Skip to comments.Acting on forgiveness
Posted on 02/27/2016 8:36:54 AM PST by Salvation
While we shouldnt harbor anger, we also dont need to continue a relationship with one who has hurt us
Msgr. Charles Pope
Question: I am a contractor who did some work for some cousins. They cheated me out of a significant amount of money. Strangely, I still get invited to family functions by them as if nothing happened. But I don’t want anything to do with them. Does forgiveness require me to accept invitations and be friendly?— Name, location withheld
Answer: Forgiveness involves letting go of the need to change the past. Through forgiveness, we are able to let go of our resentments, our desire for revenge, and wrathful anger that often accompanies hurts or injustices we experience. In most cases, forgiveness does permit us to resume or stay in relationships with people. In many situations, the hurts are slight, and the issues are more of the moment rather than involving ongoing and very unhealthy aspects of our relationships with others.
But there are times when it is simply not wise to continue in relationships where there is ongoing sin, injustice or harm. A woman may forgive her husband for the repeated physical abuse he has inflicted on her in the past. She may understand that his anger comes from the fact that he himself was abused as child. She may, by the grace of forgiveness, harbor no anger or resentment. But it does not follow that forgiveness means she should resume a common household with him. This might further endanger her and her children. It might also deepen the husband’s pathology and delay him getting the help he needs.
In your case, there may be reasons for you to stay clear of the family members who cheated you. You would not be rude or wrathful to them, but it does not mean you are required to be jovial and pretend that nothing happened. On the other hand, what is to prevent a forthright conversation between you all about what happened? Too often, enough effort is not made to find greater understanding.
I cannot say what is best for you. I can only communicate the principles that forgiveness does often mean that the parties involved share this gift in order to further and deepen the relationship. But as stated, there are exceptions to this and forgiveness does not always require resuming unhealthy situations that really benefit neither party.
Ping to Monsignor Pope’s OSV column
As I get older I see that some of my "friends" were not friends. I simply stay away from them.
For THIS person they WILL repeat their egregious behavior. COUNT ON IT.
So will my "friends."
What can never be forgiveness, is refusing to ever talk again to someone who has hurt you. In fact that is by Jesus own definition(sermon on the mount)- called Murder of the Heart. If you want to trap someone in the pain of whatever happened then all you have to do is tell them that you will never talk to them again. Any person who does that and yet claims that they are a holy forgiving Christian is a delusional person doing great harm to Christianity. Yet it is true that some relationships cannot continue.
Just reading the following this morning:
Luk 17:3 So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.
Luk 17:4 Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
It is a complicated subject but there is some evidence that there should be repentance or asking for forgiveness be fore one forgives.
Can there be any forgiveness if there is no repentance?
Now ignoring the situation and getting on with your life is another matter.
And then the big question. Does God forgive if there is no repentance?
“Can there be any forgiveness if there is no repentance?”
If the person who offended you is dead, he cannot repent, why carry the baggage? If the person who offended you is not going to repent, why carry the baggage.
Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It just means letting go of the need to make things “right” to your satisfaction.
In this guy’s case, if when confronted about the debt the relative owes said relative is unwilling to properly divvy up, our Christian contractor should forgive his relative anyway because he ought not carry the baggage of need to make things right, whether by revenge or wrath or rudeness, and get on with his life without keeping company with a thief.