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  #1  
Old 27th October 2010, 04:26 PM
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Question What is true forgiveness?

Hi,

Some time ago another Christian handled me in a manipulative and decietful way. We had a long dialog and I confronted her about it. She doesn't seem to see how her behavior was wrong. She said that she wanted to start our relationship on a clean slate. She said she apologizes for anyway she has hurt me. I told her I forgive her for her wrong toward me, but that she has lost my trust. I let her know that due to the fact she refuses to own up to her wrong in the situation (manipulating me and being decietful), I can no longer allow her to have intimate access to my life. Her behavior toward me was hurtful and damaging.

I have been told that trust is something that is earned; rightly so I believe. It seems wise to keep a safe distance from her due to the damage she caused, and to prevent any further damage from happening due to the fact she does not see her actions as wrong. It would be a different story if she owned up to what she did, apologized for it and made it her aim not to treat me or anyone else like that in the future.

At the same time, the Scriptures talk about to forgive how the Lord forgave you. I think about the Scriptures that talk about how God remembers our transgressions no more, and that He throws our sins as far as the east is from the west. When I come to God, one of the things I love is that He chooses to forget my transgressions against Him, and that His mercies are new every morning. I love that I can have intimacy with Him again when I seek forgiveness. I want God to keep forgiving me this way. I know the Scriptures say that if you do not forgive your brother from your heart the Lord won't forgive you. Here's my question:

Does true forgiveness mean willfully choosing not to remember this Christian's transgressions against me? She has asked forgiveness (for hurt she has caused me), but will not own up to what she did. I don't want her to walk away from the situation thinking her behavior was okay, and that it is okay to treat other people like that. At the same time, I wonder in my mind if I am not truly forgiving her as the Lord forgave me as I am not willfully forgetting her transgressions against me, and seeking peace. I do forgive her in my heart. I just do not believe that I can trust this person to have close access to my life without causing damage. But when the Lord forgives me, He chooses to remember my sins no more and I have full restored intimacy with Him. I want to make sure I am forgiving as the Lord has forgiven me.

Help??? Anyone have advice? I know that in these types of forums people can be very supportive. I am looking for honest answers to my question that consider the state of my soul. I want to be saved. I don't want to sin against God, or be cut off from being forgiven by God because I am not forgiving the way He has forgiven me.

Any insight is appreciated; especially Scripture based insight.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 27th October 2010, 05:32 PM
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I struggle with this issue as well with my mother. A lot was said and done in the past that I think I have forgiven her - and she apologised sincerely for almost everything she had done - but I feel I still can't trust her. Thankfully circumstances have led to me living thousands of kilometres away so I never have to see her except on very rare occasions.

Here is a good link: Forgive & Remember

1 John 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

To me that sounds like we have to admit we have sinned and ask God for forgiveness before God forgives us. Your friend hasn't done that.
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Old 27th October 2010, 05:48 PM
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I cannot say I have the answer. But I know what true forgiveness is not. It is not pretending somethgni never happened and it is not 'Forgive and forget'.

If one has a friend who has a weakness with Alcohol who has done hurtful things when drunk, forgiveness is not forgetting about it. Of course it is not throwing it in their face all the time, but it is also knowing their weakness and if they start to slip trying to keep them from falling and if they fall trying to keep them from hurting themself or others.

Forgiveness also is not trying to create a grand gesture that yuo know is all but sure to fail.

Hope this is of some use.
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Old 27th October 2010, 11:20 PM
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I'm not sure that changing your own behaviours (ie.... not allowing her into a particular part of your life) is that bad, so long as it's temporary.

Give your friend the opportunity to earn back your trust. If she fails, then help her and love her but that doesn't mean you have to remain close to her....
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Old 28th October 2010, 12:29 AM
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God grants us forgiveness of others through his indwelling spirit. We eventually are healed of hurtful offences by others and they no longer bother us. Of course we may understandably choose not to associate with or be close to that person again. We don't 'forget' the offence, but we do forget the pain caused by it.
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Old 28th October 2010, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by flowerforever7 View Post
Does true forgiveness mean willfully choosing not to remember this Christian's transgressions against me? She has asked forgiveness (for hurt she has caused me), but will not own up to what she did.
If she hasn't owned up to what she did and admitted that it was wrong, there is no authentic request for forgiveness. That is not asking for forgiveness, but asking for you to overlook the hurt she did you. She could hurt you again and feel fully justified.

