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« Blog-a-Book: ’Not for any gains’ | Main | Thought for the Day from Alexander Solzhenitsyn »

August 29, 2007

The Forgiver and the Forgiven

As we've said, Zoe and I have just returned from two weeks of interviewing some 25 people in Rwanda: survivors, killers, and experts in the field of reconciliation. One of our main observations from the trip is that of the people who have been forgiven versus the people who have forgiven them, the forgiven often seem more plagued with despair than the forgivers. It has caused me to wonder: is shame more devastating than grief or loss? Is shame more difficult to be truly healed from? If so, why?

Does this ring true in your personal experience? Have you found it easier to find peace in the midst of your suffering than to know peace in the midst of your shame? Is it easier to move on after forgiving than to move on after hurting someone else if we truly understand and feel sorry for the nature of the pain we've caused?

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Comments

Matt

In my experience it's easier to forgive others than it is to forgive myself. Maybe I hold myself to a higher standard than what I expect from others?

Alice

Of course it's easier to forgive than to be forgiven! The forgiver is the righteous victim, while the forgiven is the perpetrator of evil of one kind or another. It requires deep faith and humility to give up the shame, the responsibility for doing wrong--as if perpetually feeling sorrowful somehow made one a little bit better. Psalm 32 is my theme song in this area: I acknowledged my sin... He covered it...He is my hiding place...He surrounds me with songs of deliverance, and finally, He stays close, showing me the way to go, and I get to be thoroughly glad. My heart is now upright in his eyes--and that's even if I'm not forgiven! I LOVE this Psalm.

Michael Snow

Here we go again, Christians wandering in the fog of the modern therapeutic version of forgiveness.

Reconciliation is at the heart of Biblical forgiveness, not the self-centered focus of therapists.

It would be nice if Christians who write about forgiveness would study their Bibles. For starters, read the article on "Forgiveness" in the International Standard Bible Encylopedia

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