May

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Forgiveness Vs. Restoration

By pastorbillwalden

There seems to be confusion among some in the Body of Christ regarding forgiveness and restoration. Forgiveness and restoration are not the same thing. We do well to understand the difference.

Forgiveness is mandated by Jesus. We are commanded to forgive those who have wronged us, just as God in Christ has forgiven us. Forgiveness simply means that you choose to not hold one’s sins against them. Forgiveness is a releasing of one’s sins from them. That’s the simple definition. Let’s allow that to be sufficient for the moment.

Restoration is very different. It is the rejoining of two people in a relationship. Ideally, the goal is to be restored to someone to the same depth of relationship as existed prior to the offense or offenses. Sometimes that is possible, and sometimes it doesn’t seem possible. I say seem, but I know that all things are possible with God.

Restoration can never take place without forgiveness, but forgiveness doesn’t always guarantee restoration. Forgiveness is a choice made by the one giving it. Restoration has to be earned by the one who caused the damage.

For example: A friend (Damager) lies and cheats his friend (Forgiver) multiple times. He steals from him, and abuses the friendsip. He comes back repeatedly, asking forgiveness, which Forgiver gives him. Damager then expects to be restored back into friendship as if nothing happened. Forgiver allows that restoration to take place, and tries dilligently to act as if nothing ever happened.

Damager repeats the damaging behavior. The cycle continues and escalates. Once again, Forgiver forgives Damager, but finally, he realizes that he must pull back from the relationship. He no longer trusts Damager, or lends him money, or gives him access to previously given privileges. Forgiver hates to have to do this, but realizes that it must be done for Damager’s sake, and for his own sake. To continue in the same manner would only perpetuate the sinful cycle of Damager. Forgiver realizes that something has to change. Damager needs to repent.

Damager cries foul. Damager claims that he is sorry. He promises to never repeat the sinful behavior. He asks forgiveness, and Forgiver does forgive him, but no longer trusts him, and takes a step back.

Damager demands to be restored to the same position in the relationship, and demands the same privileges as before. Damager now puts the blame on Forgiver, and backs him into a corner, implying that he, Damager, ought to be fully restored by virtue of his spoken apology. He is incensed that Forgiver is now acting coldly towards him. He reminds Forgiver that he apologized. He asks, “Isn’t that enough? What do you want from me? I said I was sorry”.

Damager has asked a very good question: “What do you want from me?”
Forgiver has every right to say: “I want to be able to trust you again”.

Forgiveness is commanded by Jesus. It is the choice of Forgiver.
Restoration must be earned. That takes time and effort from Damager, not just words.

2 Corinthians 7:9b-11 NLT “…the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing…, such zeal, and such a readiness… You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.

1. Forgiveness is commanded.
2. When much damage has been done, restoration must be earned. Trust must be proven. One must prove himself trustworthy.
3. The offended one (Forgiver) must be hopeful and willing to restore, as God would lead. He must not seek to punish Damager or prolong the separation longer than needed.
4. The offender (Damager), must realize that he has caused much harm. He needs to be willing to do everything that God would have him do to restore this broken relationship.
5. Forgiver needs to be careful to not allow for restoration sooner than God would direct. The cycle will repeat itself unless there is true repentance by Damager.

83 Responses so far

Pastor Bill,

I cannot help but to consider that this post of yours, written just seven days ago… might have been written to prepare some of our hearts in advance for what was about to unfold.

God knew. God knows. God is so good.

Thank you for your continued faithfulness to move as God leads. Your example is inspiring and I praise God for it.

~el

Late to the discussion but I’ve learned (as you have pointed out) that forgiveness is given because the bible directs to do that but Trust (which is sister to Restoration) is earned.

It is the wise man or woman who learns the difference between the two and how to apply them

Steve “late to the party” Hopkins

I’m sorry I missed Coy Miller. Coy, if you’re still out there, greetings!

