With that said, let's be as attentive to forgiveness as we are to our salvation. We cannot have one without the other.
There are different types of offenses that will inevitably come our way. It's going to happen. Let's develop our thought process to rebound from offenses and recover ourselves from being confounded and demoralized.
The first order of business is to note that forgiveness is not dependent on restitution. Forgiveness is dependent on our relationship with the Lord.
It is a superpower of liberty. The act of forgiving is for you, not for the offender.
This can be a challenging subject for our faith and we are all going to need help with this one. So let's look at the Word of God and take an opportunity to build our faith.
Examining The OffenseThere are offenses that have an element of requiring material restitution or even relational restitution. There are other offenses that are just hurtful. In other words, there is nothing that can change the situation. A heartfelt apology may be the only restitution possible.
Those hurts that do not have a material restitution associated to them and are just hurtful we are required to forgive. The scriptures make this very clear. An apology is the responsibility of the offending party. Forgiveness is our responsibility, regardless of any forthcoming apology from the offender.
Those hurts that require material restitution also require us to forgive the offense. There are two different reconciliation functions in this case. One is an apology and the other is restitution. Both of these are separate from the forgiveness.
Exploring Relational Restitution vs. Material Restitution
Restitution for the cost of fixing something that was broken may be required in addition to an apology (relational restitution) for the careless act that caused the thing to be broken in the first place. The offending action requires forgiveness and also note that material restitution may also be forgiven as well, depending on the situation.
Restitution Is Good And RightMaterial restitution should not be disregarded. It can be. Yet, if there is a path to receive restitution that path should be taken. It's the right thing to do. In some cases it may be better to forgive the compensation if the pursuit of it is more destructive than letting it go.
With that said, every situation is different and will require a thoughtful, prayerful course of action.
Altering The RelationshipIt is also true that once forgiveness is granted and reconciliation is resolved that a change in relationship may be required as well. We are admonished to know those that labor among us, to live peaceably and that bad company corrupts good character. Proverbs 13:20 tells us, "he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
Again, each case is so different, advice in any particular matter will need prayer, patience and wisdom to resolve. The goal is to move on as quickly as possible. There are greater things going on that need your attention.
Offending Action Occurs
1. Relational Reconciliation
An apology may or may not come.
Responsibility of the offender.
2. Material Reconciliation
Should be enforced where possible.
May also require forgiveness in whole or in part.
May require a change in relationship.
Forgetfulness (more on this to come).
4. Move on
As quickly as possible.
There are greater things that require your attention.
Can forgiveness be a difficult proposition?
You bet it can. Yet here we are holding on to something terrible that we don't need. A cage built and designed to enslave the mind.
Christ has set us free! Know the Lord deeper and more intimately than your hurts and sorrows. His Word is life. It refreshes the soul.
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. - Proverbs 4:20-23 NLT
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! - Isaiah 26:3 NLT
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