Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Friday is for Friends

posted by xscot mcknight

Any study of the disciplines that shape Christian community eventually comes face to face with forgiveness, and Darryl Tippens, Pilgrim Heart, turns to this theme in chp. 9. I remind readers that we touched on forgiveness and memory when we looked for weeks at Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory; Tippens gets us there once again. The theme must remain central to any understanding of the community disciplines of our faith.
The chp is called “Forgiving: The Love that Travels Farther.”
We are back to the same question: How might we learn to forgive more? Are we ready to be the genesis of forgiveness in our world?
Tippens opens up with stories of those who were about to die, at the hands treachery, but who publicly declared their forgiveness of perpetrators. “The reciprocal giving and receiving of forgiveness is one of the central features of the Christian faith, surely one of the most challenging, kenotic [self-sacrificing] dimensions of our faith” (115).
Ira Byock, a physician who spent his life caring for dying patients, said there are four things that matter most: Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. And, I love you.
“Forgiveness may be the one miracle that we can experience daily, if we are but willing to risk our pride and renounce our need to be ‘right’.”
Forgiveness begins with God; we see it visibly in contemplating the cross; it can only be comprehended in light of the last chapter of our life; and we are challenged to absolve even ourselves (self-forgiveness).
“Vengeance never settles the matter. The Gospel way can, however, end the cycle of violence…. [forgiveness] is conterintuitive and ‘against our nature’.”



Advertisement
Comments read comments(27)
post a comment
BeckyR

posted March 30, 2007 at 3:44 am


I hope this pertains to the questions asked.
The first thing I think about this, is for there to be forgiveness, but not expect it to be perfect, either forgiveness we extend nor require forgiveness extended to us to be perfect. I think I don’t remember the phrase correctly, I have it in my head as “significant but not perfect.” The world does not expect to see perfection in us, but they do expect to see some example of love.
Just watched a show tonight where a woman’s rapist who got off the hook 20 yrs prior, wrote her as the beginning of making amends. He asked for her forgiveness. He confessed in emailing, that he had raped her 20 yrs prior. Sbe went to the police for justice to be done. I think there can be justice and forgiveness. I will call you to accountability for your offense.
On the other hand, I wish I could have the heart of Corrie Ten Boom who could extend her hand to one of her tormentors in the prison camp she was in.
Lack of forgiving makes my heart small. I do myself harm, without the offender even knowing I haven’t forgiven.
I search my heart often of whether I have forgiven my abusive mother who caused great wounds in my life, twisted my life. I’ve spent 20 yrs untwisting the twists. I don’t know what forgiveness looks like in that situation. I know I need not return to her, I have more worth than to subject myself to that kind of treatment. I was told once that when I no longer need to return to the wound, I will have forgiven her. I work toward that. But if I had the heart of Corrie Ten Boom, could I extend my hand to my mom. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know where that would fit, if it is part of what would fit.
I hope this is significant to the questions asked.



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard

posted March 30, 2007 at 3:46 am


I love this, Scot. This is so wonderful. And so needed to make us the distinctive witness we need to be in this world, in Jesus. To forgive others and accept their forgiveness based on the forgiveness of God in Christ. Tremendous! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard

posted March 30, 2007 at 3:51 am


But Becky, like you point out, it ain’t (sorry, Lukas) always easy. I think it can surely involve a process. We forgive immediately/asap, but then need to work through a process to deepen and actualize that forgiveness in our hearts.
I think a key here is to understand more and more the forgiveness of God in Christ for ourselves. To truly see ourselves better in the mirror of God’s Word and in the light of his holiness. To let the depths of our own sin be more and more revealed to us at certain times. Then to accept God’s great salvation to us in Christ (cf, Psa 51).
Becky, God bless you and increasingly heal your woundedness for his love and glory!



report abuse
 

Ivy Gauvin

posted March 30, 2007 at 5:29 am


Scot,
What an appropriate reminder for us, particularly as we approach the end of Lent, move into Holy Week and to the cross. Forgiveness is what it’s all about.
Blessings!



report abuse
 

John Frye

posted March 30, 2007 at 9:05 am


Becky,
Thank you for your honesty. For those who make forgiveness a trite mental/verbal transaction not only demean the struggle you carry (regarding your mother), but they trivialize the cross–the ineffable agony of Son (and Father) in providing forgiveness for our sins. While forgiveness is a decision and pronouncement, I think in Jesus it was a “way of life.” God bless you in your journey.



