What does it mean to forgive? Who is forgiveness directed toward?
Many of us as Christians have assumed that forgiveness was our responsibility, as if it was something that we could do, but apart from Christ we can do nothing, including forgive. So, our "response – ability", is a response to Christ's ability. We are to be “available” to his grace, “avail-ourselves-to-his-ability.”
Some would suggest, that when someone has hurt or offended us, that we should go to that person and “try to make it right” with them, suggesting forgiveness is resolving all conflict.
Just because another person is offended by what we might have done or said, it does not necessarily mean that we have been offensive or wrong (sinful). There is a difference between “giving offence” by an unkind action, and the other person “taking offense” because of their own selfish/sinful response, often thinking that they did not get what they wanted from the other person.
Our being offensive and “giving offense” would warrant personal repentance, allowing Jesus Christ to forgive us for our offense, and then asking forgiveness from the other person whom we offended.
But when we act faithfully as a vessel of Christ and the other person “takes offense” due to their own touchiness or selfishness, then trying to confess sin and seek forgiveness from God is unwarranted (not possible). We might admit that we are “sorry” and chagrined that offence was taken, and allow the Reconciler dwelling within us to seek to reconcile the relationship, but the one “taking offense” is the party who needs to seek forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
The key to forgiveness in the Christian life is to realize that the divine forgiver Jesus Christ lives within the Christian and he will always be the provision and source of true forgiveness towards others.
Forgiveness is primarily between the offended (you) and God, not the offender. Christ is the forgiver and has already forgiven everyone at the cross, once for all. Forgiveness is to experience relationship with Christ. Your willingness to forgive is to participate with Christ (the forgiver) toward your offender.
Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Relationships are based upon love and love is the result of trust. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment and the offense and turn them over to God, but without true change, no real relationship can be established. So, forgiveness does not require you to trust or to pretend what your offender did never happened? Trust is based on "track record," - behavior. Either someone consistently allows for the character of Christ to be expressed through their behavior or they are not trustworthy. Christ's character is the only trustworthy character and we do not produce character but derive it.
Forgiving our offender doesn't make them trustworthy. Each person’s choices reveal who they are and who they are deriving from? Christ is the only One who is trustworthy and worthy of our trust, and therefore, only the person (Christian) who allows the trustworthy character of Christ to be manifest in and through them – can we trust.
Focus on Christ and forgive – experiencing Christ's loving trustworthy embrace.
Don Burzynski #CrossLifeVero #forgiveness
Tuesday, April 11, 2017