Saturday, November 10, 2012

When Forgiveness Gets Complicated... Special Situations and Common Problems -- "What Should We Do?"

As a person in progress who is learning and growing, I don't always know what to do in the special situations when forgiveness doesn't fit the diagram. Sometimes I get it wrong, despite my desire to do things according to God's highest and best way. I can only share what I've learned thus far through study, advice, and experience through both my mistakes and victories. I have some good pearls to share, and I hope to offer them to the reader for consideration so that they can broaden their perspective with thoughtfulness.

If you're a Christian and you've been deeply wounded, forgiveness can become quite complicated. A good Christian person looks to the Bible for principles, advice, and examples about how to proceed with forgiveness. If their situation clearly corresponds to the basic framework a particular Bible passage about resolving an offense, it makes the process much easier. But things don't always work out that way. We're human beings with complicated behavior, and we're unique. Relationships often turn out to be quite messy or ambiguous affairs with many loose ends.

Posts to come will address some of these special situations and how to move on.  I've certainly not mastered these matters, struggling with them just like everyone else,  but I've found lots of helpful wisdom along the way.

Currently, I hope to write about:
  • Offenses versus sins
  • Establishing justice before offering mercy
  • Repentance
  • Apologies
  • Developing an atmosphere of trust to foster forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Trust versus boundary busters
  • The unrepentant and those with no contrition
  • The person who is ignorant of causing offense
  • Forgive and forget?
  • "One-sided forgiveness" and releasing the offender unto God
  • Weaker brothers and personality style conflicts
  • Respecting boundaries after offenses
  • Realistic expectations (avoiding further offense)
  • Rejected forgiveness
  • “Irregular People” (rejection by shame based people)
  • The timing of forgiveness
  • Motives in forgiveness: an act of obedience
  • Benefits of forgiveness
  • Corrie Ten Boom's advice
  • Forgiving God
  • Forgiving the Church
  • Pharisees that we'll always have with us
  • Forgiving ourselves
  • Seeking reconciliation
  • Rejected reconciliation
  • Forgiveness book and resource list

I'm not sure if they will end up as separate posts, or when I'm going to accomplish this ambitious task. Sometimes I start out on these projects and don't complete them, or at least not in the manner I would hope. I have some of these general topics framed out and others written up as almost completed posts, but I don't have a timeline at present. I'm going to let everything unfold organically, and we can all see what happens together. I'm sure that it will continue to be a life changing process for me, and I hope that it can encourage others.

There are many things for which I have no answers to offer, but perhaps the real benefit comes through considering the questions anyway. I can at least pose them honestly.

We shall see what transpires.

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.