This is not a review… but I have been asked to review Mark and Grace Driscoll’s new book and I am in the process of reading it… it’s about marriage, in fact it’s title is ‘Real Marriage’ but this particular portion of the book stood out on a different level and I thought to share it with you…
It is important to note what forgiveness is NOT:
Forgiveness is not denying, approving or diminishing sin that has been committed against us. – We cannot say we are fine, that’s it is no big deal or that since it’s in the past that we have moved on. We must be honest about the reality of the sin if we want the forgiveness to be equally earnest. In forgiving we are, in fact, saying they were wrong, we don’t approve of their sin and that it really is a big deal and not a trivial matter to us.
Forgiveness is not naivety – Naive people are prone to live as if the world were not filled with depraved sinners capable of evil; they often become naive by not really looking at the sinfulness of sin, including their own. Such people are not forgiving sin so much as they are ignoring it.
Forgiveness is not enabling sin – To forgive people is not to remain stuck in the cycle of sin, thus being complicit and enabling their continued transgression.
Forgiveness is not forgetting about sin committed against us – It is actually impossible to completely forget such things. This is why when God says’ ‘Their sin I will remember no more’ it does not mean that he has no memory, but rather that He continually chooses to not bring it up or keep it in the forefront of this thinking. Indeed, because God is omniscient (all knowing) it is, in fact, impossible for him to actually forget something.
Forgiveness is not a one time event – Those who have been sinned against commonly have seasons when they feel afresh the pain of past hurts and have to forgive their transgressors yet again
Forgiveness is not reconciliation – It takes one sinner to repent, and one victim to forgive, but it takes both to reconcile. Therefore, unless there is both repentance by the sinner and forgiveness by the victim, reconciliation cannot occur, which means the relationship remains continually broken until reconciliation does occur. Forgiveness is the beginning of potential reconciliation but it is not in and of itself reconciliation. Forgiveness takes a moment,. The trust reconciliation requires is gained slowly and lost quickly.
Forgiveness is not neglecting justice – in fact, if a crime has been committed we can simultaneously forgive someone and call the police to arrest him or her. God will deal with every sin of every human being justly. For those who repent of sin and come to faith in Christ, justice cam on at the cross of Jesus, when our savior suffered and died in our place for our sins. For those who do not repent of sin and come to faith in Christ their justice will come in the punishment that is assigned to them in the eternal torments of hell. By not seeking vengeance, we are not neglecting justice but rather trusting God for perfect justice and getting yourself out of the middle between sinner and God (Romans 123:19)
Forgiveness is : Loving despite sin
I can think of all the ways that I have gotten confused about forgiveness and reconciliation and how many times I have skipped the forgiveness step in general and lived with the bitterness that replaced the original hurt. This was a check for me, a way to look at what exactly is forgiving someone, and what repentance should really look like.
So, while this is not yet the book review… I can so far say that I have been very pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying it.