Bill, this is a topic that sorely needs discussion. God, in His grace, desires to restore the fallen. I’m am so thankful that God has forgiven me after my failure. Unfortunately, some pastors have a distorted view of what restoration is, and what someone needs to do to receive it. For some, restoration means a quick return to the pulpit. They expect to be treated as though nothing happened just because they said they were sorry. They forget that restoration is not only between themselves and God, but others they have wronged. Their family, their church. As Steve pointed out, trust needs to be restored. And what is most difficult, those who have been wronged, owe the damager nothing. Yes, God calls people to forgive when repentance is sought, but that forgiveness does not always come quickly.

And restoration might not include a return to the pulpit. Ministers who fail need to understand that. I have been out of pulpit ministry for 17 years. Do I miss it? Yes. Does God owe it to me, just because I repented? No. That can be a tough pill to swallow for some.

Steve, Bob,

Thanks for your input. Blessings guys….

I know that you guys know about this stuff…

Thanks…

Hi Bob! [your #53]

There could be more good than you could ever dream of or be aware of in this life, springing from the fact that Jesus is your Savior and your Redeemer ……. our Savior and our Redeemer.

We only need to take a look at Peter and Paul, to name only two. If there were ever two people who had every “right” in the world to live a life time of oppression and depression because of their failings ……. they were the ones.

Those guys didn’t have a clue that we would be studying their every word all these years after they lived out their natural lives. Back then, they were just two guys doing the best or the worst they could with what they had. In their own eyes, I’m sure they looked like failures more than not. And ……. without Jesus they would have been huge blobs of failure on the landscape of life.

However, those two guys had what we have ……. Jesus our Savior and our Redeemer. And …….. because of Jesus we, and all who came before and all who will come after, ride the ripple effect of what Jesus accomplished and taught Peter and Paul throughout their lives.

Please see my #47 above ……. I believe with all my heart that the forgiver needs to forgive and forgive quickly, whether asked to or not.

Molly

I would agree that the one wronged needs to forgive, but my problem lies with the offended who feels the forgiveness is owed to him. I’m not quite sure you understood what I was attempting to say. I have a problem with those who expect quick, like nothing ever happened, restoration. Those whose primary concern is to get back to the pulpit without the true broken heart of repentance.

Bob: You are correct. I like this quote from John Angell James (friend and contemporary of Charles Spurgen):

“When a preacher of righteousness has stood in the way of sinners, he should never again open his lips in the great congregation until his repentance is as notorious as his sin.”

Let me try and make myself more clear here, Bob!

Forgiving the offender is one thing and it’s important to the offended to do so quickly. Forgiving is a transaction with God ……. forgiving is not a transaction with the offender.

The offender is not owed anything by the offended.

In my own life ……. Before God, I forgave the offender many, many years ago. I hold him hostage to nothing. He’s in God’s Hands. If I hadn’t forgiven him ……. my life would be a whole different story.

As it is ……. the Lord put it on my heart to forgive quickly and trust Him and Him only. Because I forgave and moved on with Jesus, my life has been a wild and exciting adventure. Because Jesus is my strength, there is a fearless boldness to my life that I love ……. at the beginning, I wouldn’t have chosen the path I traveled. This far down the path ……. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I’m always living with a strong sense of anticipation for what’s next. 🙂

As far as the offender goes ……. whenever we meet I greet him warmly and I wish him well and I pray for him. He’s a lot more uncomfortable around me than I am around him. And, it’s almost funny to see. 🙂

As far as allowing him back into my life? I wouldn’t let him in the door any more than I’d bring a rattlesnake home for a pet. It’s not a rattlesnake curled up beside me when I’m in my favorite chair reading a good book. My cat is in my lap and my dogs are near ……. one of them is usually sleeping with his head on my foot. There aren’t even rattlesnakes in the state I’m living in now ……. the winters are too cold. My heart is also too cold when it comes to rattlesnakes.
I talked about Peter and Paul, because they knew where they went wrong and acted accordingly. Those two guys were Saved and Redeemed by Jesus.

Judas is a whole different issue ……. only God knows where he ended up. Jesus calling Judas “the son of perdition” [John 17:12] is a pretty good indication of where he is.

I hope I’m making myself clear ……. tho forgiveness and restoration can go hand in hand, in a lot of cases they are separate issues. In my case they are separate issues. Even tho I forgave, there will be no restoration ……. even if the offender believed it to be his right to be restored.

