Forgiveness is a life sentence

Listening to RT Kendall speak this morning on the subject of forgiveness has given me a lot of food for thought. I realise that my perception of what it means to truly forgive is considerably short of Gods expectation of us. I have some work to do, but today I stood up and made the commitment to forgive in a way that I haven’t in the past.

Joseph (Genesis 45) has shown us what it means to forgive, by graciously forgiving his brothers. There are many lessons to be learned on how he dealt with his brothers after the ordeal that they put him through several years earlier.

I’ve written up my notes below, in the hope that I can regularly refer to the challenge that I have committed to.

These are the proof that you have totally forgiven:

1. You don’t tell anyone about what the person has done to you. With the exception of:

  • One (and only one) person to confide in.
  • If the law has been broken, in the interests of protecting wider society.

2. You must keep no record of wrongs. No score sheets. Don’t bring up past. Don’t throw things back in their face.

3. Don’t let them feel guilty. Never tell someone that you forgive them, unless the specifically ask you for forgiveness. They often don’t realise what they have done; forgive them anyway. Don’t let them be afraid of you.

4. Let them save face.

5. Protect them from their darkest secret. Assure them that no one will ever know from you.

6. Total forgiveness is a life sentence. You have to do it for the rest of your life, even in the knowledge that you may get hurt again. Don’t expect them to change.

7. Complete forgiveness is when you bless them.

There is much here for me to work on!

As Jesus has taught us to pray, “forgive our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us”. Matthew 6:12.

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