forgiveness isn’t an emotion

Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Filed under: life | Tags: , , | 22 Comments »

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. -2 Corinthians 5:18-20

We have one assignment. That assignment is to spread the message of reconciliation. You can’t do this if you are unable to reconcile with another person. I’ll never understand how two people can have nothing to do with each other, but both claim to be serving the same God.

Forgiveness is not about being okay with what someone has done to you. It’s about being okay with letting God take care of you the way He sees fit. Especially when He tells you that He works everything out for your good.

Forgiveness isn’t an emotion, it’s an act of faith. Taking matters into your own hands, refusing to let someone move forward after they fall, is you settling for something much cheaper than reconciliation. You don’t have the luxury of making people pay, anyway. God does and He did, and you can look at the scars on His Son’s body for the proof.


love wins



22 Comments on “forgiveness isn’t an emotion”

  1. 1 Janelle said at 11:06 am on May 8th, 2012:

    Amen, sister!


  2. 2 serenawoods said at 10:52 pm on May 11th, 2012:

    Thanks, Janelle. 🙂

  3. 3 Heather said at 3:07 pm on May 8th, 2012:

    Love this passage. The ministry of reconciliation. My understanding is the ministry of hope, grace, to bring healing, bring people back to together, making things not just new but whole. Not the ministry of telling people their sins or cutting people off, or enforcing God's judgement. We need to stop using the Christian or church language, and learn Christ's language.

  4. 4 serenawoods said at 4:14 pm on May 8th, 2012:

    I like it. 🙂

  5. 5 Michelle said at 12:01 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    I heard recently, and it makes perfect sense to me: Forgiveness takes one. Reconciliation takes two.

    I can forgive. The other person may not choose to do so…and reconciliation might never take place. But, I am forgiven and can forgive without their participation, just as, God has forgiven me. The whole world is forgiven, but is the whole world reconciled? Nope. That takes two. When I am in agreement with God that He has it all covered (by the blood of His Son), then I am reconciled to Him.

    My ex-husband says he has forgiven me, but he refuses to be reconciled. Only God knows if his heart is true…has he truly forgiven me? I don't know. I do know, we are not reconciled for he refuses to speak.

    Love what you've said here! Thanks.

  6. 6 serenawoods said at 4:52 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    When I think of reconciliation, I think of two things being in harmony. I think forgiveness sings. In tune.

  7. 7 Michelle said at 11:12 pm on May 9th, 2012:


  8. 8 dawn said at 3:48 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    When I first read this concept of reconciliation and restoration in your book I accepted it and agreed with it. Because like you said, we (the ones I hurt and the ones that hurt me) claim the same God. After all God tells us to turn the other cheek, and in Lamentations to give our cheek to the one who smites us. But then I read the story of Jacob and Esau, how even after they reconciled Jacob was unwilling to restore their relationship to being anything more than reconciliation and moving on away from each other. Some relationships don't get restored, that is how there remains peace between the parties.

    I read yesterday about Davids sin with Bathsheba. I saw that even though God forgave David and washed away his guilt, He did not remove or relent the consequences of his sin. David and his decedents paid the rest of their lives for it. The sword will never leave your house, God told him. His sin didn't hold back God's hand of blessing in Davids life, but David received the consequences of his actions and so did his children and grandchildren. He lost his son Absalom because of his sin with Bathsheba.

    We have no idea what we will reap when we sew certain actions. God doesn't takes those away, we can only reap what we sew. He gives us good along with it when there is repentance, like you say, grace…getting what we don't deserve.

    just my thoughts, you don't have to post them Serena.

  9. 9 serenawoods said at 5:11 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    I'm fine posting your thoughts, Dawn. 🙂 They're valid.

  10. 10 serenawoods said at 5:11 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    I was sent a letter from my old friends right after my big failure that said, "David and Bethsheba would be slinging stones at you." It also mentioned the forever consequences of sin being passed from generation to generation. It was followed up with a prayer, maybe still being prayed: "We pray for your innocent children, that the sins of their mother won't be passed on to them, and we pray that He protects their hearts and minds from you and your life."

    The lack of reconcilliation is a pitting up of one person against the other, especially, in this case, in prayer. They don't know that I pour into my children rythem of grace I have learned and the message of hope that the cross gives to people who think they are beyong salvation, restoration, or purpose. All the while, they pray that I will have no effect on them.

    The lack of reconcilliation freezes the offender in their filth forever in the minds of the one who refuses to check back in with the one they left on the ground. It's a cheap, almost mocking, statement to call over your shoulder, "I forgive you and I love you!" and strut into the sunset. It's a sucker punch dressed in fleece on so many levels.

