Recently I had a discussion with my brother about forgiveness. It began with his question, “Whatever happened to people forgiving one another instead of always being offended?”
The dictionary defines ‘forgive’ as the ability to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake; to cease to feel resentment against. Within that definition is the word ‘offense’ or the annoyance and resentment brought about by a perceived insult or disregard for one’s standards or principles. These definitions of ‘forgiveness’ and ‘offense’ make the question even more intriguing.
What happened that people can’t stop feeling anger or resentment toward others and so continue to embrace perceived insults for their standards or principles?
The answer to that question is simple and complex. It begins with our culture’s loss of belief in God, loss of their identity as a human being created by Him, and loss of humility before Him. Arrogance stands in direct opposition to Him and is the seed of fruit eaten in the garden.
Years ago I read a book entitled, Out on a Broken Limb by Shirley McLaine. This woman has no fear of God, but believes herself to be God. There was a little description of her standing on the shore of the ocean punching her fists in the air screaming at the top of her lungs, “I AM GOD!” over and over confirming her stance in the presence of the Almighty that She. Is. God. Yet, in the ears of the Creator of the Universe, her voice sounds like a mere ant standing on a minute grain of sand. He could barely hear her tiny high-pitched squeal and laughed at her arrogance. Such arrogance breeds offense and not forgiveness.
Yeshua taught in “The Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.”
Yet, arrogance never allows for personal wrongdoing. Arrogance judges others as the wrong doers and therefore responds with ‘offense’ and ‘unforgiveness.’ This arrogant attitude destroys personal relationships in families between parents and children, husbands and wives in marriages, friendships, and even church fellowships. Forgiveness is an act of humility and “if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours” (Matthew 6:12, 15; Colossians 3:13).
We live in a culture that believes a heavenly Father no longer exists in the world of His creation. So, who cares if He forgives us or not? We are ‘little gods’ and create Him in our image just like Shirley McClaine standing on the beach. We should care because without ‘forgiveness’ we will continue to live in a culture of ‘offense’ that will escalate in strife, anger, bitterness, and ultimately murder while we wonder what is happening in the world.
“Love covers a multitude of sins [offenses]” (1 Peter 4:8).
Love. Social media is filled with memes about love. Love is constantly preached in our culture, but it is not a Biblical love ; it’s a Beatles humanistic love that makes the individual the center of the universe. It is a deceptive love that promotes tolerance, but never forbears. This love is not the authentic, unconditional love that each human soul truly seeks. In fact, it appears to be false love that promotes dissension and division between individuals and groups of people.
First Corinthians 13, defines authentic sacrificial love and says keeping a record of wrongs is not love and neither is being easily angered, rude or selfish. The greatest kindness we can give to one another is to bear with one another and not keep a record of the offenses allowing anger to build until there is an explosion.
According to the definition of ‘offense’, it is ‘perceived’ and not necessarily something real. It is something the mind embraces until it takes over the entire thought process and defines who the person is. God did not create humanity to be defined by a political view or moral issue.
Forgiving an ‘offense’ is a choice. ‘Forgiveness’ is the willful act of covering over the ‘offenses’ of another. This is not the same as giving a thumbs-up to their ‘offense.’ This type of ‘forgiveness’ brings restoration to divisions, civil unrest, and broken relationships. ‘Forgiveness’ brings peace, joy, and hope back into the world.
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7 thoughts on “Whatever happened to forgiveness?”
Thank you for writing this.
