Does True Forgiveness Require Your Death?
What is Biblical ? How do we find it?
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If we are in Messiah, daily dying to our old self, living in the promise of our new life should be our focus- right? It may not come with ease, but let us strive in that direction daily.
According to Paul, baptism is training to – dying to sin and our old self – being raised into Messiah.
My late cousin, Gary Linden often spoke about “TP” (torture practice). Any injuries, of which he suffered many; he embraced joyfully, TP. This is a great way to embrace emotional injuries also. It may at times feel torturous practicing Biblical forgiveness.
Biblical Forgiveness and Grace
Biblical forgiveness and grace from the Messiah should encourage us to a new perspective on such experiences as betrayal, rejection, unkindness, hurts, etc.
Most of us have been
-both a victim and a victimizer
-both a betrayer and the betrayed
Messiah’s true forgiveness and grace give us a fresh and grace-filled perspective.
How? Hope! for a new future in Him!
What is Biblical forgiveness?
- is it primarily an absolution from guilt?
- or is it primarily for the restoration and reconciliation of communion and brokenness?
Is Biblical forgiveness confined to:
-a word spoken
-a feeling felt
-an action to be completed
-a way of life to be lived faithfully in YHVH’s kingdom?
We are called to Biblical forgiveness and that includes unlearning patterns of sinful behavior. AND striving for reconciliation wherever there is brokenness in our life.
And, Friends, if that is the kind of true forgiveness Yeshua/Jesus is asking of us, then, without a doubt, this does require our death.
Dietriech Bonhoeffer and Cheap Grace
Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who eventually died at the hands of the Nazis, daily walked, studied and embodied true forgiveness. The Biblical Scriptures on forgiveness were his life.
“The petition for the kingdom is not the begging of the anxious soul for its’ own salvation. It is not Christian trimmings to be used by those who would reform the world. It is rather the petition of the battling and suffering congregation in the world on behalf of the human race, asking that God fully manifest His glory in it” Bonhoeffer, Thy Kingdom Come
Bonhoeffer spoke against ‘cheap grace’.
And he admonished the following as cheap grace:
-forgiveness without requiring repentance.
-baptism without discipline.
-communion without confession.
-absolution without personal confession.
Cheap grace isn’t really about the deliverance for the sinner. It asks nothing of the sinner – no change in the way of living, no need to die or rise with the Messiah.
Bonhoeffer concludes “cheap grace, therefore, amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.”
He was quite aware that the church in his day, had, for the most part, been unable to resist Hitler. Many of his thoughts and writings are in consideration of this dilemma. He sought to reach other believers with the scriptures on forgiveness he studied in His Bible. The Word of God.
Bonhoeffer knew forgiveness to be costly.
He believed that forgiveness in a Bible-based Christian community included:
-love for enemies
-and that sin could not be overlooked or swept under the but was to be confronted and dealt within the context of the Bible’s scriptures on forgiveness.
True Biblical Forgiveness
Forgiveness – We’ve been sold a weak, impotent and without value version of forgiveness. Our culture, be it secular, Christian or Messianic consistently preaches that forgiving is for the forgiver’s benefit. It is about what I get in return for forgiving – the rewards.
The benefits, without a doubt, are significant and real. Forgiveness removes bitterness and strife. And allows one to move on past the offense.
What injured party doesn’t want these rewards? Yet, in reality, to truly reap this recompense, our motivation to forgive must be motivated by more than what I get out of the deal.
It’s a long, hard process to work through and embrace. Even more difficult to live out forgiveness and to abide in it.
We have to choose it and work hard to overcome our misconceptions in regards to forgiveness.
My Log – Bible Scriptures on Forgiveness
We must be willing to first look hard in the mirror and take that log out of our own before we can even consider forgiving our brother for the splinter in his.
is or should be a deep work of humility, a death to the that so enslaves us.
In reality, forgiveness is one of the hardest and yet, most fruitful endeavors you can undertake.
Our relationships with YHVH and others should motivate us to seek more profound and meaningful relationships. Forgiveness can transform, not just acquit! As we seek to practice forgiveness, we should endeavor to unlearn what divides and destroys. Learn to see and live as forgiven and forgiving.
Biblical forgiveness and repentance are worth talking through and about. It is wholly worthy to confess, one to another and repents of our wayward ways. Whether they be accidental, intentional, thoughtless or premeditated. To be free, we must repent, confess and wholly humble ourselves before God and man.
Wait! There is no way I need to repent – they sinned against me!
Without argument, there are many situations where this is true. Humans routinely enact evil, violent and otherwise horrific pain on innocents.
Dig deep and search your heart and Scriptures on Biblical Forgiveness
Relational betrayals and disputations are mostly two-sided. Unique is the person that does not in some way contribute to an issue/altercation in which they are involved in.
It is rarely simple and in most cases, repentance from all parties is in order, though, some will hold greater responsibility than others. But for true reconciliation, all parties must go after their own logs with vigor and deep humility.
Pretending that pain and trauma did not happen is not forgiveness. Scriptures on forgiveness make that clear. It’s just pretending. Refusing to hear one another out or consider your part precludes any hope of restoration.
