"As the Lord has forgiven you,
So you also must forgive."
Today we conclude our series on the four promises of forgiveness. Ken Sande reminds us that when we forgive another's sins against us, we are making promises to the offender. The fourth promise we make when we forgive another's sins is: “I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.” This is the heart of forgiving sins against us, because sins break trust and relationship.
When we are sinned against, we are tempted to not having anything to do with the one who sinned against us. But with forgiving the sins, we do the work to fight against those temptations. We proactively seek to build the relationship and not let the sins committed against us hinder the growth of the relationship. This is true in friendship, in missional communities, in marriage and in parenting relationships. When we grant forgiveness, we promise to proactively build the relationship, even though the offending party has broken the trust.
This is forgiving just as we have been forgiven. Even though we have broken our relationship with God, God forgives us in Jesus, and God does not let our sins against him hinder our relationship with him. We have done all the damage, and God does all the work to restore and repair the relationship.
There is one caveat that Ken wisely makes with this last promise, and it has to do with abuse. Abuse can be forgiven, but with this last promise, because of the power and control and trauma dynamics in abuse, wise and good boundaries should be established for healing and safety. For more on this, I recommend reading Chris Moles The Heart of Domestic Abuse. Also, Holcomb's book Is It My Fault? Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence.