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4 Things Forgiveness Does Not Imply
by Tai Ikomi
9/23/2015 / Christian Living
1. Forgiveness does not imply that what was done was right
Forgiveness does not mean condoning the wrong or justifying it. Forgiveness, by definition, is to let go of an offense someone has committed. When we realize that what was done was wrong, it is only in that light that forgiveness can be offered. Without an offense, there is no ground for forgiveness. Forgiving others therefore does not mean that they are blameless; in fact, it is because we blame them that we can now forgive them. After forgiveness, we drop the blame however.
Joseph, as forgiving as he was, did not downplay the offense of his brothers after they sold him into slavery. He categorically reminded them that they had meant to harm him. This is a historical fact. They sold him into slavery! And it was wrong by all standards!
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive (Genesis 50:20).
2. Forgiveness does not imply resuming relationship
Forgiveness does not necessarily mean we must resume a relationship with our offender. While most acts of forgiveness tend to lean in that direction, there are times when wisdom does not permit it, or when it is not possible. Some relationships are toxic. We do not have to expose ourselves to emotional abuse again and again.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
3. Forgiveness does not imply no wisdom would be gleaned
Choosing to forgive does not imply that we must recklessly disregard of the lessons this experience might teach us. When one does not learn from history, one is bound to repeat it. Therefore, when we forgive, it is wise for us to learn from everything that has happened.
It is not wise to continue loaning money to a friend with a bad track record of paying it back. It would be unwise of me to continue being roommates with someone with whom I did not get along the previous semester.
Making wise decisions does not mean we need to mistrust everyone we meet; it simply means we should make an effort to understand human nature and avoid potential problems (Proverbs 18:24).
There is a tendency to use wisdom as a cloak for being bitter or retaliating against our offenders. This is quite common, so we must take care not to be found guilty of this transgression before God.
For example, I have seen people who refuse to reconcile with those who have offended them because they feel they might be hurt again. However, the potential of getting hurt exists in any relationship.
"Wisdom" has become a weapon in their hands to retaliate. (Mark 4:24).
I have been guilty of this on a few occasions. One such occasion occurred when I distanced myself from a person because I thought it was wise. Then the Holy Spirit convinced me that my actions were the result of animosity. There have certainly been other times when I did not apply wisdom, and in those moments, the Holy Spirit gently rebuked me for unfairly refusing to do certain things with a particular person anymore. We walk on delicate ground here.
4. Forgiveness Does Not Cancel Compensation
Forgiveness does not mean that I should not seek out compensation in the event that it is available. It does not even mean that I should seek out justice from the court system. One can forgive the pain the offender has caused and still expect the offender to pay for what he has done.
In Mosaic law, provision is made for occasions where a man hits another person, leaving that person incapable of working and providing for his family. The offender is required to pay the offended person's expenses, which he can no longer pay because of his limitations (Exodus 21:18-19).
For example, a man who takes my money under the pretext of safeguarding it for me but later spends it carelessly can be taken to court. In this situation, the court can intervene and recuperate the money if possible. The point is that I no longer have animosity towards him, but in some cases, I can hold him responsible for the consequences in which his actions resulted.
In summary, we should ask God to shower us with His wisdom, and the ability to apply it in various ways in our walk of forgiveness. We must not allow false presumptions to stop us from forgiving.
Dr. Tai Ikomi is an author of over 30 books .and a conference speaker. She gives seminars on the Names of God and forgiveness after forgiving the drunk man who killed her entire family. She is the founder of Forgiveness Discipleship.
Dr. Tai Ikomi
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