I'm not a Christian, but from what I understand from the Christian perspective, you don't have to open yourself up to repeated abuse from someone who won't admit that what they did was wrong. You don't have to continue any friendship as if nothing had happened, just because someone asks you to. You don't need to forget the offense in your mind.

However, you may need to "forget" the offense in your heart. IOWs, don't seek revenge. Don't nourish hatred. Move on with your life.


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Old 28th October 2010, 09:56 AM
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You can forgive her for the hurt she caused you in the past and for the hurt she will cause you in the future without ever forgetting that she is a hurtful person. Forgiving her for what she is doesn't mean pretending she is otherwise.

If by "trust" you mean pretend she is someone you want her to be rather than who she actually is, then you would be dishonest in the relationship, too.

I have a friend who lies compulsively (troubled childhood, plus OCD). When she tells me something, I don't automatically assume she's lying, but I know that she may be. If it's at all important, I'll verify. She's the oldest friend I have, but ... I do limit the contact I have with her to my own timing and terms.

You say your friend manipulates you - but she may honestly not think she does, she may think she's either being sincere at that moment or think that is simply what all people do (there are people like that, who are really, really good at manipulation because they practice it several times a day whether consciously or not, often not).

Now that you are aware of what's going on, it is your responsibility to deal with it - you can no longer blame only her. She can't manipulate you without your consent. If you feel like it is your Christian duty to continue to be friends with her, do it with a kind heart and your eyes open.
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If such people were amenable to facts, they would have gotten the point long ago...Whatever it is that is blocking the understanding of the "denialist", it is not access to facts or information. The blockage is most likely emotional, possibly based on fear, and one does not most effectively deal with emotional barriers by using facts as instruments of assault and battery. - Dan Murphy
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Old 28th October 2010, 11:57 AM
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Following is a link to something by C.S. Lewis. It is about forgiveness and makes some points it seems many people have never considered.

For a Christian one of those points might be vital.

Essay on Forgiveness by C. S. Lewis
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Old 28th October 2010, 12:39 PM
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I think of forgiveness as letting go of the anger associated with the harm--not necessarily the feeling of being hurt. As, if you think of the situation again, you can do it without getting worked up about that person being bad, or how ticked off you are at them.

It's possible to do that, and still decide that you don't want to have a relationship with somebody. After all, if there's a boulder rolling down a hill at you, you don't have to hate the boulder in order to decide that you should stay out of its way. If you'll be a better, healthier person, better able to cope with your life and give back to your community, without this person in your life, it might be a good idea to stay away from her.

Personally, there have been two people in my life, in recent years, who I really needed to forgive for hurting me. One sorta-partially admitted she'd done some things wrong, but refused to take responsibility for it and remained a very toxic person. We mutually cut off contact--her out of anger, me out of self-protection and exhaustion-- and I don't regret it. The other, once I explained to her what was wrong, immediately recognized what she'd done and sorta-partially apologized, but I don't think she understood the full extent of how hurt I was. Even so, she acknowledged she'd hurt me and explained -why- she'd done what she did, without trying to excuse herself of it. (Unlike a lot of people, I do appreciate explanations). I've maintained the relationship with her.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to stay in the relationship was, for me, and I think should be about whether they are healthy people to be in relationships with. Well-meaning people can screw up sometimes. They can make mistakes or give into a moment of spite.

An event can be left in the past, but who the person is cannot be ignored. Forgive her, but don't ignore who she is. Don't leave her over this one incident, but if the incident, and her continuing attitude toward it, reveals something about who she is, it's ok to leave because you've learned she isn't a person you want a relationship with.
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Old 28th October 2010, 01:54 PM
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Why must people put the word 'true' in front of everything? It's a redundant adjective; something either is or it isn't. True forgiveness would be exactly the same as normal forgiveness, i.e. excusing someone of something they have done, and not holding it against them.
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