In the fall our pastor spoke on Luke 11:1-4. Towards the end of the sermon he spent a good deal of time talking about what forgiveness is and is not.
This sermon really stuck with me and my community group leader reminded me of it a day or two ago. I’m going to share what I took directly from my church blog. If you want to hear all ten points (I highly recommend it!) there is a clip here. The rest of the text is located there as well if you’d rather read than watch.
But I’m going to share my favorite points. Like I said, didn’t write this. It’s from my church’s blog.
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9. Forgiveness is not trusting.
I hear this all the time. “My dad molested me. He said he’s sorry. Can he babysit my kids?” Answer? No way. No way. “My boyfriend or my husband hit me but he said he’s sorry. Should we just pick up where we left off and keep going?” No way. See, trust is built slowly. It’s lost quickly. Trust is built slowly.
Those of you, now hear this. I’m your pastor who loves you. Let me put an airbag around this. For those of you are naive and gullible, trust is to be given slowly, lost quickly. Some of you give your whole heart away and never take it back. Give it away slowly and if someone sins against you grievously, trust has to be rebuilt over time. It’s not trusting. It’s not trusting. Some people can be trusted in time with fruit and keeping with repentance after they’ve gotten help. Other people should never be trusted because the risk is simply too high. This is particularly true with children who are vulnerable. We need to be exceedingly careful with who we trust.
10. Forgiveness is not reconciliation.
It’s not that you’re friends and you hang out and everything’s ok. You’re close and it’s back to normal. Not at all. It takes one person to repent. It takes one person to forgive. It takes two people to reconcile. That’s why Paul says, “In as much as it is possible with you, seek to live at peace with all men.” Here’s what he’s saying: do your best but you can’t be at peace with everyone. But if it doesn’t work out, make sure it’s their fault, not yours. Right? It takes two people to reconcile.
This is where I’ve got a friend right now who’s in the midst of a divorce because she is acknowledging her own sin, her husband is really the problem, and she’s saying, “I love you, I forgive you. If you’ll meet with counselors, if you’ll submit to the authority in our church, I extend a hand to you and we can reconcile and save this marriage.” He’s saying, “No. I don’t think I did anything wrong. I don’t think I need to listen to the pastor. I don’t need to meet with a counselor. I don’t need to listen to anyone. It’s your fault.” There will be no reconciliation. Not with a man like that. Repentance takes one, forgiveness takes one, reconciliation takes two.