Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Principles on Forgiveness From the Life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50)

Principles on Forgiveness and Reconciliation from The Life of Joseph

  • Sometimes the means of the world’s salvation is your pain, betrayal and suffering
  • Forgiveness and Reconciliation are not the Same Thing
    • They are part of the same process but different parts of the process
    • Forgiveness must be given unilaterally but reconciliation requires the cooperation of both the victim and perpetrator

Principles of Internal Forgiveness

Definition: Internal forgiveness is a unilateral decision made within the heart of the victim to accept what has happened as part of the plan of God to bless him/her, and a commitment to be a conduit of God’s blessing to the offender. This does not mean that the victim condones the behavior of the perpetrator in any way. The behavior of the perpetrator must be faced and named for what it is, but the victim gives over the response to God and the proper authorities (state, church etc.) to hold the perpetrator accountable.

  • The victim must release the desire for revenge and retribution
  • The victim must see his/her suffering as something God can use to bring blessing to him/herself and to others
  • The basis for internal forgiveness is the character and plan of God
  • Internal forgiveness should be given quickly as possible, although deep pain may make this a long process
  • Forgiveness must be granted freely, permanently and unconditionally
  • Internal forgiveness must be given over and over despite what the offender does. The behavior of the perpetrator is not the responsibility of the victim
  • Forgiveness must be granted sacrificially
  • Forgiveness obligates one to seek reconciliation although it should be recognized that with some offenses reconciliation will never be possible

Principles of Interpersonal Forgiveness/Reconciliation

  • Full reconciliation must not be given until the offender has fully repented from the action and it is reasonable to believe that the victim or others will not be hurt by a repetition of the offense
  • Interpersonal forgiveness should be granted with the level of publicity at which the offense took place.
  • Reconciliation of relationships is an important means in God’s plan to bless the world.

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