report abuse
 

BeckyR

posted March 30, 2007 at 9:34 am


John and Ted. First thanks for a sense of understanding the struggle.
I wonder, though, if it is our sin and God’s forgiveness to us and the price Christ paid on the cross, that increases the ability to forgive. With Easter around the corner I can understand how that might be thought about.
I see God’s love for the world on the cross and I am more inclined to think it is concentrating and going deeper in God’s love that fuels forgiveness. Is it Ephesians that has the opening prayer of knowing the height and depth and breadth of God’s love because all our actions come out of that.
Excuse me if that was what you two were trying to say.



report abuse
 

John Frye

posted March 30, 2007 at 11:08 am


Becky,
I wasn’t trying to say anything to you about what you should do. I affirm your honest struggle and take it to mean that you’re more forgiving than you think.



report abuse
 

Ted Gossard

posted March 30, 2007 at 11:30 am


Becky, I certainly agree with what you say. The more we can “know” the depth of that love of God in Christ and its application to us, experiencing that, the more we should be able to apply that to others who have sinned against us. But like John well says, it certainly does not exclude struggles for us at times.



report abuse
 

BeckyR

posted March 30, 2007 at 12:11 pm


John, I didn’t think you were telling me what to do. What is there in what I wrote, that gave that impression? I was just writing more of my thoughts about the motivation for forgiveness.



report abuse
 

Elizabeth Chapin

posted March 30, 2007 at 12:29 pm


One area of forgiveness that I struggle with is when Jesus said after the “Lord’s Prayer” Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I also struggle with forgiving without the offender taking responsibility – in the case of martyrdom it seems to me to be easy to forgive, after all I will never see the offender again. But when my husband offends, I have to live with him everyday and forgive over and over again. I find the small stuff much more challenging than the big stuff. My desire is to be an example of love and grace and forgiveness first in my home with my husband and kids. Then, if I ever come face to face with the big stuff it will be even easier.



report abuse
 

John Frye

posted March 30, 2007 at 12:32 pm


BeckyR (#9),
I misuderstood your comment (#6). Sorry about that. I reread it and have to say “my bad.”



report abuse
 

Elizabeth Chapin

posted March 30, 2007 at 12:34 pm


Just a couple more thoughts,
How can we learn to forgive more?
1. Strive to always be the first to ask forgiveness and extend forgiveness.
2. Admit wrong – don’t offer a simplistic “sorry” but confess and repent when seeking forgiveness, but don’t require this of others before you forgive them.
3. Forgive without being asked and especially when the offense was accidental.
4. Forgive powerfully by giving something to those who purposefully and wrongfully offend.



report abuse
 

Krista

posted March 30, 2007 at 2:18 pm


I read this past week about parents who asked a judge to change the sentence of the man who murdered their daughter from the death penalty to life without parole because that punishment agrees with what their daughter believed.
Our society grasps, demands for justice which then arrives in forms of vengence. Perhaps, forgiveness acknowledges the deep hurt and moves toward reconciliation and healing for all involved. It also continually puts others before self. Forgiveness that is self-seeking fails in the long run.
Too often, I am quick to take offense and slower to forgive. However, if confidence and life rest in my belonging to Christ in the body of believers, it should be the other way around, right?



report abuse
 

BeckyR

posted March 30, 2007 at 3:10 pm


If there is someone who hits with fists, I will not return to get more of it. My mom hits with words, I will not return to get more of that.
We tried to find a way to be around each other, with the help of a psychologist. First thing said was her demanding an apology from me for calling her an abuser.
Can there be reconciliation when the other party thinks they’ve done no wrong?
There have been a couple times she was hospitalized for illnesses that could have killed her. I had to make decisions whether to see her or not, a thing of – before she dies. I decided not to because she’d see it as me apologizing, me turning around calling her an abuser.
I don’t know if I’ll ever know that what I’ve done in relation to her, is right. I would like absolution. I don’t know if I’ll get it.
Can there be reconciliation if the other party thinks they’ve done no wrong? If the other person is made in such a way of not being able to see in various things, that they’ve done wrong. It’s just in their make-up.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted March 30, 2007 at 3:24 pm


