Published on August 21, 2014
There has to be a line drawn on the generosity of our spirit somewhere. Seven times, Lord? There was a man who said, “ In the church I grew up in, every Sunday the minister ’ s sermon ended with the same message. Whatever dilemma he was talking about, his conclusion was it could be resolved by God ’ s forgiveness. And like God, we were supposed to forgive. But when do you stand up and say – that is unforgivable? When do you say – that ’ s too much? ” For the woman whose husband left her and she doesn ’ t feel like forgiving. She ’ s enraged, furious and irate and when the pastor says to forgive she ’ s thinking – you didn ’ t go through what I ’ ve gone through. For the mom and dad who lost a child to a drunk driver. Or the wife who is battered by the husband. Or the teenager who has never known his dad because he left when he was two years old. How do you forgive that? How often do you forgive that – seven times, Lord? Maybe it ’ s best to think about what forgiveness is not. Drs. Sidney and Suzanne Simon wrote a book called Forgiveness and they share a list of what forgiveness is not. I ’ ve put a few of these in my own words: Forgiveness is not forgetting . Memories of our past are there for a reason. They help us to learn. So we don ’ t repeat mistakes we have made. Forgiveness is not approving . When we forgive someone we are not saying it is alright for you to do this to me. Forgiveness is not denying, minimizing, justifying or condoning the actions that harmed us. Forgiveness is not pardoning . When we forgive we are not absolving a person of responsibility or accountability for their actions. Forgiveness is not a form of martyrdom . We are not to bottle up our emotions or feelings or deny our hurt. Forgiveness is on the other hand something something we do for selfish reasons.