Forgiveness Without Compassion?

I have to be honest and say that most of my adult life I have struggled with forgiveness. Let me clarify. I do not have a problem forgiving, I just can't forget. Lately I have been seeking more from God regarding the forgetfulness of forgiveness. I can't do it. Only God can do it through me. Is it easy for you to forget once someone has wronged you? Are we supposed to forget? Maybe I really haven't forgiven like I assume I have if I keep dwelling on the offense as a basis for not being able to move forward in the relationship. I am reminded of Paul though when he had a falling out with John Mark. They went their separate ways after a disagrement and according to Scripture, it doesn't seem like Paul was able to forget about John Mark's failure.

Here's another example I think about....if a prominent Christian individual falls from grace (that's Christian-ese for screwed up big time)and the media berates them and other Believers chastise them while at the same time commiting to pray for do we move on? Do we let that prominent Christian individual back into their place of honor once they have genuinely repented and sought restoration?

I say no. That's because I'm a black-or-white gal. The hard part for me to admit is that I'm in essense saying, "Once you mess up, you're done." I don't really believe that though. In my own life, I have screwed up too many times to count and of course the Lord has welcomed back with open arms. But, then again, I did still have to pay earthly consequences for my sin.

That's where I think the lines are blurry. How many consequences should the offender have to pay, and to whom, before they are allowed back in their circle of influence? Who gets to decide if the repentance and restoration is genuine in the first place?

I tend to think that once you have taken advantage of your circle of influence and failed them then you're out. You can find another place to minister, focus on your own family and local church; but I don't think you get to be Mr. or Mrs. Big Shot again.
Yep...I'm cut and dry. I know it. I hear the lack of compassion as I am writing. But, I think I'm right. What would Jesus do? I think He would love the sinner, but command them to "Go and sin no more."

I want to be more compassionate, but I don't think compassion is defined as allowing everyone who has messed up to be put back on a pedestal again. If we could just throw those darned pedestals off the planet we'd all be much more effective for the Lord.


Julie Anne said...

I like the last line you wrote. I was hoping you were working up to that. That we have those danged pedestals in the first place is a huuuge part of the problem.

My father was a church "big shot" who fell from grace about five years ago. Thankfully, he realized he wouldn't WANT to climb back up on the pedestal and have that position again. He's had opportunities. He lays low and serves in a much quieter and simpler way...that equals a quieter and simpler life for him.

Kristin said...

See....I need to hear from people like you have lived through the hurt that unforgiveness causes. I need the Lord's help in this area, that's for sure.

Scribbit said...

Yes I tend to hold grudges myself. Something I'm trying hard to get over!

Kara said...

Here is my concern... from the perspective of one who errs on the side of compassion...

Do we interpret that verse in John to mean that Jesus was asking the adulteress to GO and LEAVE... I have not ever thought of it that way.

Kristin said...

Ok, I was waiting for you to comment Kara. No, I don't interpret that scripture to mean that our Lord was telling the adultress to LEAVE. But, I also don't think he let her walk away without commanding her to repent and live her life differently.

I guess that's what I think repentence is. If you really are sorry then you'll make a 180 and do things different instead of trying to jump back onto the same wagon again - the wagon which led to your sin.