Talking about forgiveness isn’t easy. Honestly, it’s one of those things we don’t really want to dive into because sometimes it seems easier to just ignore it. The problem is, the problem doesn’t go away. Forgiveness is not forgetting or enabling someone to continue to hurt us. Forgiveness frees us from the hurt and pain that someone else has caused us. It’s the act of trusting God to be the judge. God wants us to forgive others so that we can be set free. He wants us to forgive like we have been forgiven because we have been forgiven.
We received several questions via text that we did not have time to speak to during the weekend service. In this blog we are going to speak to the questions we received.
1. What if you have an employee that steals from you? Does forgiveness mean not firing them? Or can you forgive them and still fire them?
Response: I think you can forgive them and fire them if you think it’s the best thing to do. Use your discernment. Just because we forgive someone it doesn’t mean there are not consequences for the action.
2. I know our Christian beliefs say we should forgive. I am having a great struggle with the man that brutally murdered my friend. Where is the line between forgiveness and tough love?
Response: I’m so sorry for your loss. We live in a sinful world where sinful people do evil things. When we forgive, we release the offender to God and give up our so called “right” to get revenge. God is the judge. Should there be consequences for this persons’ action? Absolutely. They should be held accountable for what they did.
3.Wondering how you begin the process of forgiveness when the persecution is still happening?
Response: First you need to do what you can to stop the persecution. You might have to seek counseling to gain wisdom, move out, change jobs, or confront the situation head on depending on your situation. Then you can work on forgiving. It’s hard to forgive if you know it’s going to keep happening.
4. What do I do if it is God I need to forgive? Who do I “give” my pain and anger to?
Response: I have spoken with many people who feel they need to forgive God for letting a parent die, a child die, or (in their words) make them go through a difficult situation that He could have prevented from happening in the first place. God doesn’t need to be forgiven since He has never sinned. We don’t forgive God, He forgives us. I think we can be mad at God or hurt because He didn’t do anything, but that is just my view. If you read King David he was frustrated with God. He wanted God to take action and didn’t see God protecting him from his enemies . Ultimately David recognized that God is in control. The age old question is this: If God is all powerful and all loving then why does evil exist? This is a great mystery and I think it has to do with free will.
5. What if the face you see is your own? [I can’t forgive myself]
Response: Listen to the message in this series titled: “Some things should not be forgiven.” (http://freshwaterchurch.org/portfolio-items/satans-favorite-lies-forgiveness-part-1/)
The hardest person to forgive is often yourself. Romans 8:1-2 says: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” God doesn’t condemn you, so you should not condemn yourself.
6. What if you forgive but that anger and hurt come back? What do you do?
Response: Keep trying. Forgiveness with God is instant, but forgiving others is usually a process. Keep seeking God and asking Him to help you. You will know when you are free because you will have peace. And when you have a forgiveness relapse, start over.