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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Forgiveness and Acceptance

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

In the last blog, I wrote of forgiveness as “the exotic of heaven” which we embrace and release to those who have harmed us. Once we have chosen to forgive others, we bless them with a full heart of hope that God will meet them with good things of His grace. A further step then is needed to complete the forgiveness process and keep it fresh. That step is acceptance.

Writing of this, Leanne Payne (Crisis in Masculinity) noted that a person “…is to be forgiven and objectively accepted for what he has been and at this moment is, even while his sin, weakness, and darkness is to be honestly named, confessed, and renounced for what it was and may yet still be. Its effects…are then to be bound in prayer.” What is so helpful, and so essential, is that we come into a position of objectivity. When we are wounded, our pain is so subjective, and often exaggerated or awry, but as God begins to heal, we are more able to see things from his divinely objective viewpoint. This means that we are able to objectively accept the other person as he or she really is, and we are able to pray aright.

We may desire to reconcile the relationship, and that is a related issue, however, reconciliation is possible only if both people come with open hearts seeking to understand and create a new future. We love, but we love with wisdom and truth, especially those close to us, and that way we can avoid being diminished by their darkness. As C. S. Lewis noted, love is something more than mere kindness, indeed real love undergirded by wisdom and truth can be marvelous in its quiet power.

We can only come into full acceptance if we anticipate something greater to fill that place. Otherwise we just grieve in the emptiness, or we continue to look to that person to change. But to be free, we have to stop looking to that person for what he cannot or will not give and accept him where he is, as he is. We are enabled to look away from that one, disengaging our demand, because we know we won’t be left empty and alone. Christ is our source of every good thing we need, filling our inner being with His presence and restoring us to wholeness.

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