Why is Forgiveness Difficult?

bobinfaith

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Hello brothers and sisters;

Forgiveness is one of our fundamental, core Christian principles, yet is one of the most difficult for believers in Christ.

One of the worst kinds of unforgiveness happens (most often in the church) when someone gets deeply hurt and carries a "victim attitude and deep unforgiveness" that can last for days, months or even years.

I'd like to open this discussion and will follow up after getting your thoughts or experience on why forgiveness is difficult.

Lord, please give us a listening and learning spirit.
 
Apr 20, 2015
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Nobody is perfect, and often the penitent person remains aware of their own imperfections. In so do, they easily identify with the imperfections of others. In that awareness, instead of judging with criticism, they have compassion and a willingness to forgive. They carry with them a "Who am I to judge".

To not forgive is to place oneself not only above the other, but also above one's self. Both are signs of self-dishonesty.
The primary motive of unforgiveness is to impress upon self importance, to seek righteousness or validity, to gain worthiness of praise and love. All these things come from the fear of being judged, in a negative way, by others.

The penitent person judges themselves. They know their own truth, warts and all. They don't fear being judged by others. If anything, they welcome it, in the hope that they may discover more about their dishonest nature from unbiased observers _ those who judge them. Instead of feeling hurt, they become grateful to have something else to put on their own cross.

What we cannot forgive are things we still fear being exposed about ourselves. We judge others in the hope of shifting the focus from self incrimination to incriminating others. Often the greater the fear of self exposure / vulnerability, the quicker and harsh the judgement of others. The ego wants all threats to be shut down a.s.a.p.

Unforgiveness is a fear response, and this world is largely fear-based (still). So nothing much is going to change in a hurry about 'judging' _ nor the hundreds of other forms of fear we get caught up in. . . so we can forgive others for having them too.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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God readily forgives us when we repent, but I think not many people do the 'repent' part and ask for forgiveness. It is hard to forgive someone who is unrepentant and proud. Even God does not do that although He is merciful to sinners, He only gives grace to the humble.

I would leave all judging (and vengeance) up to God. If forgiveness is not possible you need to let go which is why God has a huge chasm between heaven and hell and they cannot cross.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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Deeper wounds need inner healing, many people forget to ask for forgiveness for things they've done in the past that still affect people today. Some people actually forget but the person who's been hurt still carries the wound and it hasn't actually healed. Which is why we need to be forgiving daily, not wait till months or years later. And we can forgive up to 490 times in one day! According to the Bible...if someone makes that many mistakes and admits it you HAVE to forgive that person. They probably just have no idea on how to do whatever it is properly.
 
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Sep 3, 2009
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Hello brothers and sisters;

Forgiveness is one of our fundamental, core Christian principles, yet is one of the most difficult for believers in Christ.

One of the worst kinds of unforgiveness happens (most often in the church) when someone gets deeply hurt and carries a "victim attitude and deep unforgiveness" that can last for days, months or even years.

I'd like to open this discussion and will follow up after getting your thoughts or experience on why forgiveness is difficult.

Lord, please give us a listening and learning spirit.
Excellent comment brother!

Forgiveness, or the lack thereof just may be the greatest divider of Christians today. I have seen it take place on a daily basis especially in and among people who call themselves believers in Christ.

I see them sit in church and pretend that they are worshipping God by saying "Amen" and "Praise the Lord" while inside they are seething with anger and bitterness toward another person......usually a family member.

One of the reason IMO that we see this over and over is that Hollywood glorifies REVENGE. Movies, since their inception have promoted the "Get Even" attitude that speaks directly to heart of mans sin nature.

Society itself supports the revenge and retaliation factor as there are now more lawsuits than ever before in our nation. Approx......500,000 lawsuits are filed every year to get someone to pay for a perceived injustice to us. SEVENTY (700) percent of the worlds lawyers work in the USA.

The cry of the society we live in today is...…"IT'S NOT MY FAULT, SOMEBODIES GOING TO PAY ME".