Becky,
You can forgive without reconciliation, though even that is not the ideal. But, there can’t be genuine reconciliation until the cross swamps those problems.



report abuse
 

Darryl Tippens

posted March 30, 2007 at 5:50 pm


Dear Readers,
As the author of Pilgrim Heart, I have read with great interests the postings over the last few weeks. For the most part, I felt that should remain silent — after all, I had 220 pages to have my say. It only seems fair that I should remain silent and let others have their say. Today’s discussion, though, compels me to add a thought or two. In every chapter of the book I wrote about a practice that not only flows from scripture, but also derives from my own experience. What I wrote about forgiveness is deeply autobiographical. Like many others, I carry wounds from my childhood — in my case, from a troubled father-son relationship: I had a father who was extremely harsh, distant, and unsupportive. As a boy I needed — I longed for — a parent who would listen, understand, and affirm me. It just didn’t happen. Fast forward a few decades … Last night I had to drop everything in order to go take care of my 82-old dad. He’s a widower of just a few months, and he’s battling cancer. Today, it was my honor and privilege to be with him while he went through a cancer treatment. We laughed and talked about many things today, despite the serious situation. He’s changing, and so am I. I still don’t think we’ll ever see eye to eye. I’m not sure he’ll ever really know me. He finds it almost impossible to engage in a heart-to-heart conversation. But I’ve learned to be more gracious, and he’s mellowed too. There is a new peace, a serenity, in our relationship I never thought possible. Do I still carry some wounds? Yes. Some scars never go away. I regret that we will probably never have the kind of relationship I had longed for in my youth. But can I live without anger, resentment, or bitterness? Oh yes! In my case, the forgiveness did not come in one dramatic instance. It came by degree: first I prayed that I could speak forgiveness (and mean it, even if I didn’t feel it). Then, slowly, over time, I not only prayed for a forgiving heart, I felt forgiveness. Now, as I see my aged, sick, and lonely father, I feel profound compassion for him, knowing this side of heaven we both missed an opportunity for a relationship that we will redeem in heaven. God bless us all as we week to forgive. God grant as the ability to forgive, even if in very small degrees. Darryl Tippens



report abuse
 

Darryl Tippens

posted March 30, 2007 at 5:54 pm


Speaking of forgiveness, please forgive the obvious typos in my posting. It should all budding writers some comfort to know that even published writers (with PhDs in English!) can type words wrong. (My only advice here is: get an editor!) Darryl



report abuse
 

kent

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:09 pm


Scot,
Is it is easier to forgive if your have oriented your life towards gratitude? If you see the abundance of life rather than the scarcity. The abundance of God love and hope, the abundance of goodness can overcome even the betrayal of a close loved one.



report abuse
 

BeckyR

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:23 pm


Scot, will you say more what it means “the cross swamps those problems”? Any ideas what that would look like in my situation?
Darryl – thanks for your story. As I think I’ve shown in my postings today, I have some ambivalence about what my relationship should be with my mom. I think it would relieve a great deal of the guilt would I be able to be around her, she still cruel, and let the cruel words flow off me. The thought of being with her, terrifies me. Maybe it’s time in my journey to look at how I could be around her. I just don’t know if I could take it physically. The time we tried to reconcile through the psychologist, my back was spasming weekly. I couldn’t function with a back that way, and I knew it was my body responding to her. I stopped contact because my body couldn’t take it. It may be while she lives I can’t be with her. I would seek absolution on that. Maybe it’s time to work with someone who could help me figure out from inside me, what it would take to be with her. Then I could say a yes or no to whether I do so. I read stories like yours, and there are others out there, and I wish I could do that with my mom. Just not let her games get to me.



report abuse
 

BeckyR

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:30 pm


Yeh, from some of the work I’ve done in therapy, I’ve just identified one of my major areas I’ve worked on. I have been told I have to let go of looking for a mommy. That is, a parent, period, and secondly, one that could nurture, love. My postings today show another part of me still hanging on to wanting a mommy. Another place I need to let go of that wish. Perhaps I could be around her if I were able to let go of wanting her to be a mommy, and wanting her to be a parent. Bingo. I’m glad I see that, but I really don’t like that I still am hanging onto that wish. I wish I just could let it go in all manifestations it comes out it. Dangit.



