Friday, November 30, 2012

Forgiveness vs. Relationship Restoration

I know that forgiveness is a huge hurdle for many people to jump because they think by forgiving they are saying "it was okay" to do whatever was done to them. That's not the case as has been explained in a variety of ways since forgiveness actually frees us more than the person who offended us, especially if they are in denial or not interested in addressing the issue.

Sometimes we may think we need to be back in fellowship with this person if we forgive them, but that's not what the Bible teaches. We can forgive as Jesus tells us to, but we do not have to trust the person. An illustration was given to me at a teaching a few years back that we are commanded to forgive, so if every time you see a person he punches you in the face, you are to forgive him, but there is absolutely no reason to place yourself within arm's length of this person.

Forgiveness is not restoration of relationship. As this devotion below mentions, it takes repentance on the offender's part to have restoration of relationship.

by Andrew Wommack

Luke 17:5 "And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith."

It is very interesting to note that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith after He spoke of forgiveness. They observed all of the wonderful miracles Jesus performed and yet that never inspired them to ask for greater faith. Truly, walking in love and forgiveness with each other takes as much faith as any miracle we will ever believe for.

The basis of forgiveness is the love and mercy of God. It is only because God first loved and forgave us that we can love and forgive others. If we aren't walking in the forgiveness of God, we won't minister it to others. He forgave us before we repented or asked for forgiveness.

The scriptures admonish us to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. God offered His forgiveness towards us while we were yet sinners. Therefore, forgiveness was offered to all unconditionally. But only those who receive the offered forgiveness through repentance and faith are received as sons of God.

Likewise, we are to forgive others their trespasses, just as God has forgiven us our trespasses. We forgive whether or not the other person repents or wants our forgiveness. But we cannot restore such a person to complete relationship until there is repentance on his part. Failure to distinguish between forgiveness and restoration with their different conditions, has caused some people to make themselves vulnerable to unscrupulous people and suffer tragic results.

In marriage, we should forgive our mate for anything, even adultery. But If there is no true repentance on our mate's part, it would be foolish to trust him or her in a sexually tempting situation.

We should forgive a business partner for stealing from us whether or not he repents, but that doesn't mean we ought to put ourselves in a position to let him do it again.

Complete restoration is dependent on repentance. Walk in forgiveness today.

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