Forgiveness vs. Restoration of Trust
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 NIV)
Who has a better arsenal to repay, you or God? Who can settle the score better, you or God? I think God! If I have to choose whether I’m going to get back or I’m going to let God be the God of justice, I’m going to let God be the God of justice. I’m going to choose to leave it to God.
Let me explain what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness does not mean the instant restoration of trust. Forgiveness is instant. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Forgiveness is based on grace. Trust is built on works. You earn trust. You don’t earn forgiveness.
A lot of people don’t want to forgive, because they think if they forgive people, then they’ve got to trust them again. No. That’s a whole different issue! Let me say it again: Forgiving a person does not mean you have to trust them. It means they have to earn the trust.
If people are in a relationship and their partners are dealing with drugs or alcohol or abuse or whatever, they may ask, “Will you forgive me?” Yes, you will forgive them. “Can we go back to the way it was?” No. That’s not at all what we do.
Forgiveness and a restoration of a relationship are two different things. Forgiveness is only on your part, whether they respond or not, whether they ask for it or not, whether they even recognize they need it or not. You forgive for your sake. Restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It takes repentance. It takes restitution and a rebuilding of trust. And it often takes a much longer time.
Many people think they can’t forgive because that would mean going back to the same old way. Not at all. But you do have to leave it to God.
How do you release your hurt? You leave it to God.
Talk It Over
• Who do you need forgive?
• With whom do you need to restore a relationship?
• In what ways can someone rebuild trust with you?
by Rick Warren
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