Molly

Understood! However, we seem to be talking about 2 different issues.

As far as your issue, to forgive quickly was something you were blessed to able to do. I don’t believe everyone can, or even should be expected, to forgive as quickly.

It took time for some to be able to forgive me. Those whose lives I hurt needed time to grieve and be angry. I’m thankful they have forgiven me to the point that I am not a rattlesnake.

But my case is most likely different than yours. I’m not saying you were wrong in doing what you did, I just saying that not everyone can, or should, follow your example.

Bob, Molly…

I appreciate your hearts in sharing.

There are people in my life that I can’t imagine being restored to. My flesh can’t imagine that it would ever be as good as it was when it was good. It is beyond my realm of imagination.

There is a lot that would have to happen to even have nominal restoration take place. As much as lies within me, I have forgiven them, but it is still tough at times. Old memories, unforeseen encounters, etc.

Yet…God can and does more than we would ever think to ask or imagine. On that level and for those reasons, I daydream about the day when it could be better than it ever was.

Re. restoration, I hope that we all can hope for that which is beyond our earthly reason, all the while, not trying to make it happen by the work of the flesh.

May we hope that restoration happens, may we not keep it from happening by any pride or stubbornness in us, and may we not try to make it happen.

Molly, re. rattlesnakes….spiritually speaking: they seem to be able to survive in every climate, eh?

You are definitely not a “rattlesnake,” Bob! 🙂

May I take us back to Bill’s opening statement:

“Forgiveness is mandated by Jesus. We are commanded to forgive those who have wronged us, just as God in Christ has forgiven us. …….”

I understand the Meaning of “Mandate” and “Command” and therefore I Chose To Obey Jesus. The Grace and Strength to do so came from Him and Him only. On my own, I couldn’t have done it! It is the Grace and Strength of Jesus that I run on and nothing else. [2 Corinthians 12:9,10] My own strength got up and left years ago. If Jesus ever walked off and left me, there would be an instant “poof” and I’d be gone. With Jesus ……. as I said in #58 ……. there’s a fearless boldness in my life that I love. I wouldn’t trade my life and how it’s all playing out for anything.

~~ “And Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors.” Matthew 6:12 ~~

I can only speak for myself here ……. I really have no right to ever yell “foul” over anything. Sure, I’ve been hurt! At the same time, I’ve certainly done more than my fair share of hurting others.

I Am Forgiven! If Jesus Can Forgive Me ……. What Right Have I To Not Also Forgive? How Can I Stand Before Jesus With Unforgiveness In My Heart? I Can’t! Knowing How Forgiven I Am Always Brings Me To My Knees!

I have learned in my many years on this planet that life is an equal opportunity field of hurt. No one is singled out! No one is spared! Sooner or later we’re all going to get run over by some kind of situation or circumstance. The sooner we get to Jesus and bury ourselves in the Bible the better off we are. The interesting thing is that too many times we do the opposite.

There are Serious Reason and Purpose for God leaving us with His Written Down Word ……. there’s stuff in there we need to know for getting through this life. Everything We Ever Need To Know For Getting Through Life and Getting Through On Eagles’ Wings Is In the Bible.

When something is Mandated / Commanded by Jesus ……. we need to obey! When we choose to obey ……. His Grace / Strength is more than sufficient to implement that choice to obey. That Grace / Strength can’t be handed from one human to another ……. it is a Supernatural Gift of God and is ours for the choosing and taking.

Hi Bill!

You’re right! Spiritually speaking ……. rattlesnakes are always surviving, coiled and ready to strike in any climate. Thank God they can be flattened and rendered helpless by His Word!

I pray for you and Bob and all who are caught up in the forgiveness / restoration quandary …….

May there be an outpouring of God’s Grace and Mercy ……. May flowers flourish in minds and hearts that have become arid wastelands. May peace and joy and renewal abound in lives where these things were thought to be impossible. May hope abound in lives where it seemed there was none. May those who believe themselves to be in a desert begin to see glimpses of the brightness of new beginnings on the horizon. Heavenly Father, may Your Greatest Good stand brightly and boldly above all that satan meant for evil in all of these lives and may all see and know and proclaim that Jesus Is Lord Of All.

