Some of the points, especially, really struck me.

1. If we are mature believers, we must forgive quickly/immediately. This is not true. It is okay to take time to process the wrong. You don't want to minimize the wrong but saying "it's okay" or "I forgive you" too quickly.

2. If I forgive, I must forget. This is not true. Sometimes it is not safe to forget. Sometimes it is stupid to forget. Banks "forgive" loans all the time. They realize it is an uncollectible debt and they give up trying to collect. But they don't "forget" - they, and ever other bank in town, will refuse to loan money to you for many years.

3. If we’re going to forgive something, we’re going to make it okay. (I have to act as if it doesn’t matter). This is not true. Forgiveness does not mean that you have no scars. God doesn’t turn what is even, sinful, wrong into something good by forgiving us. There are still consequences of sin.

4. Reconciliation v. Forgiveness. These are not one and the same. Forgiveness is personal. It is something I do unilaterally. It does not require the other person's involvement. Forgiveness is something God asks us to do (with His help). Reconciliation is bi-lateral. It requires the other person's involvement. Reconciliation is good, but not required - God doesn't require us to do something that requires the other person to act in a certain way.

So what I have learned is that I need to give up this feeling of "needing to forgive" now, soon, immediately. IF I get to forgiveness, I do not need to forget. If I forgive, it doesn't make it okay. If I forgive, it doesn't need to involve Toilet or Mom at all. It is a unilateral thing.

I'm still nowhere near even approaching this subject. But I wanted to get the notes out there to come back too.........someday.

1 comment:

Tina said...

I think being able to watch that video - to give a small amount of time and thought about forgiveness - is a HUGE step for you.

I am sure there was a time where that word would not even cross your mind. But the fact that you can think about a time when you MIGHT be able to forgive is a good, positive sign for you.