Forgiveness Part 5

Forgiveness IS NOT Resuming a Relationship Without Changes

This is a very misunderstood concept.  For us, forgiveness is not the same as restoring a relationship.  It’s not acting like nothing ever happened.

Forgiveness is a choice we make and should be instant, BUT TRUST is something that must be built over time!

Forgiveness is granted because God requires it, but it doesn’t guarantee the relationship will be restored. 

Let me explain it this way…..FORGIVENESS is your part in reconciling a relationship and is to be given regardless of the offender’s response.  But for a relationship to be restored….the OFFENDER needs to do at least three things…..

1st They need to demonstrate genuine repentance – Real repentance means there will be a change in their lifestyle; a change in the way they treat us.

2nd They need to make restitution wherever possible for damage done – If there is some kind of physical damage to your property, they need to replace it or pay to have it repaired.   If they’ve damaged your reputation, they need to make it right (if it’s a private sin – make it right privately….if it’s a public sin – make it right publicly)

3rd – They need to be willing to rebuild trust by proving they have changed over time

If someone offends or wrongs you over and over – you are to forgive that person over and over, BUT….you’re not obligated to trust that person or instantly restore the relationship.  When Janet and I were dating, I did some things out of my immaturity that really hurt and offended her.   In the midst of this God really got a hold of my heart and I asked her to marry me.  I know you’re probably surprised – but……SHE SAID SHE WASN’T SURE.   Did she forgive me?   YES.  Was she ready to get married to me?   NO, because trust hadn’t been restored.  However,

  • My repentance was genuine
  • I was willing to take the time to rebuild her trust
  • It took quite a few months and $1000’s of dollars in gifts – but she finally said YES
  • Actually it didn’t take $1000’s of dollars in gifts
  • We’ve been married now for over 33 years

The point is we’re to forgive over and over, but forgiveness doesn’t mean the relationship is always restored.

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have four grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Lead Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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