Molly

Great thoughts! God bless you!

Bill

I enjoy reading your blog. Praying that God will continue to speak through you!

I love the story of Joseph, Genesis 37-50.

Throughout that account the phrase, “The Lord Was With Joseph” comes up again and again.

I have often wondered what was going on in Joseph’s mind while all of this was going on. I have often thought that it would have been wonderful if Joseph had kept a “journal” ……. had written his thoughts down like David did.

During those years God took Joseph to the heights and depths of himself ……. took Joseph from being the somewhat spoiled and favorite son to being the man who was able to say to the jealous brothers who had longed to destroy him:

“Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:19-21

At this time of his life, Joseph had the position and power to wipe those brothers of his off the face of the earth. But ……. he didn’t! Instead ……. “And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.” Genesis 50:17

Joseph had totally forgiven them. God had brought Joseph to the point of realizing that, as heartbreaking and devastating as it had been, there was divine reason and purpose behind it all.

Thank You, Bob! 🙂 Talking with you has been a joy!

May even now, the sights and sounds of exciting new beginnings start stirring in your being.

And ……. I thank you too, Bill! 🙂

Molly,

In regards to this thread, someone mentioned this very story to me the other day.

Their perspective was that Joseph immediately forgave his brothers, but he did test them, to see what was in their hearts. He kept back one brother, demanded that the youngest brother return, etc. I’m sure you know the story.

Forgiveness was immediate. He didn’t wipe them out.
Restoration came after a time of them proving their hearts, and humbling themselves.

Thoughts on that?

Bob, Molly, et al?

I just read through those passages again and I agree. I believe Joseph did forgive right away. It’s obvious that the Lord was not only with Joseph ……. Joseph was with the Lord. That was a grueling ordeal for Joseph and yet he maintained a stellar integrity all the way through. That could only happen because he was in constant conversation with his Heavenly Father. From what Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 45:5-20 he must have had a strong sense of Divine Purpose during those years …….. those dreams he had when he was a boy must have been on his mind a lot. As he was able to interpret dreams for others, he must have also been able to interpret his own dreams ……. God preparing Joseph for what was to come and keeping him steady and focused throughout. Even so ……. how hard those years were on Joseph is evident in how emotional he was when dealing with his brothers.

Because Joseph’s last experiences with his brothers were of almost being murdered by them and then being sold instead, of course he didn’t trust them. He had no way of knowing how they had treated his father and his brother over those years. When they showed up in Egypt he wasted no time at all in letting them know how powerful he was in the land ……. putting the fear of his muscle into them. Judah, in putting his own life on the line in exchange for Benjamin’s in Genesis 44:18-34 is what convinced Joseph that his brothers had truly changed.

I believe Genesis 37-50 is the standard we are to follow in our own lives when it comes to forgiveness and restoration. We are also to remember and realize that there is Always Divine Purpose and Reason leading to God’s Greater Good in All of life’s circumstances, no matter how harsh they may appear to be.

