I have been doing a lot of thinking about a scripture verse in Luke 17:3-4 which says:
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you saying ” I repent, and you shall forgive him. KJV.
This has been a struggle for me in my own “first” family as Elisa Morgan describes in her book ” The Beauty of the Broken.”
My “first” family is not healthy, whole or even in the least happy, yet they often do not even realize it. Since I have overcome my anxiety, fear and Agoraphobia my family continues to try to pull me back into the dysfunction and often crazy behavior.
My healing is mine and I certainly can not heal them but I wish I could. I wish I could give them the same freedom I have found, but I personally do not feel that they even want the happiness and joy that God has given me. For years, I also lived a very unhealthy, unhappy exsitence.
Some folks like drama and some folks like to be unhealthy.
Reading the verse I was discussing it with a pastor friend and he said,
” If a person repents, then you forgive. But if they don’t repent and ask for forgiveness with a sorrow that is Godly; not a “I got caught sorrow” then you can forgive the person and have a relationship. The Godly sorrow and repentance must come from a sorrowful heart that is broken for the pain they caused.”
I then questioned, ” If they do not repent, do you have a relationship after rebuking them which then allows them to continue to do the same thing again? He said, ” NO” Rebuking and repentance must go hand in hand for total forgiveness and restoration to happen.
But forgiveness comes in either instance. Whether they ask for forgiveness or not, we as Christians must forgive, but that does not mean we forget and fall into the same trap again with this person.
I know that I can forgive my family and have had to repeatedly do that over my lifetime of horrible atrocities. Just because I forgive does not mean that they have had a repentant heart or EVER apologized in any form or fashion. From a physical assault by my brother, to damaging letters about my child, to hot checks being written repeatedly to on and on. No apologizes ever.
Yet, there are some folks that stand behind the belief that forgiveness means you must have contact with that person again. I stand to differ. I believe forgiveness is always our goal because without forgiveness we become bitter, angry, resentful Christians. Yet, boundaries are often necessary.
Forgiveness is different from having a relationship with the offender again.
Luke 17: 3-4 makes it clear we are to rebuke, repent and then forgive.
I believe the Word of God is powerful and allows the believer to fight the good fight.
Put on the Whole Armor of God
My God is all-powerful and has equipped me for the battles I face.
I can forgive and have, but that does not mean that I will back down in a spiritual battle for my healing and my 2nd family.
One day we will each have to answer for what we have done on this earth; good and bad.
I am a sinner that is full of God’s mercy. Thankfully.
I am not perfect and do not claim to be perfect. I am an over-comer and will continue to overcome.
What the enemy has thrown my way by the hands of my “first” family, the God of the Universe will use for my good. Nothing will be wasted.
My story will stand.
How about you?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this verse and something you have had to learn the hard way about relationships.
Today, Lord we come to You asking for your protection and mercy for all of us that are so undeserving. We pray for those that have hurt us along the path of this life. Life is hard and the pain is often overwhelming, but I know that nothing You allow into our lives is ever wasted. Help us to not be overcome with evil and lash out at those that have hurt us. Help us to stand strong and face the battles with Your Word and the power of the Sword. You are all powerful and for that I am thankful. POWER and PROMISES.