WEIRD FORGIVENESS (Third Part)
In Part One the idea of strange justice with criminals where the perp is not charged with harming an individual, but with breaking a LAW. The result is that criminals are now thought of as victims of the legal system. I’m sure you have many thoughts about that. As a bonus I refer you to the Michigan case where a man had a dream of building his own brewery. He used all of his own savings and worked weekends and evenings to purchase and build the facilities. It was just a few months from completion when a couple 13-year-olds broke every window and door, damaged equipment and poured sand into every tank. He lost everything. He has no money to re-build. The criminals? They will get a slap on the wrist. They will repay nothing. It is unlikely they will apologize. They ruined a man’s dream. That is not justice.
In Part Two we reviewed a short list of FALSE apologies. Learn the lesson that your own apologies should be of a higher standard than those.
Secondly in Part Two, we mentioned that not all things can be forgiven by humans. Somehow forgiveness teachers have forgotten that humans are finite. This is important. Therefore, these teachers often “proof-text” their way into pressuring their readers to forgive every sin against them. Have they not read the Psalms? King David took to God EVERY thing he could not do alone. He asked God to defeat his many foes. He asked God to deal ferociously with his detractors. He asked God to put to shame those who had offended him. When it is humanly impossible to forgive, it is time to hand it to God. It is my belief that some who are beyond human grace may also be beyond God’s grace. Someone who deserves vengeance should be given to the One who says: “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay.” (Do you think God gets angry when an adult sexually abuses a child? I do.)
DANGERS of NOT forgiving which we need to know…
1) Of least importance, yet of highest immediate consequence, is what not forgiving can do to one’s own physical and mental health. Carrying a grudge often causes much physical and emotional distress (see above).
2) Of greater importance is what an unforgiving attitude can do to spiritual health. My sense of goodness and holiness will be negatively affected. As a God-believer, I know that my relationship with Him can suffer when I am not WILLING to forgive as I have been forgiven. This is the point where I have the most trouble with those who talk about forgiveness. They push people to forgive everybody at “no cost” to the offender. I believe that is OK for the guy who cuts me off in traffic, or the boss who promoted someone else ahead of me…but someone who intentionally harmed me… If God requires the sinner to repent, admit wrong, and/or ask for forgiveness, … and I am following God’s example, how can that be wrong? That is, after all, exactly “as God forgave me.” In speaking with those who promote “forgive everyone at no cost” I have asked about this concept of following God’s lead, and have received no satisfying answers. I do pray for those offenders. I ask God’s direction. In a few cases I have been able to forgive others at “no cost.” Eugene has my forgiveness, but he never sought it…he probably continued his entire life not being true to his word…forgiveness or not, his life was not changed at all by my gift. He certainly is not going to Heaven just because I forgave him for not returning my nickel.
Sometimes Forgiving is the WRONG thing to do.
1) As I mentioned in an earlier segment, you should NOT forgive something which is not yours to forgive. A wrong to my child, for example, may also be a wrong to myself. While I may forgive the hurt it caused ME, I do not have the right to forgive the hurt caused to my child. That is not mine to forgive. The perpetrator will have to seek peace for that harm elsewhere. In the same vein, a person who offended several people cannot have my forgiveness for his offenses to others, only those against me.
2) The perpetrator who STILL harbors the intent to harm me shall not receive my forgiveness. If it is clear that he or she is hateful and will continue to find ways to make me or others suffer, I cannot in good conscience release him or her from responsibility; forgiveness should not open the door to perpetual victim-hood. (This evil person is God’s problem, not mine.)
3) If you are using the event of giving forgiveness to force the offender to apologize…just don’t!!! It will turn out badly almost always. Satisfaction will not be had. It just sets you up for deeper hurt.
1) Helping someone to work through the process is a good thing, but it is wrong impose your will. Each individual must be free to choose the act. Pushing another to forgive may cause additional harm. Further, the offender himself has no right to insist you forgive (that is merely another way to control you). The only proper act by the offender is to apologize.
2) Second, you are NOT “the bigger person” by choosing to forgive. That is because there is often more value in the act for YOU than for the other. (Value is not the same as “cost” that I discussed earlier.) One cannot claim the moral high ground while, at the same time, receiving the greater benefit. Some possible benefits are included below…
3) Forgiving does not mean you forget. That is always the hope. Some things do need to be forgotten. However, never allow forgiving to return you to a place where you can be re-victimized. Usually after granting forgiveness you should remain wary and vigilant.
WHY FORGIVE?: What is your NEED that is being met when you forgive?
Any of these may be worth giving up the painful memories and anxiety.
I strongly believe there should ALWAYS be a positive value for the one extending grace!!! I AM SERIOUS!!! In fact, it should give you something that it will not give the one who harmed you. You are in control, it is your gift, it is in your power to gift yourself at the same instant you are gifting the offender. Forgiving should de-victimize you.
Copyright 2023 Donald Whelpley
MORE OF DON’S GREAT GUEST POSTS:
~ Weird Forgiveness II ~ Weird Forgiveness I ~ Classified Documents ~ Future You Needs A Friend ~ Feeling Understood ~
~ Starting The New Year Right ~ Awe! Aah! Ooh! ~ Christmas As A Poor (Rich) Child ~ Bigger Problems ~
~ Blessing ~ Climate Change – 2 ~ Medical Science Too Far? ~ Gravity and Light ~ Travel Fun ~
~ Fascinating People: Gloria Hartman Doughty ~ Sadly Magic Words ~ Mulberries ~ Climate Change? ~
~ SPURIOUS UBIQUITOUS NOISE ~ TEW ~ Credit Card Debt ~ Insect Oddities ~ DATA ~ Cities Got Name? ~
~ The Bible Does Not Say That! ~ Too Old?? ~ Be My Guest ~ IN-CRE-MEN-TAL-ISM ~ Bad Friends & Broken Tools ~
~ Pools Are For The Birds?? ~ Animals Hindering Your Financial Freedom ~ The Chicken ~ Finding The Exit ~
~ Allegheny Blackberries ~ Romantic Sunset At The Beach ~ Fun Facts About Carpenter Ants ~ Bad Habits ~
~ Doing Faith Wrong ~ Quirky! ~ Ten-Foot Trestle ~ Settling Estates ~ Living In High Horse Country ~ The Dying Generation ~