PeaceMeal: Food for Thought on Biblical Peacemaking

  What Revenge Can Teach Us About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgetting is a passive process in which a matter fades from memory merely with the passing of time. Forgiving is an active process; it involves a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action. To put it another way, when God says that he “remembers your sins no more” (Isa. 43:25), he is not saying that he cannot remember our sins. Rather, he is promising that he will not remember them. When he forgives us, he chooses not to mention, recount, or think about our sins ever again. Similarly, when we forgive, we must draw on God’s grace and consciously decide not to think or talk about what others have done to hurt us. This may require a lot of effort, especially when an offense is still fresh in mind. Fortunately, when we decide to forgive someone and stop dwelling on an offense, painful memories usually begin to fade.

Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 206

Food for Thought

Revenge,” says the famous Sicilian proverb, “is a dish best served cold.” In other words, “effective” revenge requires careful planning as well as emotional distance from the experience that prompted the desire for revenge in the first place.

Interestingly, there’s also a sense in which biblical forgiveness is best as a “chilled dish.” It shouldn’t be emotionally chilled, of course, but it should be carefully planned and originate in a place deeper than our emotions. As Christians, we don’t wait to forgive so that we can let the memory of the offense fade or so the other person will suffer. Instead, we forgive deliberately. We carefully plan for the restoration of the relationship that has been wronged, and we submit our emotional hurt to Christ, who compels us to forgive as he has forgiven us.

As you “plot” your own forgiveness of others, remember that God’s plan for forgiveness was a profoundly deliberate effort that impacted literally every generation over literally centuries of time. If “cold revenge” is deeply satisfying, how infinitely much more so is deliberate, planned biblical forgiveness.

Resources to Help You Respond to Conflict Biblically
Have you appreciated nibbling on the morsels of wisdom contained in PeaceMeal? The quotes come straight out of our flagship resource, The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande. If you haven’t read this book, we encourage you to buy it and dig into the “main course” of biblical principles in it! If you have already read it, consider buying an extra copy of the book to give away to friends or family members who would be blessed to read it. The Peacemaker is available through  our online bookstore or call our Resource department at 800-711-7118.

PeaceMeal is a weekly e-publication of Peacemaker Ministries (http://peacemaker.net). All Rights Reserved.

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Say your piece in PeaceMeal. We are looking for peacemakers from around the world to write the Food for Thought section of a future issue of PeaceMeal. How about you? Guidelines and more information can be found at www.Peacemaker.net.

 

 

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