In sight of forgiveness, does "coming to terms", qualify as the forgiveness in which God ask of us?
Studying forgiveness at church lately and there came this realization, as I was self evaluating. I can say more certain that traumatic events of the past I have come to terms with in my life. Maybe they were God's was of dealing out lessons. I am battling with, can I equate this coming to terms to the same as forgiveness? I carry no more anger, the hurt is scabbed over and I have seen the lessons. Have I forgiven those involved as well as myself by coming to realize things just happen?
Sorry backporchstories, for your struggle. Forgiving yourself which you seem to have done and described here is not that forgiveness which you must do for the other. If you just can't forgive them but can only excuse them, you are not done.
Some would say your heart is still hardened and others would say you have not yet asked the Lord to forgive you and the other(s).
Me, I just say, in your time you will do as you can because you are trying. You must have more to be taught before you are ready. ONE thing for sure --- Do not beat yourself up over it.
I agree, I have forgiven in general, just the thought came about coming to terms, accepting what had happened and moving on. I still give my heart with warmth to thy enemy....is this the same as forgiveness? I have not vocalized the forgiveness...
"I still give my heart with warmth to thy enemy." That just might be a fine definition of forgiveness. Certainly saying you forgive without heart and warmth is useless. If actually saying it is required ???? If it would be good for them I think do it
I cannot get into your heart and mind so it would be terribly assuming to try to tell you what to do but I can say your situation is one that I have had to deal with and how I did so. My situation had to do with betrayal, infidelity and eventual divorce. It is hard to forgive someone who betrays your trust and the bond of marriage and then falsely tries to accuse you of everything she was guilty of. Early on in this situation I realized that it was out of my hands. How can one get rid of the stigma attached to oneself by false accusations? So in prayer I gave my situation over to Christ - I prayed that the Lord fight this battle for me and I committed to not try to fight back against the lies and insinuations (one thing I had learned by my studies in the Word and real life experiences, if I, being a Christian decided to get even or fight back, the Lord may say OK, if you think you can deal with this situation better than me, have at it). I stopped trying to save the marriage and determined to let things run their course. To make a long story short at every turn my X's lies were revealed in uncanny ways - during a deposition my lawyer asked her to give an example of when I beat her. She actually told a true story about how she tortured me by not giving me the car keys to keep me from going to a dentist appt. for a painful abscessed tooth. After her explanation my lawyer said, "Well you still haven't told me when it was that he hit you" and she actually said, "Oh he didn't hit me...I hit him!" She actually did tell the truth while I never said a word. Both lawyers looked at each other and I can imagine they both thought she was insane. Later my lawyer said he never witnessed anything like that deposition. Her counter claim was eventually thrown out and I got the divorce on grounds of "cruel and inhumane treatment". I had custody of 4 children to raise myself, but would have to deal with her continued presence in their lives as she showed no evidence of changing her ways. How could I really forgive her? Pondering, I eventually realized that Christ makes all things new, he is my salvation and there is a freedom that comes with forgiving when you KNOW that he is your protector and everyone will have him to deal with for their sins, I need not carry judgment on my shoulders. I am blessed beyond belief with the gift of eternal life, and so are you! If what I've gone through has anything to do with that fact I would gladly suffer it all again, my cross to bear.
I believe that there are a series of steps, and that God rejoices as we take each step. Anyone who (literally) keeps the commandment "do not kill" after being hurt or threatened is literally on the way. Then we move through a series of stages of deeper and deeper forgiveness. I use Matthew Chapter 5 as a primary Christian guide.
I think that the Beatitudes provide a 7-step guide for the healing. Again - celebrate each step:
choose spiritual poverty - not arrogant hostility (you've done this)
Mourn - have you mourned fully, or are you holding back and holding onto some of the pain?
Seek righteousness (do the right thing, work inside yourself to want only to do the right thing)
Be merciful (understand and forgive those who have harmed you)
Be pure in heart (this is where the release of the injury under the scab is healed)
Be a Peacemaker (use what you've learned to help others, both the persecuted and the persecutors)
Only your own self-evaluation in prayer is meaningful. Honor the truth of your heart, and keep growing.
I think @SidKemp made a good point about steps, but it doesn't necessarily need to come in separate steps. Ultimately, the final step is more of a break with all steps.
There is only one instance in my life when I truly forgave. All other instances have varying degrees of attachment through ego.
That singular incident occurred in 1977. Six times within 2 minutes my car and I were assaulted by drivers and their cars, causing distress and potential danger from collision. My quick thinking prevented collision in each case, but I was initially enraged and frustrated.
After the sixth instance, when I was about to lose my cool altogether, I suddenly realized that I was 100% responsible for each assault. This left no room for blame. With this, I was suddenly incapable of being victim. It took me 33 years to realize that I had forgiven them and completely forgiven them in an instant. No steps whatsoever.
In that moment, I felt the loving embrace of the Father in Heaven. That in itself was a miracle.
But what happened next was a miracle that thousands of others witnessed in broad daylight.
With the perfect confidence (faith) of a child of God (no longer ego in a Homo sapiens body), I asked the Father for wide open spaces and smooth sailing all the way to my destination.
The instant I rested from this creation (this "asking" or "prayer"), I received that for which I had asked. Within 5 seconds 700 cars had evacuated the center, westbound lane, leaving the lanes left and right doubly thick with bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Thirty-three years later, I realized that the first 6 cars to move out of the way were the same 6 that had assaulted my vehicle. I had forgiven them that completely. I had felt only love for them and what they had done.
"Coming to terms" seems so inadequate by comparison, but it can be a step in the right direction.
But ultimately, you have to leave the continuity of physical reality -- stop taking steps -- and leap into the discontinuity of creation, for that is what fearless and faith-bound forgiveness truly is -- an act of creation, like walking on water.
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