Forgiving does not invite abuse

Myth #6: Forgiving an offender removes protective boundaries
Truth: Forgiveness is not reconciliation.

In an ideal world, we would always reconcile with those who hurt us. But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a fallen world. Sometimes reconciliation is possible; sometimes it is not.

Forgiveness Reconciliation
Forgiveness is based on truth. Reconciliation is based on trust.
Forgiving others changes your heart. Reconciliation changes the relationship.
Protective boundaries stay in place with forgiveness. Protective boundaries are partially removed with
Forgiveness depends on your choices. Reconciliation depends on the other party’s choices.
Forgiveness is possible through Jesus. Reconciliation is sometimes impossible.

Forgiveness does not automatically restore a relationship. For example, if someone harmed one of my children, I would look to Jesus for the grace to forgive. But I wouldn’t willingly allow that person to have any further access to my children. Relationships are built on trust, and if trust is not deserved, then a relationship cannot exist.

Someone I care about was raped. Although I think forgiveness is an important part of the healing process, I did everything in my power to protect the victim from having any contact with the perpetrator. I also championed the prosecution of the man who committed the crime. Simply because we may choose to forgive does not mean that the legal system should forgive. No. They have a different responsibility before God. It isn’t our job to dispense justice, but it is their job to dispense it. We are not vigilantes; we are citizens.

More next time.

These thoughts are adapted from Chapter 5 of Dwight’s book, Spiritual Self Defense. More info here:

Bible trivia:
Answer from last time: The prophet Samuel anointed both King Saul and King David as kings of Israel.
New question: Who captured the Ark of the Covenant and held it for several months?

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    What do you get when you combine deep Christian faith with outside-the-box thinking? You get the fresh insights offered by Author Dwight Clough in his many books on personal and cultural transformation. Whether he’s tackling polarization or re-examining the route to heaven, his solutions are always unique, carefully thought out, simply explained, and compassionately conveyed with a vulnerable glimpse into Dwight’s own journey. Dwight is a national award winning writer, ghostwriter, publishing consultant, and author of over 20 books including End the Divide, The Gift of Transformation, Rethinking Our War on Poverty, Am I Going to Heaven When I Die?, and What It Means to Follow Jesus. Dwight and his wife Kim have four young adult children. Dwight loves exploring the back roads of rural Wisconsin.

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