Hi everyone!
What joy for me at having checked the site at my wifes advice. Having been on both sides and having struggled over restoration for much of my life, and at the risk of leading the conversation off on a bit of a tangent, I humbly ask your collective forgiveness in advance.
Have any of you ever trusted someone who was ultimately untrustworthy? How about the spouse who has done no wrong and is in fact completely trustworthy but their spouse could never find themselves able to trust them because of their own insecurity? What if the untrusting spouse says that they will now begin to trust, even though they secretly never changed and still do not actually trust? Doesn’t the trustworthy spouse leap at the opportunity to finally be able to trust the “untrusting “spouse to trust them even though they are still, unbeknown to them, in fact still untrustworthy? What a mouthfull.
All this only to say, I think trust is not necessarily earned, it is a gift of the trustor to the trustee.
People who do not deserve it often recieve it. People who do deserve it often find that it is witheld from them. People withold or dispense trust rightly or wrongly of thier own free will, just like joy or sorrow, love or hate.
To me it becomes a matter of visible penitence. These instances only apply to the church.
What if the wrongdoer doesn’t even acknowlege the offence and even continues the activity; e.i., a woman committs adultery because her husband is “neglectfull”, abandons the family, lives with her lover, finally divorces her husband and marries the lover, publicly asks for forgiveness and expects one big happy family. Do we all just forgive AND restore? What would restoration even look like in such an extreme but common instance “Reminiscent of entry # 9?”
In reading entry # 13 I’m led to respond; The offended wife can choose to trust her husband if she thinks it wise, though I agree I would advise her not to if the situation was as clear and simple as represented,”it seldom is.”
Try this one on for size. What if the wife knows in her heart that she helped the husband in his infidelity by breaking the marriage vows by witholding her love from him for years, thus inflicting a thousand potentially deadly though invisible knife strokes,”like those in entry # 12 by Tim,” but refuses to acknowledge her own part out of embarresment and even uses the husbands infidelity to justify continuing in her own sin. The husband knows this, but out of honest guilt for his own sin and respect for his wife’s reputation never mentions this fact, automatically forgiving and restoring her, thus facilitating her continued secret sin and perhaps setting them both up for potential failure in the not so distant future. Where is his restoration to take place in this instance? At least a sad and lonely life may be in store for them both; certainly not what God intended. One does not even begin to excuse the other, but prudent minds are cautious with a response.
I am more in agreement with Dave in his response in entry #14, Give it time!
If someone is truly walking with the lord they WILL be truly penitent, confession WILL be free flowing from ALL parties involved and obviously honest with no hint of self defense or self justification, even if applicable. Discipline WILL be gladly embraced; Ps. 23, v. 4; “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” A good councilor will see into their hearts and the Spirit will lead them as well.
NO expectation of acceptance will be held by the offender. If all this happens immediatly and publicly, the amount of time needed for restoration may be shortened; if the offended is ready to offer their trust, which they should readily be able to do if only they themselves are walking closely with the Lord. The Holy Spirit will bring clarity to the situation if all parties surrender as bondservants.
If penitence is shallow or incomplete, restoration should be slow in coming if wisdom ensues, although forgiveness may be offered immediately.
In extreme cases like adultery or pedifilia, even with complete penitence leadership must be concerned about causing stumbling in less mature saints or the community at large. I believe the case Tim brings to light in entry #26 is what we should hope for earnestly but by no means expect. The Holy Spirit acted mightily there. What a blessing to the Lord and to the community. I think few congregations would be prepared to surrender so. May more congregations become as strong in the Spirit.
Wow! I didn’t even think I had this much to say!
Sorry for my long winded opinions. Thank you for the chance to share! I hope I havn’t overstepped myself.
God Bless;
Randy

Randy,

Welcome. You didn’t overstep yourself.

If you do, then you have to buy the blog owner lunch.

I’ll let you know. 😉

Blessings…

Good Morning Randy! 🙂

I have come to believe, imho, that the living of life is walking through an equal opportunity field of hurt. We’ve all been hurt! We’re all guilty of having hurt others! No one is singled out! No one is spared! Sooner or later, one and / or the other will come our way.

It’s the human condition in this fallen world and why we are ALL so in need of a Savior and a Redeemer. A condition so dire and a need so great that our Heavenly Father sent “His Only Begotten Son” ……. “A Man Of Sorrows And Acquainted With Grief.”

Isaiah 53
John 3:16,17
Hebrews 2

The key is not in focusing on ourselves ……. even tho it’s an “all-about-me” world. The key is in staying focused on Jesus in all things and no matter what. This is done by taking His Hand and getting into Scripture with Him and hammering out all of our issues with Jesus in Scripture.

Too many times we choose everything but Jesus and His Holy Word ……. which is how we end up living our lives under the circumstances and all tangled up in confusion and fear.

Tackling all of our issues with Jesus, in Prayer and Scripture, is how we gain perspective ……. become more and more able to see the broader picture ……. learn that it ALL ALWAYS leads to God’s Greatest Good in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Take a hard look at Joseph’s experience in Genesis 37 – 50, Randy. It’s not just a kids’ Sunday School Bible story about a guy with a fancy coat. Really think about what went down there and how it all came out on the other end. Joseph was a real person and what happened to him was a HUGE MOMENT in history.