    The truth is, that mentality is one that is absent of Jesus. The bloodline of David and Bethsheba was the bloodline that Christ came from. He entered into a new covenent with man and it changed everything. Sins are no longer passed down from generation to generation. He stopped the death flow with His bloodflow.

    I think I'll have to write a blog. 😉

  11. 11 dawn said at 11:31 am on May 15th, 2012:

    that so called prayer for you by other christians is indeed shocking, and hateful, full of mans desires for you, not Gods. I can't believe someone would say prayers like that, and yet, I have been apart of the religious system that believes that way. And I have been one of their victims as well. So I agree with you about that not being grace or love or anything that resembles Jesus. I understand your attitude toward them.

    But I still know that scripture is true, if it says God visits the iniquities of the parents on the generations to come, than He does. I am looking at it differently than you are. I see the sewing and the reaping and the consequence we will live with here and now because of our choices. You seem to be seeing the big picture, overall salvation from sin and the ministry of complete reconciliation. While I can embrace that in my relationship with God through Yeshua, I see that it doesn't always manifest in the natural in the relationships and circumstances I live with.

    I suppose we have to agree to disagree for now. I am thankful for you, and what you have shared. God used it mightily in my life. I look forward to your blogs and enjoy everyone of them. I guess I am a bit like you, haha, if I don't agree with something so immensely important as understanding scripture, I have to say something. I can refrain if you would rather.

  12. 12 serenawoods said at 12:13 pm on May 15th, 2012:

    Hi, Dawn, after reading your thoughts, I’m not sure we disagree.

    There is the sin of Adam, passed on to everyone… then there is the new inheritance from Jesus, passed on to everyone. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. -1 Corinthians 15:22

    I think that is what you are talking about when you say that I am referring to the big picture (which I was).

    I think that you are talking about the consequences of sin as far as children of divorce (they’ve lost something) and the struggles that come with broken relationships. I agree with you. 🙂

    My point in this post, really, is how it is not forgiveness to say you forgive, but still perpetuate the person’s sin with words and/or actions. I’m talking about pitting yourself against someone who sinned as though there is no redemption and only condemnation. I don’t think that you are disagreeing with that. Some sins, as with mine, change circumstances in such a way that going backward instead of forward is not what God wants for the relationship. My former mother-in-law recently told me, “I love you. Circumstances have changed, but my love has not.” I no longer have holidays at her house. I no longer get to make her laugh or stay up late watching movies with her, we don’t even get to annoy each other anymore, but I know she loves me. That’s forgiveness.

  13. 13 dawn said at 9:55 am on May 17th, 2012:

    YES! That is exactly what I was trying to convey. I must have misunderstood your writings about reconciling and restoring relationships. I thought you were teaching that relationship should be completely restored if forgiveness has been granted, and I just couldn't "get" that. Then I read your post on fb about the gift of not caring and that made sense. I have this relationship with my step daughter that just isn't right, or at least I am always wondering if I am doing the right thing regarding her. I struggle with the need to compartmentalize everything. Control issue I guess, though I really truly trust Abba. I am easily confused. LOL (not really funny)
    thx, thx, for responding. <3

  14. 14 @stephofcourse said at 5:34 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    My Aunt who was also like a my second mom. Was someone i could tell anthing to she was a godly woman and i looked up to her and wanted to be like her, and just last year it came out in this horrible way that she had been living a second life style and had been cheating on my uncle. She then picked up her stuff and left her family and her childern. This past year my heart has struggled with forgivness to someone who doesent care if you forgive them or not. How do i give this all to God?

  15. 15 serenawoods said at 9:28 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    It's hard for me to answer questions about people who don't want to be forgiven or restored or whatever else because I wasn't like that… until I realize that those things were said about me, too. And then I have to wonder what people like me, your aunt, and anyone else who has done something like this do to protect ourselves from the rejection we know we deserve.

    A friend of mine tried to reach out to me right after my big sin because she knew something big was happening, but nobody would tell her. But she was a mutual friend between me and the woman I had betrayed. I didn't tell her what I did because the other woman hadn't, but I told her to be a friend to her and forget about me. I did this because I wanted to make it easier on her and didn't think she would want to feel used if I let her know how bad I hurt. I didn't want her to feel manipulated. I made the decision for her. In retrospect and in her words, I pushed her away. I have reached out many times since and have not received any answer. I have left it alone for about four years or so. I thought I was doing the right thing, but the situation was so messed up, everything I did was either wrong or viewed as wrong.

    I'm saying that because your aunt may be feeling like people would take sides and she doesn't deserve to have you on her side. Your aunt made the choice to stop lying and that threw everybody into a tornado of destruction that she had been maintaining on her own for however long.

