Thursday, February 18, 2010

forgiveness thoughts

Because I like traditional thinking on forgiveness, I like Chris Brauns' thoughts on Mt 18.15-20, "Forgiveness is something that happens between two parties. Forgiveness is a figurative handshake. You cannot shake hands alone. For forgiveness to happen, you need to seek out the offending party (or the offended party if you are the offender), extend you hand, and pray that the other party will offer his or hers to you."

This differs from two typical dysfunctional extremes.
  • Blow up and have a shouting match with the offender. Here Brauns makes the astute observation that "this causes additional damage beyond whatever caused the conflict in the first place. Both parties say things they later regret."
  • Avoid conflict. That is, once a blowup has occurred and lines have been drawn, the parties involved often distance themselves. They ultimately avoid the issue and act as if all is "forgiven" but in fact they simply avoid the issue and subsequently reconciliation. And while pretending they have "forgiven", they talk and involve others unnecessarily.
These simply do not work. We have a need for justice (Rom 2.14-15). Sadly, without proper forgiveness and reconciliation this drive leads us to further sin (Prov 16.28; 26.20; 18.8; 25.9-10).

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