The Bible is filled with the history of real people living out real experiences ……. living lives not any different than our own ……. we have much to learn from their God ordained experiences ……. that’s why God had it all written out for us. Everything anyone needs to know about the living of life and living it above the circumstances is in the Bible.

What you need to know here, Randy, is ……. I’m not speaking off the top of my head. My own life has been such that if not for Jesus I would have crashed and burned years ago. Because of Jesus ……. I Soar On Eagles’ Wings. 🙂
[2 Corinthians 12:9,10]

Randy! 🙂

I too am thinking I may have “overstepped myself” and will end up having to buy you and Bill lunch ……. which would be a pleasure, by the way! 🙂

I realize my #70 probably wasn’t the response you were looking for.

However, when I read through your #68, what stayed with me was your second sentence: “Having been on both sides and having struggled over restoration for much of my life, … .”

In my #70, I was responding to that second sentence and your lifetime struggle.

OK ……. Where do you guys want to have lunch? It’s on me! 🙂

Years ago, before I was saved, Lynn and I separated. It was during that separation that I found I couldn’t “fix” what was wrong between us on my own and having seen her example of trusting Jesus for strength to endure the previous 18 years of marriage, I fell to my knees and called on Him for help. And help He did! I was able to forgive the infidelity she had during those two months we were apart, and He is the One who caused the restoration of our marriage.

Now fast forward 14 years… In that time I slacked off, got comfortable, and forgot to keep in practice the tools Christ showed me that caused the restoration. Add in the mix a diagnosis of bipolar in her and she left with another man a few weeks ago. The details of what happened during the 16 days she was gone are not important in this discussion, but suffice to say that the bloom on the flower they chased quickly faded and for her own safety she called on me to get her out of a bad situation.

During the days she was gone I ran a gamut of emotions and had even made an appointment with a divorce lawyer to find out my options in case it came to that. I knew I still loved her and always would, we have had thirty years together, some bad times but still many good ones that we cherish the memories of. But still, this hurt. But when the call to come and get her came and I knew it came from her heart I dropped all plans I had, knew I would forgive her and ran to her side. The prodigal son’s father didn’t hesitate, neither could I.

People who know what has been going on can’t understand how I can do what I’m doing, Christians included. All I can point them to is the fact that when I was most unlovable (and take my word for it, the Apostle Paul ain’t got nothing on me) Christ not only forgave me – He DIED for me. How can I look at that and not be able to forgive. No, I can’t forget, but with His help I can work toward never dredging it up again. The past is past; mine, hers and yours.

Now comes the restoration of our marriage. With His Spirit guiding me all those years ago he made Lynn’s and my relationship better than it had been in the beginning. I was the one who failed to keep it at that level. THAT too I can’t forget, So this time I fully anticipate restoration to reach yet another high this time ’round. I can’t do it on my own, she can’t do it on her own, and not even the both of us can do it on our own for true restoration has to be a gift of God. HE is the Giver of life, the Giver of all good things.

I’m sorry to come into this so late. I had only found the original post by Bill a few days ago and needed to dwell on it for a time before putting in my two cents. I’d say it’s funny how God puts things in front of us that we need when we need it, like this thread, but it’s really not funny at all – it’s totally AWESOME!

Striving in Him,
Ben

I wish I could edit the post above, for I want to add a big thank you to Okie for encouragement to put in my thoughts on this.

Thank you Randy, and thank You Jesus for all You do in our lives, like leading me to these places on the internet.

Ben –

Thank you for sharing. It was very encouraging to me, as my wife and I have been separated for many months, and I don’t see any change in that status for sometime to come (like years, given current indications….).

I can very much identify with what you’re going through, and understand completely why you took your wife back so readily.

Like you, I’m amazed at the resources and messages God continues to put in front of me….certain verses and stories (like the prodigal son) keep being brought to my attention. I can be slow, but I eventually get the message 🙂

Ben,

Great to hear from you. Thanks so much for sharing the work that God has done in your life and Lynn’s life.

