Monday, January 16, 2012

Driscoll on What Forgiveness Is Not

I found this to be helpful and wanted to pass it along.

Now in saying this, let me tell you what forgiveness is not, because again, this is very important. Gracie and I put in the book, “Forgiveness is not denying, approving, or diminishing sin that is committed against us.” “Oh, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s no big deal. It’s in the past. I forgot about it.” It’s saying, “You know, I appreciate you recognizing that. It really bothered me and it was a big deal to me.” And sometimes people will feel awkward when they’re repenting. “Ha-ha-ha,” they’ll try to make a joke of it. Say, “You know what? I really appreciate you bringing that up, but how about if we just take the awkward laughter out? This really was a problem.” Make it more awkward, that’s what I’m suggesting. Right?

Forgiveness is not naivety and ignoring sin. It’s not saying, “I’m not going to look. I’m not going to ask. I’m just going to pretend that I don’t even see it.” No, that’s not forgiveness. Forgiveness is eyes open, knowing the truth, and choosing to simply forgive it. That’s forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not naively ignoring the sinful condition of people ‘cause sometimes we’ll say, “Well, yeah, you did a bad thing, but you’re a good person,” or, you know, “You’re amazing and you just had a bad day,” or, you know, “You have a good heart.” No, you know what? Sin is down in the roots. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you need to pretend that everything’s fine and they’re really good and this was an aberration, that sin is a condition down in the roots.

Forgiveness is not enabling sin. It’s not, “Well, I forgive you and I’ll keep helping you,” because that might be enabling. I’ll give you an example that I see some occurrences of. A wife in the name of submission sometimes will just forgive her husband over and over and over and over and over and over and over for some sin, but he’s not really repenting, he’s not putting it to death. And she’s just enabling him, okay. . . .

Forgiveness is not forgetting about the sin that is committed against us. Forgive and forget is foolishness. You can’t forget. You can’t forget. Some of you have had horrendous evil committed against you, it’s not like, “I forgive them and I don’t even remember.” You do. When the Bible says that God remembers our sin no more, which it does in the Old Testament, one of the prophets, it doesn’t mean God’s in heaven going, “I don’t know. I don’t know what they did. I don’t know where my car keys are. I’m very absent-minded,” right? Instead, it means that he chooses not to interact with us based upon our sin, but his grace if we’re believers in Jesus. It furthermore means that he does not establish our identity based on our transgression, but Jesus’ salvation.

But it doesn’t mean you forget. I mean, religious people just make up these stupid little bumper sticker–isms that are very discouraging. Now the Bible does say in 1 Corinthians 13 that love keeps no record of wrong. So you’re not, you know, like an archaeologist trying to always dig up history. But it does mean you’ll remember. That’s what it means. But you choose not to interact on behalf of that person based upon the sin and transgression. It means that you want good for them, that you love them, that you pursue good for them. And even if it hurts emotionally, you’re still willing to continue to seek good for them. But it doesn’t mean you forget. It doesn’t mean you forget.

Mark Driscoll - Luke 17:1-10:  How to Fight to the Glory of God 

For more:
Sermon - June 13, 2010 - Matthew 6:14-15 - The Forgiven Forgive: The Inseparable Reality of the Gospel of Forgiveness 
Sermon - November 13, 2011 | Psalm 51: The Lord is My Salvation

GBC - Some Light Reading:  On Prayer and Forgiveness  
GBC - Wax on Forgiveness  
GBC - Colson on Forgiveness 

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