Tag Archives: forgiveness

Relationships – Part three – Restoration

You can read part one of this article HERE

Another misnomer about forgiveness is the restoration of the relationship. Some folks won’t forgive because they think the relationship must be restored to its original status, and they are afraid of being betrayed again.

This is tricky. Because it’s easy in our humanness to decide we’ve been hurt beyond repair. We won’t allow the relationship to be healed. But the truth is oftentimes relationships are able to be healed if both parties are willing. Unless the offender has betrayed or abused you, and you know the betrayal and abuse will not stop, there’s a good chance restoration is an option.

Especially if you are being abused, the relationship does not have to be restored until the abuser has taken all the steps necessary to get help and you know you are safe. Forgiveness is still important for your health, but restoration can’t come until the abuser is willing to admit his or her problem and get lots of help and healing. Not even the promise of counseling is enough to walk back into an abusive relationship.

Even God has standards for restoration. In order for us to be restored to the relationship humans had with our Creator in the Garden of Eden, we first have to be made new by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. God forgives long before we ask, but the restoration occurs when we meet his conditions. Human relationships can be the same.

Not that it gives us permission to set up unrealistic conditions and expectations. We don’t get to be dictators or give ultimatums on what has to happen for a relationship to be restored, but in the case of abuse or betrayal, we are allowed to protect ourselves and those around us before a relationship is restored.

There are offenses which are less drastic, though. In fact, most relationship busters are not abusive, most don’t include betrayal. Most are caused by misunderstanding and human error. Many are set off by difference of opinions or judgement. In each of these cases, full restoration is possible if both parties are willing to admit their part in the problem and then offer full and unconditional forgiveness.  But both of those things are hard.

Relationships aren’t easy. But they’re worth it if you’re willing to work on it a bit.

Relationships – Part Two

If you stumbled upon this post and haven’t read part one, you can read it HERE.

Another thing I’ve discovered about relationships is that they require us to understand we are in community with other human beings. There are going to be problems. I am not going to like every thing every single person in my circle does every single day.  Even the most well meaning human being will let us down from time to time. We’ll get our feelings hurt or be offended. It’s gonna happen! The thing that makes for a successful or unsuccessful relationship is how it’s handled. Once a person comes to that realization, they’ll have a much better time making relationships work.

The last time I talked about each person taking responsibility for his or her part in the schism. But what’s next? And by next, I mean first . . .

Even before the other person takes responsibility for his or her actions, I have to forgive, just let it go, don’t take offense. It’s easier when I remember I’ve probably offended someone else in a similar way, and I hope they’ve forgiven me. And it’s one hundred times easier since I’ve come to the realization that all my faults caused Christ to be crucified, and He forgave me, loves me and wants a fully restored relationship with me.

But forgiveness is hard. I know.

One of the main things people need to understand is that forgiveness does not excuse the offense, it merely removes it’s hold on YOU. You forgiving is NOT the same as saying, “It’s OK, do it again.” It’s simply saying, “I don’t want this to cause me anymore pain, so I’m releasing it. I’m no longer going to hold it against you.” I think that makes some forgiveness a little easier. So many people believe that forgiveness excuses a person or gives them permission to cause the offense again. It doesn’t. Even Jesus told the woman, “Go and sin no more.” She was forgiven, but He didn’t want her to returning to the life that caused her need for forgiveness.

Holding on to unforgiveness is like grasping the end of chains that are anchored to a wall and refusing to let go. Those chains hold you, but by your choice. You are bound, just like a prisoner, except you could let go. Sin is much the same, except sin puts us in shackles, and Jesus’ death on the cross holds the key to loose them. But either way, you’re stuck. You may as well be the one who committed the offense because whether you are the offender or the one offended, without forgiveness, both are bound by chains that keep them from the true peace and freedom Christ came to bring.

This article is continued HERE