Glad that you have met Okie. He is a very good man to have in your corner.

Love to you both.

Aponemo Time,

Blessings on you as well. I am thankful that you are encouraged by Ben’s words. He and Lynn went to our church years ago.

So thankful that God does use the Internet for His good amongst the brothers and sisters.

Bless you guys, all of you.

I guess this is evidence of just how seldom I check this site. To tell the truth, the last time I even checked my E-mail was the day of my last posting so I have only just now read the other things posted since then.
Ben: Bro, I haven’t seen you for a couple of years. It’s strange how our lives get so full of “stuff” that we don’t even realize how much we miss someone. I know now how much your friendship has ment to me because as I read your entry I could see your face and hear your voice in my mind. Ben, your situation has brought me to tears twice in one sitting. First, with grief at hearing about what you have been dealing with lately and, second, with joy at your response to these trials. What an enormous encouragement it has been for me to know that God has allowed me to be of some encouragement to you through this. I know how hard it can be to bare ones problems. It is also clear how much Godly friendships can even be strengthened when we do decide to share those hardest things. Regrettably, there has been no lack of people from among our midst to have had experiences like yours. Often the pain can make it very hard to even continue to walk with the Lord, let alone stay involved in those friendly but often distant and sometimes shallow “Church” friendships. I must confess to having been one of those friends. Please forgive me my friend and allow me to work my way toward restoration. I would jump at the chance to buy you some Peet’s coffee and sit for an hour or two to begin to be re-aquainted. With the attitude God has given you for your trials there is probably abundantly more good news in your life as well. I can’t wait to give this a kick start. I gather it may be bad form to post personal contact information on this type of site but since I can’t seem to find your phone number in any of my listings I’ll risk it. My cell phone number is 707-888-0427. Call any time. God Bless All.
Randy

Ben: Awesome, just awesome. Sounds like things are progressing nicely. You are a man of great courage and faith…God will honor that and use this for His glory…

Grace and peace bro…

What about situations where Damager perceives himself to be in the role of Forgiver because s/he has (a) taken offense where none got offered; (b) mischaracterized the efforts of Forgiver Actual to discuss the problems with a view toward mending the relationship as, instead, constituting instances of Forgiver Actual hurting and ‘damaging’ HIM instead; and (c) absolutely refused to discuss the situation so as to air out feelings and perceptions, come to mutual understanding and resolve it?

Thus Damager Actual sees himself in the role of “Forgiver” (at least, potentially so) and views Forgiver Actual as the Damager instead of himself. Damager Actual thus remains absolutely convinced that HE, in fact, has been the one hurt — when he has actually been the one to do the hurting — to the point where if he read a statement like this he would believe it applied to the other party (Forgiver Actual) rather than himself!! WHAT can you do in those situations? Beyond walking in forgiveness and seeking to play along with acting as if nothing happened, what on earth can you do–especially if you, Forgiver Actual, actually NEED Damager Actual way more than they need you–and they both know this and gleefully exploit it?

I am reading these posts…and I am “the damager…”

It did not take me long to go from lust to repentance… only 6 weeks…but it has been a living hell ever since…

So let me, please pose a few questions. “Is everything I am reading here is simply an American Version of the Truth? Is this ‘American opinion’ anti-Biblical, or is it on the cutting edge of heresy?”

Webster’s 1828 online…
The Scriptures being the standard of faith, any opinion that is repugnant to its doctrines, is heresy; but as men differ in the interpretation of Scripture, an opinion deemed heretical by one body of Christians, may be deemed orthodox by another.

Here is my story…
BEFORE Christ, I was married and to my 1st wife and she repeatedly committed adultery. Each time i brought her home, received her with a forgiving heart and we made another “go at it.”
It wasn’t until my parents told me to take her back again could cause me to catch something that I finally stopped and we divorced.

My confession…
Again, it did not take me long to go from lust to repentance… only 6 weeks…so according to the “time theory”, it has been more than 6 weeks and all should be “well” and it is not even beginning to become better…only worse!
And, in the “American Christian World”, I am hearing people wanting to be judge, jury and executioner.