report abuse
 

Diane

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:32 pm


I find myself needing to forgive people I have hurt. This doesn’t make sense to me, but it comes up over and over. Have others had this experience? Do we need to forgive those we’ve hurt in order to be forgiven by them? Is it an intuitive grasp at the spirit level that we hurt ourselves when we hurt others? I think it’s painful to even acknowledge we’ve hurt people, but we all have done it as it’s part of being human.



report abuse
 

Diane

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:37 pm


And Becky, I am so sorry about your situation. You sound very strong to me in your ability to face it and make decisions that are healthy for you. I lost my mother young to cancer after a troubled childhood with her, and I understand the desire for a parent. I wish you the best.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:57 pm


Becky,
What I mean is simple: God forgives us in the pain of the cross and we need to let that incredible power overwhelm us with its grace so we are empowered to forgive our way into reconciliation.



report abuse
 

Darryl Tippens

posted March 30, 2007 at 9:33 pm


To Becky and others, I would make a sharp distinction between forgiving someone and putting oneself under another person’s destructive power, especially when that person still has the power to wantonly wound or hurt. One can love and forgive another person, without yielding to their dangerous or negative behavior. One can forgive another and still maintain healthy boundaries (separation). Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to cease to offer oneself to another who has a destructive tendency. (I.e., to end the “co-dependency”) Be wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove.



report abuse
 

Elizabeth Chapin

posted March 31, 2007 at 1:07 am


I love Darryl’s advice to forgive and maintain boundaries, but what I have found to be the most liberating is to seek forgiveness from those who mistreat me. Sometimes I have unwittingly offended someone and their mistreatment of me stems from their hurt. I often find reconciliation comes, bit by bit, when I humble myself and ask if I have offended in any way and then attempt to set things right.
My mother-in-law has changed in the way she treats me since I have sought her forgiveness when I ask her about any offenses. When I am able to genuinely explain that I did not intend to hurt her, she usually softens up a bit. But she still chooses to hold grudges and allow bitterness to stain her life. We are exhorted to be at peace with all, so far as it depends on you. So, once I’ve done all I can, then that’s all I need to do.
Becky, I can only imagine how difficult your situation is with your mom. I pray God’s healing hand to be upon you and your mom. I have found David Seamands books on healing to be very helpful, as well as Neil Anderson’s books on freedom in Christ.



report abuse
 

BeckyR

posted March 31, 2007 at 2:05 am


Yeh, Darryl. Mom has “helped” a grown nephew of mine. Now and then she gets mad at something he supposedly has done, and withdraws her financial help for him. Of course, he really hasn’t done anything, she just needs someone to punish and reject. He has talked to me about his confusion of what mom does. I’ve told him that mom just needs a dog to kick and if you’re convenient, you’ll be the dog she kicks. What makes her different than me is I think I don’t reject when upset at someone. Setting boundaries is different than rejection. Rejection comes with the person being bad. I wonder if I need not present myself as the dog to be kicked. On the other hand, one of my sister’s has kept in oontact with mom and when mom acts up she says “you can’t do that mom,” or if on the phone, she says “we need to talk when you can calm down.” Mom mopes and pulls her wounded pour on the guilt thing. At times I wish I had the guts to do what my sister does, in order to around mom. On the other hand I don’t want to present myself to be the dog to be kicked.
I’ve just presented some of what’s gone on in my head in all this. I’ve worked on this stuff for 20 some years, so there’s more to the story and lots more I know about healing from all this and have had much healing from this. I’ve just set out today the strings I’ve yet to come to a comfortable conclustion to.
I haven’t meant to dominate the discussion. I’m sorry for that.



report abuse
 

Allie

posted April 2, 2007 at 9:29 am


It’s understandable, Becky. You’re going through a lot, and you find our input vauluable as you deal with all of it. I believe, from what you’ve said, that this journey is important to you, and you want to do things right. God has shown you, and is continuing to show you, what He wants to do in your situation, and the way He wants to work through you. Remember that forgiveness is for your healing and life, even if the other person goes to their grave denying that they’ve done anything wrong. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. I’m praying and pulling for you.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God's bounty (v. 7a).Step two: David became too

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.