I’m swimming upstream today so I’ll hurry before I lose my gumption. Here goes: Lewis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” This philosophy is highly promoted these days on placards, from the pulpit, by the counselors, about everywhere. Sounds so good.
But I’m thinking we should forgive because Jesus said to do so. Bible says, “…forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph. 4:32). Did Jesus forgive me to set HIMSELF free? No, he forgave me to set ME free! Smedes quote puts the cart before the horse.
The freedom of the forgiver is a result; it should not be the motivation. Sort of like a financial adviser telling you to pay your tithes so God will give back to you. Wrong motivation! Do it because God said to. Pay your tithes – achieve financial security; forgive – be set free. Again, those are results, not proper motivation.
When we love enough to forgive because Jesus forgave us just because he loved us, maybe the Holy Spirit will make forgiveness an easier thing to do. Don’t be manipulated by human rewards – whether from placards, pulpit, or psychologists! I had to apologize to a friend because of my snit in response to an issue. I hope she forgives me because she loves me. If she does we will both be free.
I understand that some things are much more egregious than a snit! Hard things – murder, rape, betrayal. The following teaching helped me through a very bad time. When Jesus said to forgive seventy times seven times, he might have been saying to forgive THE SAME INCIDENT 490 times. That is so true. Some things you have to just say “I forgive __ regarding that.” Next time it comes to mind, say the same thing. Next time, the same. Few if any incidents can you willingly speak forgiveness 490 times and have it still hound you! Personally, I believe the Holy Spirit will help you long before 49 times let alone 490!
“The freedom of the forgiver is a result; it should not be the motivation.” – absolutely and I hereby forgive your blind faith on POTUS😂
Am I to understand if I have different political views than my neighbor, I am doing him a wrong? I have no personal animosity to you at all, so I had not considered that I needed to be forgiven. But if so – thanks for forgiving me. 😀
“The freedom of the forgiver is a result” – you want to deny me that freedom😢
I don’t follow your logic but I want you to have freedom – and forgiveness. So go on; you have my permission. 😀
I feel blessed.
Good point! The “What’s-in-it-for-me?” attitude is just as prevalent in the Church as anywhere else. The difference is, we have access to One who can help us transcend that.
P.S. Years ago I was having a hard time forgiving some people, because as much as I tried to convince myself they had good reason for the way they treated me (They didn’t.), or they didn’t mean to hurt me (They did.), I knew deep down that they didn’t deserve to be forgiven. I heard the Lord say, “If you can’t forgive them because they deserve forgiveness, how about forgiving them because I asked you to?” It took a split second of remembering what He had done for me to come to the point where I’d do ANYthing for Him. “OK, Jesus.” And that was the end of that.
Thank you for this personal story. My point confirmed. The outcome of our forgiveness is not in our hands.
I once heard that in those days the measurement of a circle was not what we know today as 360 but rather 490– so Jesus was telling us to do so continually -hence the continuum of a circle— that’s your fun fact for the day ☺️
Thanks, makes sense on another level. When all seems to be failing, just keep on doing what he says to do.
This was perfect Oneta. The perspective is so spot on. We are indeed a people who want gratification for ourselves first and you are right….wrong motivation.
Thanks, Faye Sometimes people grab a nice sounding slogan without thinking it through.
Wonderful, brilliant, TRUE post.
Thanks for the “amen.” 😀
This is a wonderful and true post. I thank you for it.
Forgiveness has been freely given to us. We forgive because we love not because of what we may gain. (I surely don’t believe we have any need for forgiveness is we differ in politics or other issues. If we become arrogant or belligerent then perhaps our attitude needs forgiveness not our political opinion) Again thanks you expressed this post succinctly. .
Thanks. As relates to politics, you are definitely right that our attitude might demand some apologies or/and forgiveness.