10 Things You Should Know about Forgiving Others

Sam Storms: Forgiving others is counter-intuitive to human nature. It rarely seems to make sense. Most often it grates on our souls like fingernails on a chalkboard. King Louis XII of France spoke for us all when he said, “Nothing smells so sweet as the dead body of your enemy!” If we were honest with each other we’d readily admit that we enjoy withholding forgiveness because it permits us to keep our enemies (and even some of our friends) under control. It gives us the opportunity to manipulate them into providing things we want from them. We use their offense against us as a rope to dangle them over the fires of vengeance. If we were to completely forgive them, we would lose our excuse for self-pity. And forgiveness would set them free from their obligation to us to “make good.” One thing I’ve learned over the years is that people typically refuse to forgive others or even to consider

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Three lies about forgiveness

J.D. Greear: A few years ago I read a fascinating book called The Bishop of Rwanda, by John Rucyahana. He talked about the horrible genocides in Rwanda, and the aftermath of the civil wars there. He said that the genocides were, obviously, horrendous, but it was the lingering bitterness and hatred afterwards that was the most difficult. Most people couldn’t even consider the idea of forgiveness. Rucyahana pointed out that the obstacles to forgiveness really came from lies people believed about forgiveness. These three lies are as applicable in big cases (like his) as they are in our more everyday cases of forgiveness. Lie #1: You must wait until the person shows they’ve repented. Well, to put it bluntly, Jesus didn’t. He forgave his enemies on the cross, at the very moment they were killing him. Forgiveness isn’t the same as reconciliation. With reconciliation, you need both sides to come to the table. But forgiveness is first about releasing you from

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