What forgiveness is not

These are some assorted notes I took during a sermon held by Harald Giesebrecht in Cornelius some time ago. One of the better and more useful sermons I’ve heard in quite a while.

What it is not

  • It’s not for anyone, just the one that was hurt. The one who was hurt can forgive the one who hurt them; no more, no less. You cannot forgive a person what they’ve done towards someone else.
  • It’s not to say “It’s no big deal”.
  • It’s not to forget.
  • It’s not to suddenly trust someone again. Trust is something which has to be earned over time.
  • It’s not limited to those who regret. You can forgive someone, even if they don’t regret what they did to you.
  • It’s not that it doesn’t hurt anymore.
  • It’s not something which has to be done fast. To be able to forgive might take time.

What it is

  • It’s a gift you can give by grace.
  • It’s to relinquish the right to “tug at someones consciousness”.
  • It’s to stop bringing it up over and over again.
  • It’s to let go so you can move on.

Why do it

  • Not because the one who did it deserves it.
  • Forgiveness, rightly understood, will be healing to you.

Some parabels

  • Debt: Forgiveness is like erasing debt.
  • Pitfall: Say someone fell into a pitfall. Forgiveness is like letting the one who hurt you out, rather than tormenting them.
  • Chain: Imagine that you chain yourself to someone, and only you have the key to unlock it. Forgiveness is like choosing to unlock and remove the chain, rather than pulling on it to hurt the one who hurt you. Often times you’re actually the only one who feel the tug as well. Maybe they didn’t know they hurt you, maybe they’ve managed to move on, or maybe they’ve died.

Some quotes

To be bitter is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.

To be resentful is like letting someone move in to your head and live there for free.