To fail to forgive is ungodly. And when is forgiveness complete?
ACCORDING to the Word of God, When He forgives He restores completely. (“Your sins are forgiven you, go your way and sin no more” Where is the follow-up for those who propose the “restoration takes longer” model??)
Now, do we think that we are better than God and we should somehow make the one who caused the damage to sit at bay awaiting some “mystical point” in the future when we feel “OK” then restoration happens?
Can anyone show me this in Scripture? Or is this simply man’s opinion?
I have ministered in many nations…and here in the USA is the only nation where we cater to such opinions. (I can site examples from other nations and even where I sinned, upon my confession and repentance, they expect full restoration so we can “get back to what it is that Christ has called us to do…now!”)

Why? With Abba forgiveness and restoration are never disjointed…
When Christ forgave Peter and restored him, (you must know that his blatant denial of Christ as a disciple is one that should have been a 100% complete divorce between their paths…What happened? Messiah went to Peter, met with him, allowed the Spirit to bring about real repentance “Lord, you know that I love you…” and then, when real repentance was evident, he was restored. (Did this take weeks, months, years, or even better never?)

About Restoration…I hear it said that it will never be like it once was…really?
Back to Christ and Peter…
Peter was not simply restored to minister “somewhere…one day…” He was restored as if he had never sinned.
Now, I know this will not be popular…but neither is being Christ-Like…
When will we set aside our preconceived ideas and do what it is that we are called to do? Forgive, reconcile and restore…
Yes the wounds are great…but what about the wounds we each gave unto our Savior? He died for us!

Concerning repentance…not remorse…
Now, if there is a pattern of living in the sin, then there is no real repentance…then we have a new set of rules…Does Matthew Chapter 18 ring a bell to anyone?
And the purpose of “church discipline” is not to cast them aside…it is to restore the person back to Christ. Right?

Now you know “my story”…and what the Bible says concerning forgiveness and restoration…will we change? Probably not! Why? Many will “feel” that what I have written does not fit into their cozy little denominational world and belief system; that’s why.

Larry….if you are asking for my opinion, I would say that what has been shared here isn’t an Americanized version of Christianity, but a Biblical one.

I think the idea of restoration that is here being discusses is that of one being restored into a relationship or position of leadership whereby they could again, very quickly, harm others.

A repentant person ought to be immediately restored into the fellowship of the church, but a man whop physically abuses his wife and kids, though he may apologize, needs to be seen as truly repentant before being allowed to be in the house again.

That is my opinion, and I believe that it is a wise path to take.

Finally, your tone of writing invites confrontation and argument. We are all free to state our opinion ,but your statements come with an immediate assumption that we will all disagree with you because we prefer things the way we want them, as opposed to being Biblical.

Without knowing me or any of the writers here, you seem to assume the worst.

Bless you for crafting this site , i feel like god himself must be smiling down on you and your family. You’re such a beautiful person whom I am truley honored to share god’s grace with.

“The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. When we wrong someone, we seek his or her forgiveness in order for the relationship to be restored. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy, and grace.”

I challenge readers not to put themselves in a prideful position dispensing and judging worthiness of restoration. Instead consider what God requires of us and how quickly he bestows it. Restoration should be given freely with the only exception being abuse for an individuals safety.

With my soul and all my life, I must respond to this mans post, by saying nothing here is of Gods word or His teaching.
“Katy Moses” said it best; “The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt.
Lest anyone forget they to are sinners before God, this is what He has done for each of us, He has shown grace, not once but 70 x 7 , we each must take a look in the mirror and ask are we emulating Jesus Christ that is what a real believer lives.

By us not practicing truth, grace, and forgiveness we are showing the world we have become indistinguishable, as millions die under the very shadows of the Christian church. people never forget this is not our home, show the grace given to you. read.. (Mark 7:6)(Titus 1:6)
when you fail to pardon another, after they have asked you for forgiveness, you then stand in judgment, this is Gods position not ours end of question.(Luke 6:37)

And people wonder why the world is the way it is, it starts with us the body of Christ, we must emulate Christ with our lives and show grace as it has been given.

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