Forgiveness & Boundaries

|   Counseling

From the time I was 7 years old, I was taking sides with my father against my mother. I purposed to take care of my father and protect him, especially from my mother, when I was 7. My father was abusive on occasion. My mother complained about his abuse towards her and me. I didn't like my mother for doing this. I argued against what she said. My mother was right. I was also right. A major problem I have had for much of my life is trying to see who is right, and then I will know who is wrong. The truth is that almost always both parties to an argument have some right and some wrong. Satan himself used true sayings to tempt Jesus to engage in selfishness and do things for Himself that we could never do for ourselves. Jesus listened to Satan. Satan was only conversing to show that his answers were right and Jesus was wrong. We automatically take Satan's side, when we purpose to manipulate others.

This right and wrong issue also becomes confused in regards to forgiveness. Most people think that someone has to be right and the other person wrong, so an apology can be made, in order to establish forgiveness. This is not true. Most of the people I counsel think they have to feel good about somebody in order to forgive them. This is not true. Most people I counsel think they have to be willing to forget the wrongs others have done them in order to forgive them. This is not true. Most people think they can't be angry with someone and also forgive them. This, also, is not true. Most people think that a person has to be changed and do things 'right' in order to forgive them. This is not true.

Forgiveness has within it boundaries that are sufficient to protect ourselves from further insults from those who we love who have hurt us. Those boundaries are the distance we need so we can continue to love those who have hurt us. Forgiveness does not take the hurt or anger away. It does not change what is right or wrong. It does not mean we have to agree. Forgiveness allows us to communicate our love from the distance where we feel safe.

The problems that occur without forgiveness are huge. Where we don't forgive one other person, we don't forgive ourselves or any other person. 'Who is right and who is wrong' are not all or none considerations. Paul, in the love chapter of I Cor.: 13, says that we know in part and prophecy in part. Jesus said to the rich young ruler who attested that he had kept commandments 5-9 from his youth on up, that 'there is no one good but God.' Therefore, everyone is wrong. At best, we only partially understand what is right.

Forgiveness is all or none, as Jesus indicated that in His outline for prayer. If we receive His forgiveness then we allow ourselves to forgive and love others. If we don't forgive others, then we are not forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15). This is 'all or none.' The flexibility of forgiveness is found in the boundaries that one decides. Our boundaries change from person to person and situation to situation. Our boundaries change as we learn to trust love more. Love never changes it's boundaries.

I pray we will all find forgiveness and healing for our wounds and love with each other.


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