Sunday, February 22, 2009


The issue of forgiveness is big in the counselling business.

To say that some of our clients have been a little hurt is like saying the pope is a little Catholic. There are times when an important part of what I do is bear witness as a human being to the horrors of allow a person to speak out loud the terror, agony, and excruciating pain rendered at the hands, voice, or actions of another.

When I talk about it with people, the topic of forgiveness is not a hypothetical one that is up for debate in some ethical or theological discussion. It is a rubber-hits-the-road issue that has to be dealt with.

Some thoughts about forgiveness, from The Shack (this is the last time I write about the book--promise). It was a fresh experiential take on the topic that gave some helpful insights.

"Forgiveness is not about forgetting...It is about letting go of another person's throat"

"Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver, to release you from something that will eat you alive; that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly."

"...forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established"

"....but should they confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation"

"...forgiveness does not excuse anything. Believe me, the last thing this man is, is free"

"It was wrong and anger is right response to something that is so wrong. But don't let the anger and pain and loss you feel prevent you from forgiving him and removing your hands from around his neck"

Important distinction:
Forgiveness is free and freeing.
Trust is earned.

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