The Power of Unforgiveness

I am not saying that forgiveness isn’t a tough process. Because it is. Restoration from the pain of lost trust, misused vulnerability or betrayed humanity is intentional and filled with grief. There must be awareness of what was lost, mourning the loss before there can be blessing in the new. This is the Paschal Mystery of Christ and Christianity. But what of when forgiveness is withheld or the process of forgiving is not engaged? Just as forgiving another has power, there is power in unforgiveness. When forgiveness is refused to the repentant, that person is being locked into a box of perceived identity. Like Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter, the offense become the label. One woman communicated this to me about her husband, “Cheaters cheat.” This can have effects on the sense of self of the one unforgiven. At some point, having felt the weight of the narrative about them, they may begin to live into this false perception of identity. We tend to believe what we tell our-self, even if it is a lie. I am reminded of the self-narrative a young woman who I worked with once told me, “my dad used to tell me I was a dirty girl.” It’s not surprising that lie became part of her identity. Unforgiveness can influence the mindset and identity of the one who is unforgiven. But the power does not stop there. It is hard to forgive when you are needing something from the other in order to sustain your identity. An inability to forgive and unwillingness to engage the process indicates a potential issue with identity in Christ. Making another work for their forgiveness...

What is Acceptance?

So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. – Matthew 22:10 The king had sent out a save the date announcement about his son’s upcoming wedding. Preparations were made and time went by, but the invited were to keep their eyes open and be ready. When all was set, the king sent word…and none of the invited came. So, Matthew 22:10 above tells of the king’s next command to his servants being executed – go and invite anyone you can find. Good and bad, they were brought in and the wedding hall was filled. This is a picture of a God who meets us where we are; He demonstrates acceptance. As part of the character of God, acceptance is then supposed to become part of our demonstrated character. Because of both our pride and the culture we live in, we get confused about what acceptance is. Acceptance is not to be confused with approval. Approval calls brokenness wholeness. It redefines the terms, and creates a man-based standard. It is simply doing what is right in our own eyes, and is a way to try to create wholeness apart from God. Approval of brokenness is a product of the false self. Because of the inherent worth we all have a image bearers of God, every person merits being accepted by followers of Christ and those that lead them. But, we are each in a broken state. When we accept another we understand that person is broken and is...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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