“Forgiveness runs so contrary to our sense of justice and fairness that it’s unlikely we’ll ever feel like forgiving. But in the Scriptures forgiveness is never presented as a feeling; it’s always described as a decision. Forgiveness is a gift we decide to give in spite of how we feel.”- Andy Stanley (emphasis author’s)
As Andy Stanley continues Chapter 14 of Enemies of the Heart, he notes that in Paul’s day the Greek language contained two different words that expressed the concept of forgiveness. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul’s admonition conveys the idea of forgiveness as a gift. A gift we constantly give.
Next, Pastor Stanley talks about four phases, or processes, necessary to complete the cycle of forgiveness. Today, Andy covers the first two processes today.
1. Identify who you’re angry with. On the surface, this process may seem kind of silly. But it’s not, as Andy explains: “Forgiveness is more than just a decision to move on with your life and forget the past. Trying to forget a debt isn’t the same as canceling it.”
Therefore, the author counsels, don’t assume you’ve forgotten someone simply because you’ve put the experience behind you. So, Andy asks, who do you:
- hope to never see again?
- find yourself engaging in imaginary conversations with?
- desire to pay back if you thought you could get away with it?
- secretly desire to see fail?
This presents an opportunity to purge your heart of the junk hindering your most valued relationships. Thus, it’s worth the effort to make a list.
2. Determine what they owe you. This step, Pastor Stanley observes, most of us skip. As a result, we forgive generally, but not specifically. Hence, you know what someone did to hurt you, but you’re not aware of what that person took from you. Consequently, Andy concludes, “General forgiveness doesn’t heal specific hurts.”
Today’s question: What most offends your sense of justice and fairness? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The anger that pollutes our hearts”