Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Joseph’s (OT) Model of Forgiveness

January 19, 2004

An old post of mine:

Date Posted: 09:12:11 09/18/03 Thu
Author: Joe
Subject: Joseph’s (OT) model of forgiveness

I’ve been thinking about Joseph in Genesis and the way he dealt with his brothers when they were at his mercy in Egypt. Why didn’t he–to use the modern cliche–“just forgive and forget?” Why did he choose to subject his brothers to such trials in Egypt? […though he had probably already forgiven them. (Genesis 50:19-21)] Because he wanted to see whether they had changed or whether they would change? The more important question for me is–and I know it’s hypothetical–what would Joseph have done if he saw that his brothers had not changed or would not change? Whatever the answer, it’s clear that Joseph’s model of forgiveness is different from the one that most of us have been taught.

This prompts more questions. What is the real purpose of forgiveness? What does forgiveness do for the forgiver and for the one(s) being forgiven? Some more difficult questions: What good do repeated words of forgiveness do for the one who does not see or feel any need to be forgiven? Does forgiving someone mean absolving them of the consequences of their sin(s) against you? (David & Bathsheba’s ‘love child’ dies. Your parents forgive you but ground you anyway.) What to do when repeated words of forgiveness only seem to embolden someone to repeat their patterns of harmful behavior to themselves and to others?

I’ve come to realize that forgiving, besides being not easy to do, is not as simple a thing as it’s made out to be. Forgiveness, biblical forgiveness, is complex. More on this later.

"Simple Thoughts During Trying Times"

December 23, 2003

An excellent bit of reading from the Barnabas Ministry that promotes balance among those who have taken up the fight against spiritually abusive systems, especially ones they were personally involved in:

Simple Thoughts During Trying Times

As we move into a period of discussion and change within the International Churches of Christ, I would like to offer some guiding principles to keep in mind along the way, in no particular order.

  • Trust is earned. No leader can command anyone to trust them.
  • Repentance is proven by deeds, not by talk. Repentance may be observed (2 Cor 7)
  • God entrusts leaders to bring about His justice. God cares about justice a lot.
  • Speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15)
  • Forgive; if Jesus can forgive from the cross, we can forgive whomever. But remember, forgiveness does not mean lack of accountability, lack of consequences, or implicit future trust.
  • Leaders, like all people, need to take responsibility for what they have done. Beware of anyone who says “move forward” in the interest of progress or peace when it keeps them from having to take responsibility for their actions in the past.
  • Patience, patience, patience— people come to see the truth at their own pace. If you have healthy boundaries, it’s easier to have patience.
  • The enemy is Satan and sin, not the people who “don’t get it yet” (Eph 6).
  • Do not turn issues into an “us/them” deal. It obfuscates the real issues.
  • Truth is the weapon– not force, ad populum arguments, threats, etc.
  • Be willing to question yourself. Truth will still be truth, no matter how many times it is questioned.
  • In any human conflict, there is usually right and wrong on both parts. Don’t get blinded and fail to see the good in others and the bad in yourself.

If we have healthy boundaries, it helps us put change in the proper perspective. If we have unhealthy boundaries, we will be tempted to push for more change more quickly, for only then will we feel free to live within our consciences. But a healthy boundary allows us to be free to live as we see fit today, without “needing” to see an organization make changes in order to be free or content.

Another good essay at that appeals to me is “A Sober Look at Unity”.

The Gift of Anger

December 16, 2003

A former cult victim once wrote:

Thank you, Lord God, for the gift of anger. Anger was the rocket fuel which propelled me out of the prison of the cult. Anger gave me the strength to break the battleship chains that once allowed me to do nothing when I knew loved ones were being abused. Anger’s fire consumed all the rationalizations, all the Bible twisting, all the guilting tactics that had silenced me before. Anger melted the scales that covered my eyes so I could see that the cult emperor had no clothes, that his authority was an illusion. Anger was what finally enabled me to say, “No more!” Help me now to harness and focus my anger, to put it to work… Truth and justice are cliches only to those who do not know your gift of anger. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of anger.

It turns out there’s also a book by the title, “The Gift of Anger: A Call to Faithful Action” by Carroll Saussy.

When Unrepentant Evil Calls for Peace and Unity

December 12, 2003

Something that you won’t find in Peter Jackson’s “vision” of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy:

“‘We will have peace’ said Theoden at last thickly and with an effort. Several of the Riders cried out gladly. Theoden held up his hand. ‘Yes, we will have peace’, he said, now in a clear voice, ‘we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished – and the works of your dark master to which you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! Even if your war on me was just – as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired — even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Hama’s body before the gates of the Hornburg, after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the House of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.'” (From “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”)