Hi Julie. Here I am again. Was just browsing your website — grateful for your “thinking heart” and looking for someone to talk to. As I re-read this, many thoughts crossed my mind. “Offense”. Our country was born and raised on its “RIGHT” to be offended. Our declaration of independence expresses this “right” of offense at Britain’s monarchy and taxation, i.e. being under an authority “we” do not desire or accept, even though it may be where God wants us. Our constitution defends our right of offense, in fact, fosters it. You are correct that the “mood” of offense is established in godlessness. But our godless culture does not define for us the things that are offensive to the Creator, and much of the “religious” community has followed suit — with the “do not judge” excuse used as anyone’s justification for their own offense at someone else’s offense. So in “not judging”, every “offense” is justified by someone else’s offense. Our constitution guarantees a freedom of speech, freedom to express our opinions, worthless as they may be, and therefore freedom from other’s judgment concerning those opinions. Nationally, we are guaranteed a certain freedom of religious expression, which will never happen with those in God’s Kingdom; yet without the knowledge of the One Creator and His judgements, we are torn free from right boundaries in speech and thoughts, wrenched free from truth. Religion has been transformed to become whatever we want to believe about anything, and consequently individualism has become the right of self-rule and self-definition in all. And the final result is that we are “required” by “love” to forgive anything and everything without “judging”, or rather without being judged by truth, what is right, what is holy. Any constraint of opposing thought becomes “oppression” of one’s “freedoms”. As a culture we have all become bound to all standards of judging — and all are struggling to free themselves from those bonds. Freedom is not in the forgiving; it is in the truth; it is in being judged by the truth that sets us free from the illusion of false freedoms. What do you think?
First, thank you for browsing and welcome back! LOL I responded to what you wrote below in italic if it comes through as italic. 😉
“Offense”. Our country was born and raised on its “RIGHT” to be offended. Our declaration of independence expresses this “right” of offense at Britain’s monarchy and taxation, i.e. being under an authority “we” do not desire or accept, even though it may be where God wants us. Our constitution defends our right of offense, in fact, fosters it.
I had never looked at our ‘right’ to free speech as fostering ‘offense’ but I can see that it may do that. My understanding of the Declaration of Independence is that we are all given ‘inalienable rights’ – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, we would agree to the ‘right to life’ and even ‘liberty’ from oppression (keeping the spiritual out of this for a moment) and the pursuit of whatever makes us happy. I don’t believe any government has the god-given right to murder, oppress or make us miserable. That becomes either oligarchy (a few ruling) or tyranny (dictatorship). But within these ‘rights’ is not the ‘right’ to bully or willfully offend. And, that I would agree has become twisted as all things do in this world.
God established in the beginning a Theocracy where He is central to all government, ruled by His rules (Torah) and by His King Yeshua. When sin entered the world, man established his own ways of governing himself – most or all of which have been oppressive. The foundation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was based on self-government. In my opinion, knowing that the founders were for the most part deists who had some semblance of knowing God, I believe they based it on the fruit of the Spirit – self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). I had a pastor many moons ago say that the fruits are a pyramid with love at the top. In order to have love, joy and peace with God, we have to have patience, kindness and goodness with our neighbor, and it all begins with faithfulness, gentleness and control over ourselves. I believe he had a good point. The foundation of the ‘American Way’ is supposed to be self-control or governing oneself and quite Biblical. In this light, I don’t believe anyone meant to foster ‘offense’ but I can see where it might especially if one doesn’t have control over their tongue and they respond with anger when someone offends them. Then, the ball gets rolling. The three things that are destructive to all cultures are the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life. These things proliferate in a godless person and the more godless people, the more godless the culture and then the offense.
You are correct that the “mood” of offense is established in godless generations. But our godless culture does not define for us the things that are offensive to the Creator, and much of the “religious” community has followed cultural suit — with the “do not judge” excuse used as anyone’s justification for their own offense at someone else’s offense. So in “not judging,” every “offense” is justified by someone else’s offense.
I would agree with what you say. Our godless culture does not define what is offensive to the Creator. His Word does that. But, this is not His world, yet. This is the world of the enemy, haSatan, and he defines pretty much everything for the world and only those who are truly born again into the Kingdom have the ability through the Ruach to become separate from that kingdom. They are the only ones who are called to be ‘in the world, but not of it.” With the prophecy of Isaiah coming true – woe to those who call good evil and evil good – we are in a quandary of confusion today.
