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 the course 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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