Read an excerpt from Rev. Kelly R. Jackson’s upcoming book “An Act of Grace: Forgiveness and Reconciliation God’s Way. Release date for this work is January 25, 2019, but you can place your order now! Click HERE to visit the publishing website and place your order!
It’s about reconciliation. It’s about the relationship.
Forgiveness was never introduced as a mechanism for us to gain control or an upper hand over our fellow man. Instead, it was introduced so that we can have control over our feelings of anger, hostility, and our desire to hold on to grudges tighter than we hold on to relationships. Forgiveness was introduced to us so that we can move on together instead of moving apart from one another. And even in the event that some relationships are altered forever, forgiveness is supposed to be the way in which we depart in peace, with no hard feelings.
One of the things that get us caught up in the misapplication of forgiveness is the fact that we’ve twisted God’s design. If you’re reading these pages, chances are high that you’ve been advised by someone in your life to forgive someone so that you can be done with them, as opposed to moving on from the situation. Not only have I received that advice in my life before, but I’ve actually given it in error. However, if we’re really going to look at this from a Christian perspective and a God perspective, grace, mercy, and forgiveness was never given to us by The Almighty so that He could be done with us.
If you’ve read your Bible as I have, you’ll see that God has always desired a relationship with us, and thus, He keeps forgiveness on the table. He’s not trying to let it go so that He can “get some sleep” or “find some peace”. While those things are important to us as humans, it’s not the basis of forgiveness as God designed it. Forgiveness is what God wants us to do so that we can come together. It’s about reconciliation. It’s about the relationship. I would say that anyone that “forgives” with the mindset of being done with someone hasn’t really forgiven at all, or at the very least, they haven’t forgiven God’s way.
Understand that some relationships will go through several changes in a lifetime before it settles in to what it’s going to be. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows, and good days mixed with not so good days. However, reconciliation must be the goal. Having relationships reconciled doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the same as they were before, but it does mean that they can function. Again, some relationships may not be the same anymore, but that doesn’t mean that there has to be any hard feelings or hostility when we come into contact with one another.
Even if you never speak to a person again, sometimes that’s just how that relationship goes, but the reason for never speaking again shouldn’t be because we’ve hardened our hearts and we’re too prideful to reconcile things. As I’ve often stated, some relationships aren’t broken, they’re just settled. That means you’re not mad at them and they’re not mad at you, but the relationship has run its course and that’s that. God understands that and is even accepting of it. However, what God doesn’t accept is our unwillingness to put things to rest.
Man must release his desire to be forever offended. There’s been a shift in our thinking that has caused us to desire the grudge, as opposed to getting rid of it. Many of us have fooled ourselves into believing that moving on with a hidden attitude is somehow Christ-like. On the surface, we appear to be taking the high road, but underneath, we’re still bitter and angry on some level. On the surface, we pretend to be cordial, but underneath, our hearts are hardened. We say we’re over it, but if the test of Romans 12:19-20 came along, we’d probably fail it.
What grace does is put the offense in perspective. What Jesus teaches us is relationships are valuable. He teaches us that hidden animosity is still animosity in the eyes of God, and He will not openly release forgiveness while we silently hold things against one another. Consider where you and I would be if we believed that our eternity was secure in Jesus, only to die and find out that God had secretly harbored a grudge against us all of these years and heaven had been taken off the table.
This leads us to the understanding that grace is the antithesis of offense. We can either hold on to offense or we can administer grace. One corrupts the soul, while the other cleanses it. We should never desire to be offended more than we desire to be reconciled. Offense is a burden that even God wants to release. Why would we desire to carry that which God wants to put away?
Copyright 2018 Kelly R. Jackson