Most recently I have been fixated with blogging about food. Food of the body and not so much for expressing my love of creation in art (photography) nor sharing some insights from my pastoral work. Both I may add I am fully employed in on a weekly basis.
Some subjects fall too close to home for comfort and need time to consider and almost mediate upon, if not pray about. One such subject is forgiveness. The Lord’s Prayer is quite clear on how to achieve forgiveness: one has to forgive others first!
The onus is placed upon us to do the right thing with an open, honest and repenting spirit, heart or conscience. Far too many times I read of defendants who are “truly sorry” or “acted out of character” and have “many social problems”. I wonder sometimes how many of these are “truly sorry for getting caught”?
In the same way let us not confuse forgiveness and repentance. The act of forgiveness is the injured party abolishing the burden of guilt from those who have wronged them. They in turn have realised their evil ways and are truly sorry for what has been done. The Bible does not give us the right to continue the hurt or hostility towards the wrongdoer beyond the point of repentance…
“Luke 17 The Message (MSG)
17 1-2 He said to his disciples, “Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on! Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!
3-4 “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.””
The only issue is when the repentance is false, corrupt and intended to be for betterment. A child who spends his or her time avoiding parents but “makes peace” in the parents twilight days in the hope of benefiting from an inheritance.
What if you say “I’ve heard it all before!” Repentance until the next time someone cannot get their own way. The next time someone rewrites history to help them seem to be the injured party. How hurtful for the genuine innocent. What does the Bible say on this? Are we still compelled to forgive? What if this behaviour causes us serious emotional, physical and spiritual harm? Are we merely to roll over and accept this callous, evil and sadistic behaviour? I think the Letter to the Romans says it quite aptly…
“Romans 16:17-18 The Message (MSG)
17-18 One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.”
Therefore I conclude the best way to move forward is…
“Matthew 27:24 The Message (MSG)
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.””