I figured this goes well with the 3 elephants in the room post.
A reader and I were discussing forgiveness. Specifically, there were multiple points that describe how we are supposed to forgive:
- Releasing them to the Lord — e.g. Lord’s Prayer, Jesus on the cross, Stephen being stoned. Basically, if someone sins against us it is not our job to look for an apology or to be asked for forgiveness. We give up the injury to the Lord.
- Forgiving those who have sinned against you who repent. Basically, as Jesus said if your brother sins to you and comes to you to repent you should forgive him. Over and over if he sins again and repents.
However, nowhere in the Scriptures does it say to ask for forgiveness. This is often tacked on by parents when teaching their kids if they do something wrong they should ask for forgiveness. In general, this deprives the person doing the forgiving of their free will right to forgive. Instead, it places pressure on them to say “yes” to forgive that person.
Obviously, we want people to forgive on their own free will and not be coerced into forgiving someone just because they are asking.
Harboring insults, acts against you, and lies of the sort are bitterness.
Bitterness is essentially victim mentality because you believe that you have a right to hold onto whatever was said or done by having a grudge against it. This is opposed to giving the injury or insult to the Lord. Thus, we can say that “bitterness” is making injuries and insults into idolatry. The idolatry of holding onto your pain.
It is easier for a victim to hold onto their pain as it makes them feel righteously angry, but the righteous anger festers to become bitterness and like a poison spreads through the body.
Although we have been sold a bad bill of goods in many cases, we need to give it up to the Lord. It’s OK to be angry, even righteously angry, but it needs to be given to the Lord before it insidiously starts worming it’s way into relationships and sabotaging them from the inside out.