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Forgiveness

    • 67 posts
    June 11, 2016 3:12 PM EDT

    I have a question about forgiveness and a scenario. Picture a time in your youth, maybe at school or at home or in a park or playground. And while you're there, you are approached by a kid reasonably close to your age and you decide to try to be friends. Later on, that kid takes something from you that you wanted, and you learn that he never really was your friend. Now, some time has passed and you've long forgotten that day and have forgiven that person long ago. My question is, if you were ever to meet up with that person again, would it be prudent to keep an eye on him to make sure that he doesn't repeat past incidents? Or would that not be akin to forgiveness?

    • 272 posts
    June 11, 2016 4:58 PM EDT

    Hi Tyler, good question! I believe that trusting a person is completely separate from forgiveness. I think even God works on that way. We are all forgiven, but as a good Father, He does not often trust us with things we can't handle. It's probably why most of us have not won the lotto ;). We can forgive a person, treat them with kindness, and wish them no harm, without giving them the trust to, for instance, be left alone in your house. 

     

    In the scenario you described, it's possible that person has completely changed, but you don't have any information other than what you knew about him long ago. Maybe it would be a good time to be friendly, re-connect if you wish, but I don't think that's reason enough to give him the keys to your car ;).

    • 67 posts
    June 11, 2016 5:19 PM EDT

    Hi Sylvia, thanks for the answer! I'm not too sure what the Lord says on the subject of trusting people. That's something that I have trouble doing. I would much rather put my trust in Jesus than in man. But I think you're right, it is possible to treat people kindly and to be polite without trusting them, but that raises a question. The Lord tells us to love our fellow man as we love ourselves, but what does that really mean? Respecting others and doing good deeds even providing aid to people in need is possible, but "loving" them? I don't think I need to tell you that love is a very strong word and has a very strong meaning. To love them would be akin to letting them in your home, giving them money if they needed it, letting them borrow some of Pastor Dion's tools out of his shed, things like that. That's not something many people are willing or able to do for strangers. I'm all for treating people kindly and helping them if needed, but all of that? Those are things some folks won't even do for family members, let alone some potentially dangerous person off the street. 

    • 272 posts
    June 11, 2016 5:59 PM EDT

    Great thought, Tyler, I know what you are saying :). There are really a lot of facets to the idea of love your neighbor as yourself, I believe. Some people, for instance, hate themselves enough to do themselves harm, so what guideline could they properly use? Others are amazingly entitled, so I guess would have a supremely high level to reach :). 

     

    One aspect we have seen is that God will sometimes place in us His supernatural love for a person, a person we often don't even like. It may only be for a few minutes, but it opens the door to do His will in something we wouldn't normally be that willing to do.

     

    Apart from that, I think a typical person can only go by something like "treat others as you would like to be treated yourself". If the measure is "treat others as if they are actually in place of us", I don't know, maybe I'm not there yet :). Dion may have something more scholarly to say about it ;-). In the case, for instance, of the Good Samaritan story, yes, if I had been mugged on the road, I think that's a fair thing to expect to have some help, and have a self-expectation to help a person I encountered. On the other hand, if I robbed my neighbor, I personally wouldn't expect him to open his house to me the next day. Would I like a second chance? Sure, and we have given those to people, but maybe not so much after the 10th time ;).

     

    If someone actually is in need, I would like to receive help and would like to think that I would help them. If I just want something, I don't expect to take it from someone else, and would not typically offer such things without some kind of reason :). I recognize this isn't the most profound theology - just trying to be real :).

    • 67 posts
    June 11, 2016 6:36 PM EDT

    Interesting thought, Sylvia, and it may be true that some people won't give a stranger the time of day, let alone help them. I always thought it was best to treat others the way you want to be treated. That's also what I was always taught in school. Kindness and respect are rare to find in today's world, but are things I always try to portray when I deal with others. I have found ways to do nice things for others even if it's helping a person get something off of a high shelf in the groccery store. I think every little bit helps, and I find that doing good deeds and lending people a hand benefits the one doing the deed just as much as the one who weas helped.  At any rate, I think it is prudent to be careful even when helping people, or trying to help someone. You really have no way of knowing who is a potential threat and who isn't. 

           I think showing some form of vigil is appropriate, I think even the Lord says to be vigilant and watchful, and in these turbulent times, it's the safest thing to do. It's safer to walk away then it is to help someone if you get the feeling that it may be a trick. 

    • 272 posts
    June 11, 2016 7:32 PM EDT

    Agree completely, brother :)!

    • 8 posts
    June 19, 2016 10:20 PM EDT

    Love this question and replies! For me, one important thing that I have had to remember, is seperating trust v/s judgement. I am glad to see this discussion! :)

    • 3 posts
    July 7, 2016 11:53 PM EDT

    I like this question and responses.I like to use the example of a known child molester, I can love him/her and pray for them but I wouldn't trust them to be alone w/ my grandchildren.