Title: Forgiveness And Christianity_2
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This is the concluding part of this article. The first part of the article can be downloaded from our web site: www.crossandcrownchristianministry.org.
Forgiveness from the Christian perspective is wider and deeper. It is wider because, whereas the focus from the psychologists’ point of view is mainly with regards to human beings,
1. Forgiveness from the Christian perspective factors in the Almighty God and His requirements.
2. Forgiveness from the Christian perspective is also with regards to sin, which is basically transgressions of the laws of God.
The harm that comes to one who is expected to forgive, from the Christian perspective, is believed to happen because the Almighty God allowed it. Christianity preaches that no harm can come to anyone with out the Almighty knowing and allowing it to happen – Lam. 3:37-40. So, no matter what level of harm the one who wants to forgive may have experienced, the starting point will be to question why God permitted it to happen. Most Christian teachings reveal that
1. God may allow it to happen because it is part of what must be experienced in the way to success. A kind of Red Sea experience that cannot be avoided on the way to the Promise land.
2. God may allow it to happen because he needs to bring the Christian back on line. In such scenarios, the experience will help the Christian realise a miss of direction and a need to re-focus. In this instance, things are instantly restored whenever the victim of the pain corrects his/her errors. The constant punishment and forgiveness cycle of the Israelites by the Almighty God is a relevant reference here.
3. God may allow it as penalty to be paid for a transgression of his laws and Instructions. In this case, it is usually for a season after which normalcy is restored. The several instances of King David being penalised is also relevant in this instance.
In all these scenarios, there is the role to be played by an individual or a group but they are mostly because God needs human participation in any of his interventions in the affairs of men.
There is however, the possibility of the Almighty God penalising the harm causing person or group for going beyond their mandate in afflicting the individual. This is the case with the Assyrians whom the Lord punished for not staying within limits in afflicting the Israelites when they were handed over to them. This does not in any way imply that there are no harmful experiences that results from the negative schemes of man but Christianity preaches that it only manifested because God allowed it, for any of the above stated reasons.
In that wise, the Christian theory adds the personality of the Almighty God into the harm causing process that will probably need to be considered when a decision to Forgive is to be taken, since no harm can come to someone, irrespective of the source, without His knowledge and approval. However, it seems an easier and more practical option to vent the anger of the harm on the more visible personality and also forgive that same personality when necessary. This will then be for the reason that he/she allowed him/her self to be used for God-driven purposes or out of personal reasons took steps which only god can permit that harmed the one that plans to Forgive.
The appropriateness of such guilt allocation is not the subject of this article as the act of Forgiveness remains the focus. This is because, no matter who is harming who and who is forgiving who, Christianity preaches that the beginning of a good and rewarding relationship with the Almighty God is in being transgressions free. However, because no human being can claim that status of being sin free, it is important that such acts of sin be overlooked in a move that is called Forgiveness, a grace that cannot be received by anyone who does not forgive fellow human beings for perceived harm caused.
Christianity views Forgiveness from the definition of the Psalmist in Psalm 32:1-2 which can be summarised as follows;
1. All the act that caused harm or pain are covered. To cover them is not to say that they never existed but that it is no longer reckoned with. It is not visible so is not factored into any decision making process about the person.
2. It can no longer be counted against the person. Such acts cannot be used to determine the suitability or otherwise of such a forgiven person for some form of consideration or the other.
3. There must be complete absence of deceit in the person who is to be forgiven. All that is been said must be meant honestly.
Christian Forgiveness puts a responsibility on the beneficiary of the act of Forgiveness as it expects some form of remorse on the part of such person. Christian Forgiveness expects that the one to be forgiven positions him/her self to receive it by the display of an act that indicates regret for being the source of the harm causing situation. Where soberness is not obvious, the Forgiveness process will be truncated at the point where the one who is forgiving simply let’s go but there cannot be a proper reconciliation which is the terminating point of the Christian Forgiveness process – Matt. 18:15-20.
Whatever may be the case with the prospective beneficiary of Forgiveness, a baseline is expected in terms of reaction, from the one who has experienced harm. There must be the readiness to let go of all negatives because such an individual also expects such Grace from the Almighty God. So whether the beneficiary of Forgiveness is remorse or not, the one who claims to have suffered some form of harm must let go in order to maintain a positive relationship with the Lord – Matt. 18:22-35.
This may again not be that easy especially if the pain is still fresh. How is one expected to bury and not reference the cause of a harm that is still very fresh. Definitely, it is an act that is difficult for the natural man but proper understanding of the whole process by the one who is required to forgive may help in this direction. It is important for such to acknowledge the following;
1. Firstly, acknowledge that no matter how powerful or well positioned any being may be, no harm can come to you from that source if the Almighty God did not permit it.
2. Secondly, accept that the Almighty God does or allows everything for his pre-determined purpose.
3. Thirdly, believe that all things are being designed to work together for your good.
If you accept this very true facts, then you will be able to see that all you call harm is a negative experience on the path to success and should not be focused or dwelt on for too long. The longer you dwell on this minor event, the more you delay your arrival at your destination.
The act of Forgiveness will not be difficult for you if you view all those experiences from the above perspectives and focus on the God that permitted all to happen, submit to His Will for your life and accept His directions. An unforgiving nature is a confirmation of the unbelieving status of the person in the omnipotent and omniscience nature of God. Accept like Nebuchadnezzar today that God indeed rules in the affairs of men and you will have no time for the little matter of human beings causing you harm – Dan. 4:16-28. No human being can cause the true Christian any harm without God’s approval. If there is the need to forgive anyone, it should be God and please do that if you think you are so positioned else just move on.
This concludes the second and final part of this article. Please feel free to download the full article from our website: www.crossandcrownchristianministry.org. You may also send your reactions to: firstname.lastname@example.org