What I find interesting with the culture and the church community being united is that Yeshua said ‘the church’, those who are his, are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. However, the Light of the World (the ‘religious’ community) has fallen alway from the Truth and fostered lawlessness and therefore lawlessness abounds. They remain as the Light of the World because that is what they are, but they are lighting the wrong path. As Sha’ul said the spirit of the anti-messiah is with us and among us, it is found in the religious community – both the Christian and the Jewish, unfortunately. So rather than setting a standard of lawfulness and obedience to God’s commands for the world to see and desire, those communities have fallen short of their God-given callings (to make the Jew envious for the Christians; and for the Jews to be the light to the nations) and embrace lawlessness and we offend. We offend not only those whom Yeshua came to save, but also our Creator. I believe Yeshua warned the Congregation in Ephesus about this very thing in Revelation 2.
Our constitution guarantees a freedom of speech, freedom to express our opinions, worthless as they may be, and therefore freedom from other’s judgment concerning those opinions.
I would agree.
Nationally, we are guaranteed a certain freedom of religious expression, which will never happen with those in God’s Kingdom; yet without the knowledge of the One Creator and His judgements, we are torn free from right boundaries in speech and thoughts, wrenched free from truth.
I agree with this. So much of religious expression even in the Body of Messiah is twisted. I have my opinions on this, but keep them to myself because people, even in the Body, like to create God in their own image so they aren’t transformed into the image of Yeshua, but can retail their ‘rights’ while they rationalize their sin. They don’t realize in a Theocracy, they must submit to authority, but it will be an authority that is kind, merciful, and JUST. The JUST part sounds good for the wicked, but there will also be justice for the righteous when they stand before Yeshua and give an account of their lives and every single word we utter.
Religion has been transformed to become whatever we want to believe about anything, and consequently individualism has become the right of self-rule and self-definition in all.
Amen. Though I don’t believe it was intended to be that that way.
And the final result is that we are “required” by “love” to forgive anything and everything without “judging”, or rather without being judged by truth, what is right, what is holy. Any constraint of opposing thought becomes “oppression” of one’s “freedoms”. As a culture we have all become bound to all standards of judging — and all are struggling to free themselves from those bonds.
I would agree with what you wrote and that ‘love’ is not godly love, but Beatles love and tolerance. But, in spite of the growing desire for ‘equality’ and ‘socialism’, that love and tolerance is determined by a few (oligarchy). Love defined by God is patient, not rude, not self-seeking, but that is not the love that is being touted in today’s society. Nothing is holy, sacred or set apart any more. We are decadent like in Sodom and Gomorrah and godless like in the Days of Noah. I can almost hear Yeshua’s horse galloping through the heavens on his way back!
Freedom is not in the forgiving; it is in the truth – it is in being judged by the truth that sets us free from the illusion of false freedoms.
Yes, Yeshua said, ‘the truth will set you free’ and that is not only just the Truth of the Word, but the truth that’s found in every situation. Being judged by the Truth does set us free from the illusion of the false freedoms given to us in the world, but it doesn’t set us free from forgiving when we have truly offended another. It is the world that has no understanding of this while we should have Torah written on our hearts. If we believe we have offended another or have something against another person, we are to leave our gift at the altar and make amends. In this way, we are truly set free by the Truth and become an example of Kingdom living in the here and now. We break the chains of offense by being forgiving and then the Truth of God’s Word is shown for what it is – truly freeing.
Thank you so much for your response and discussion. I have a another thought concerning religion that I think will make for interesting discussion, but I have a busy week — so will get back to you as soon as able.
Again, thanks for taking the time to reply and let me exercise my brain a bit.
Shalom. I know you left FB and I wish you well. Tent Stake Ministries is where you need to be. I am following you and I recently forgave two people for what they did to me.
I hope you are doing well in Alaska. All ‘hell’ may soon break loose in our country as you probably know.
YHVH’s blessings upon your house.
Thank you William. Even after I deleted hundreds of people, I just felt I didn’t belong on Facebook. I will continue writing and posting on this website because that is what God is using in my life right now to reach people for the gospel of the Kingdom. I am grateful to be in Alaska though I am flying down to the Lower 48 to do some personal things. I hope I can get back home. Trust in the LORD. He is shaking everything that can be shaken and it hurts my ankles trying to keep my balance. Blessings on this Shabbat!