    I don't know if you've tried to reach out to her or what has taken place in this aftermath. I also don't know what your aunt has said or how she is processing her own failure. I do know that people in that situation are not thinking clearly. People don't behave normally when they are not in normal situations. More things come out as the tangles get combed and it seems like sin after sin pushes them further and further into the dark, but the person going through it, once they decide to stop lying, is on the path to healing while everyone else is just learning this stuff. The waves of aftershock go on longer as the truth unfolds, but it's been their truth for a lot longer.

    People in the aftermath of their own sin have to face things little by little. They can't do it all at once and they need the patience of people who have a vision of the healing that overshadows the 'right now' perspective.

    How do you give this to God? I can only speak for myself, but time has shown this to be true for many, many people who reach out to me… God has become more clear to me since my sin than he ever was before. I have become someone so completely different, lined up closer to scripture, what he's called me to be, in the after than in the before. So much so, that I think he had this in mind all along. I no longer look at my sin as something that taints me forever. I see it as a necessary awareness that keeps me at the feet of Jesus. It was my death. I'm in the new life now.

    Because of Jesus me, you, and everybody else can find hope in the hell. Some people have to fall to the very bottom before they realize where we line up and why Jesus had to come. You have to consider the choice: Do you want your aunt back and filled to the brim with lies and tangles, or do you want her free of her lies so she can start healing? It may never look like you want it to look, but that doesn't mean that God is not able to take her mess and make something beautiful out of it.

    It's hard for the people closest to the sin to see the long range perspective because the pain clouds their vision. Trust God's ability to take the broken and heal them and not your aunt's ability to do this all on her own. I would bet your aunt it hurting beyond her ability to stand it. I know she made bad choices, but it doesn't mean she's happy. Let her know she hasn't lost you, just like she hasn't lost hope of God's love and grace.

  16. 16 @iChilly said at 9:41 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    been kicked around a few times (may have had it coming)… but I've learned – with lots of God's help – to be bigger not bitter and smile through the trial. we're talking about it on my blog too:

  17. 17 Tara said at 9:53 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    I've only come to the church in the last 2 years, so I'm new to a lot of theology. I struggle so much with forgiveness. I can say "It's okay," but the slight haunts me, sometimes for years. I could, right this instant, recount with vivid detail a situation that happened with my in-laws well over two years ago. They never apologized; I tried to forgive but mostly just forgot and got over it and made a strained effort to be cordial.

    I think I saw your Tweet tonight for a reason. I hadn't thought about this huge blowup until I read your post. I guess He's trying to tell me that I need to deal with it. {sigh}
    My recent post Every Day is Mother’s Day

  18. 18 serenawoods said at 9:57 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    Tara, the thing that helps me forgive others is to think of the times I have needed it. I guess that my own track record of failure gives me some great ammunition against holding the sins of others in my heart. As much as I want my own failure to not haunt me, I don't want anyone else's in there either.

  19. 19 Janelle said at 5:50 pm on May 11th, 2012:

    You are exactly right! Forgiveness isn’t an emotion, it’s an act of faith. I think sometimes people forget this. Great post.

    My recent post on the other side of suffering

  20. 20 Diane said at 10:40 pm on May 11th, 2012:

    even though I have not walked the journey you have, I always feel so blessed by your words!!! The grace I feel here, draws me back again and again. I left a group of super religious people (the amish) and I can sooo relate with your words here……..I just wanted you to know how much you have encouraged me, ~ di

  21. 21 serenawoods said at 10:53 pm on May 11th, 2012:

    Diane, I have always been fascinated by the Amish culture. 🙂 I would love to hear more of your story. Thanks for letting me know that you're here. 🙂

  22. 22 Julie R. said at 7:55 pm on May 13th, 2012:

    For me, forgiveness, started as a CHOICE. I didn't feel it. I hurt, I ached…I was in a rage, and I cried myself to sleep some nights. I was haunted by what was done to me, and to others. Every day was filled with memories I couldn't escape. I sought therapy when my memories began invading my sleep. My therapist taught me that forgiveness is often a choice in the beginning. When I could acknowledge my "right" to be hurt, but my willingness to let God settle up on my behalf I could say "Today, I choose to forgive that person for these wrongs." Every day, I made that choice. I wanted to forgive, but I had bought into the lie that because I didn't "feel" different, and because I didn't FORGET what was done, I hadn't truly forgiven. My therapist taught me that if I would choose forgiveness, that God would honor that. In time, the memories quit crowding my thoughts during the day and I was sleeping well at night. Also in time, I began to feel the forgiveness I chose to give. With that I was able to really deal with the past, and I was able to reach a place of peace. God Bless all of us as we travel these roads.

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