The Transparency that allows Confession
Relationships – full of potential, never perfection.
Being real, authentic and willing to listen and consider one another’s perspective is love. Refusing to do so is self-love. It is defensiveness and outright refusal to allow the circumstances to grow and mature you.
This behavior reeks of pride – in that it is, in essence, stating “I have nothing to learn from my fellow man.”
Choose to address the issue, not attack the person.
If there is any hope of living in a like-hearted community, living as part of the same body (Messiah’s), we must take the Scriptures with utmost sincerity. Biblical forgiveness needs to be lived out daily.
We must choose to live in Spirit and Truth.
Not just the truth that I like, not just my perspective. Truth, without defensiveness. Embracing Truth as a way of life, without exclusion.
Facing disagreements with honesty may feel painful, but it is the path to healing.
If we choose to avoid the pain our own sin creates in us we are refusing His desire to mold us into His image.
Many places of brokenness remain in my life. Many wounds The Messiah has or is healing. The rejection of my family faced was overwhelming and life-changing. Yet now we see it as a huge blessing and protection. Thank you, Abba! Yet, we are still learning and growing through the pain. Most heartbreakingly, we have not reached a place of true reconciliation or restoration with those that rejected us.
Waiting for Restoration
That is to say, we have done our utmost to apologize and repent for the areas we know we were wrong. Where we caused pain. There may be more our rejectors are wanting or believing we owe them. Sadly, they are unwilling to communicate with us. But, Abba is a good, good Father and has made this an amazing journey. And in Him, we maintain HOPE.
As I wrote about in my review of Embodying Forgiveness “we are enabled by Jesus’ forgiving love to forgive others because we learn to understand ourselves as sinners who have been forgiven.” Embodying Forgiveness (p.148)
Can Biblical Forgiveness Motivate Us?
In his Resurrection, Rowan Williams teaches that forgiveness is so much more than the good news that we are forgiven. He expounds on the truth that it is about our relationship with God and our fellow man. Should not forgiveness motivate us to seek deeper and more meaningful interactions and ties?
“Once we grasp that forgiveness occurs not by a word of acquittal but by a transformation of the world of persons, we are not likely to regard it as something which merely refers backward.”Rowan Williams, Resurrection p.52
Should you try to reconcile?
Yes, if. If there is a willingness on both sides. because, In reality, one party cannot force reconciliation.
Rarely, does one party rarely holds all the blame.
Forgive? Yes, without a doubt, forgiveness that flows through you, from our Creator is life-giving water. But, forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same. Our reconciliation requires forgiveness, however, one can forgive and never be reconciled.
Likewise, personally, in our walk, we are waiting. We are waiting for hearts to be changed by Messiah. Waiting to see what else Abba will show us in regards to our own hearts and actions. Waiting, yet, filled with the Shalom that can only come from Him and is committed to abiding in Him, come what may.
Boundaries are a Blessing
“We are called to forgive doesn’t mean; however, that we cannot set healthy boundaries. When you are repeatedly violated, we aren’t called to continually endure it. We can physically and emotionally set boundaries to protect ourselves. The key here is to keep our spirit right by forgiving the offense.”
Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend is an incredibly helpful book for learning how to live out forgiveness without allowing others to violate us repeatedly. Biblical forgiveness includes being wise. And separating oneself from those that remain unrepentant and/or dangerous is an important aspect of true forgiveness. You don’t have to allow your heart, mind or body to be subject to betrayal or any other peril in order to embody forgiveness. Boundaries are truly a Biblical principle, not sure about that? I highly recommend reading Boundaries.
Biblical Forgiveness, Retaliation or Restoration?
Indeed, I am deeply flawed and human and admit that at times I consider ways to make them see how wrong their choices are. A hard area for me to forgive is the pain caused to my Hubby and children.
Of course, if one is choosing to abide in Messiah, one understands that she(he) also is a messed up sinner. Scriptures on forgiveness in the Bible give clarity to the need to look inward.
And, living, from moment to moment, the best you can, in His shalom, is the most gracious and life-affirming way to get past these sorts of negative thoughts. Abiding and learning and growing. Really, you win right there.
Moreover, proactively seek Him out, and spend time with your Abba. Increase that time until you abide constantly. Amen, this is my prayer.
Restoration will only come from YHVH.
Likewise, there is no path a human can concoct that will lead hurt people to restoration. Cheap grace gets us nowhere.
Therefore, be long-suffering and do not forsake HOPE! Continue in love and faith. Keep forgiving, over and over. Accept His forgiveness and live in it. You can do all things through Him who strengthens you.
Above all, pursue a clean heart and be ready and willing to make any reparations He shows you to. Pay attention to His leading moment by moment.
Welcome His presence and rest in it, allow Him to engulf you.
Look for and listen for Him everywhere – all the time!
In conclusion, reconciling Biblical forgiveness needs a healthy setting or environment that purposes to live in and through confession, repentance, and reconciliation.
May we learn to delight in true forgiveness. And make it a habit.
Allowing His gracious love to flow one to another.
PLEASE NOTE: SOME OF THE LINKS ARE AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU, I MAY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU PURCHASE AN ITEM. KEEPS BLESSED REJECT RUNNING 🙂