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Sabbath: Unity and Broken Relationships — 10 Comments

  1. Saying, "I forgive you!" is hard, but living that forgiveness is even harder. Restoration of relationships is a lifestyle choice, not the uttering of a few words in a moment. Jesus gave us the example:

    All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5:18,19

    • Great point you raise Maurice.

      If I may, I would just like to signal how misunderstood the concept of forgiveness often is, both in the world and within Christianity.

      If 'forgiveness' hasn't worked for you, or you find yourself being repulsed by the idea of 'forgiving' someone who has abused and/or harmed you, please look more deeply into what true forgiveness is.

      True forgiveness is not forgive and forget, neither is it about pretending that nothing ever happened - especially where abuse and harm has been caused. True forgiveness is described in the verse Maurice has quoted above - but you might have to look very carefully to see what that verse is actually implying, and what it is not.

      • In Isa 43:25 we have a clear look at how God forgives don't we? To "remember...no more" doesn't signify loss of memory, but rather, a choice to never bring it back to the offender again.
        God can forget nothing, but for the redeemed, He will view them as "faultless...with exceeding joy". How are they faultless? Jesus' death, which God offered them for their sin, has been received by them, and they have been made "holy, as [God] is holy". They have become new creatures in Christ.

        Forgiveness is by its very definition, forgetting. If we remind anyone of their past offense, we have not forgiven them, and God must forgive us in the same manner that we have "forgiven" others. The forgiver will be as one who does not hear or see, when it comes to offenses toward them. Forgetting is a deliberate choice.

        • I agree with the essence of what you have said, Robert. And thanks for the inclusion of that verse.

          However, for the sake of people who are reading these comments, I would maintain that forgiveness is not by its definition the typical notion of 'forgetting'. The Hebrew in Isa 43:25 means to not actively and intentionally bring back to memory - or as we would say in English, I will not 'dredge/dig it up' again. God is essentially saying that He will not go and actively bring it up again in order to use it against someone. But there is someone else who specialises in doing this: Satan, the accuser (Zech 3:1). Thus, there is a significant and distinct difference between "forgetting" and "remembering no more".

          At the same time, the memory is still within the subconscious mind of the offended and will still be subconsciously activated upon exposure to the relevant cues. That is just how our brain works. However, as you have said, forgiveness is the exercise of conscious choice to not to go looking for it in order to bring it back/up again and use it as 'ammunition' against the offender when no subsequent re-offense has occurred, and not to dwell on it within our own mind when it is subconsciously reactivated, but instead to redirect our thoughts elsewhere (eg, in prayer to God).

          NOTE: I do need to mention to everyone that it is a somewhat different scenario when talking about abuse. Where an abusive offender re-offends again (as is typically the case in abuse), forgiveness does not mean giving the offender a 'blank cheque' to re-offend again on subsequent occasions. Each and every re-offence needs to be responded to appropriately. Sadly, this has all too frequently not happened within Christian circles - and still does.

          • When it comes to repeat offenses, forgiveness can only happen when there is repentance(while the one yoked with Jesus will be forgiving, without repentance, how can "forgetting" take place, while continual reminders happen?).

            Also, to genuinely "repent" does not allow "repeat" to happen.

            But let's talk about forgetting in this light. In heaven, how many ex(name the worst sin you can imagine) will stand before God faultless? Only if God truly "forgets". Do we want God to forgive us like that too? If "YES!", then we must forgive like that.

            Understand, repentance must prevail if we are to forget. Yet Jesus did place a finite number on how often we are to forget, but it wasn't the specific number, rather, it was directly connected to the case of Israel, who was to be forgiven until there would cease to be repentance. This is what I believe Jesus was teaching with "seventy times seven" in answer to Peter's question.

          • Forgiveness is multidimensional in its composition. Failure to consider the multiple dimensions of forgiveness is what contributes to misunderstandings about forgiveness. And I would venture to say that it is way more misunderstood than correctly understood - which is why so many people have issues with 'forgiveness'.

            "When it comes to repeat offenses, forgiveness can only happen when there is repentance..."

            If by this you mean repentance becoming effectual in the offender, then I agree with you. Forgiveness is offered by the offended unconditionally (eg, Lk 23:34; Lk 15:20), but becomes effectual in the offender on condition of repentance (Lk 15:21; Matt 6:12,14,15).

            "...to genuinely "repent" does not allow "repeat" to happen."

            Sort of. There are the instances of 'fake' repentance that soon manifest in repeat, but there are also instances of genuine repentance that later 'relapse'. Ever had to repent to God for the same thing more than once even though you were absolutely genuine in your repentance at the time? I have...

            "Only if God truly "forgets"..."

            I am unsure whether you mean forgets in its typical understanding of actually losing memory of, or whether you mean does not actively bring back up. If you mean the latter, I would agree. If you mean the former, I am not convinced that God is capable of memory loss.

  2. "The ministry of the Holy Spirit involves bringing people closer to God and to one another. It includes breaking down the barriers in our relationship with God and breaking down barriers in our relationships with one another."

    The phrase 'breaking down barriers' is often used, even within secular society. In reality, attempts to 'break down' barriers typically paradoxically result a strengthening of those barriers. This is why force and coercion are not methods of God's Kingdom because they don't create genuine change, but instead inflame resistance and rebellion - even if such is suppressed rather than expressed.

    Why is this? Barriers are in existence for a reason/purpose. That reason/purpose may be a good reason or a bad reason, but there is always a reason.

    It is closer to reality to say that barriers can be dissolved rather than broken down. This implies a more gentle approach - and that is typically more successful. How do you dissolve a barrier? There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach, but the typical starting point is to first learn the reason/purpose for the barrier. Then you will be better informed regarding what can be done to assist the dissolving of a barrier via identification of a more suited way of acknowledging, addressing and/or diffusing the reason/purpose of the barrier.

  3. If truly saved “by grace through faith”, the members of the church will demonstrate this by their words and actions toward all others, in or out of the church fellowship. It is without fail that trials of faith will come in this fallen world, and by these we are individually tested and proved. We will reveal the true nature of our heart by our own words and actions, and these we may “examine” in order to know ourselves as God knows us.

    If we have been justified and allow the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit (through faithful repentance), unity will prevail through every difficulty that arises.

    • "If we have been justified and allow the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit ..."

      Yes, you are right Robert. Your statement echos the principles within Gal 3:27,28 regarding essential pre-requisites for maintenance of unity within Christian community.


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