"Unforgiveness" provokes and encourages BITTERNESS.

So then.........when we foregive those who have wronged us, we have actually done the most Godlike act that we can possible do in our existence which begs the question, why do so few people practice it?
 

CoffeeDrinker

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May 1, 2017
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Hello brothers and sisters;

Forgiveness is one of our fundamental, core Christian principles, yet is one of the most difficult for believers in Christ.

One of the worst kinds of unforgiveness happens (most often in the church) when someone gets deeply hurt and carries a "victim attitude and deep unforgiveness" that can last for days, months or even years.

I'd like to open this discussion and will follow up after getting your thoughts or experience on why forgiveness is difficult.

Lord, please give us a listening and learning spirit.
Hey, Bob. Many many years ago my son and I were members of a church (he was young in school). The church split and we saw so many terrible things. It hurt us both and kept us both out of church for a long time. I did not start attending full time until I joined this Forum and started asking for prayer on finding a church, etc. I had to forgive everyone who hurt me and then in the end I had to forgive myself. Forgiving myself was the hardest part, not sure why, but it was the most difficult. However, once I forgave myself I felt freedom like I have never felt in my life. My son still struggles with issues toward the church and he still needs prayer. God is so good and gracious. I am so thankful he helped me and saved me from my bad attitude, hurt and pain. God truly is good.
 
Sep 3, 2009
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Hey, Bob. Many many years ago my son and I were members of a church (he was young in school). The church split and we saw so many terrible things. It hurt us both and kept us both out of church for a long time. I did not start attending full time until I joined this Forum and started asking for prayer on finding a church, etc. I had to forgive everyone who hurt me and then in the end I had to forgive myself. Forgiving myself was the hardest part, not sure why, but it was the most difficult. However, once I forgave myself I felt freedom like I have never felt in my life. My son still struggles with issues toward the church and he still needs prayer. God is so good and gracious. I am so thankful he helped me and saved me from my bad attitude, hurt and pain. God truly is good.
My experience over the years has shown me that Satan uses religion as his best weapon.
 

bobinfaith

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Deeper wounds need inner healing, many people forget to ask for forgiveness for things they've done in the past that still affect people today. Some people actually forget but the person who's been hurt still carries the wound and it hasn't actually healed. Which is why we need to be forgiving daily, not wait till months or years later. And we can forgive up to 490 times in one day! According to the Bible...if someone makes that many mistakes and admits it you HAVE to forgive that person. They probably just have no idea on how to do whatever it is properly.
Hello brothers and sisters;

My concern of forgiveness is in the church, which is our disciple training ground.

One of the greatest teachings of forgiveness is told from the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.

Forgiveness is difficult to ask or give to the most heinous of sin that we commit, commit against us or commit against others.

Regardless, God can make a way for you and I to seek forgiveness under the most extreme circumstances. He can also make a way for us to forgive others who hurt, betray or curse us in the worst way.

God understands forgiveness is given (when we forgive) and received (when we seek forgiveness) "emotionally." At first, we are reactive, and may feel that we have to apply the Scriptures on our own. Not so.

But through deep prayer, once we get a grip of the situation that requires forgiveness, we become "receiving" of the Holy Spirit that intercedes on our behalf so we are not working alone. The Lord is carrying us through that can lead to reconciliation and restoration. We must remember its a process and takes the Lord's time to bring healing to the pain of hurt, betrayal, bitterness and for many, a bruised ego. Again, God is constantly working in us to complete His Process.

Throughout church history the issue of forgiveness has prompted people to leave the church abruptly. Next time you and I have to deal with forgiveness, ask ourselves. Are we leaving without confronting the other, to forgive, reconcile and restore the relationship?

Here are the bigger questions. Are we leaving our church because of unforgiveness, the person who wronged us? Who gave them power over God for us to make that major decision?

Or, are we leaving the church because God instructs us to? Its not wise to use this loosely as a crutch to leave because of forgiveness issues. Also, we cannot blame the pastor if we haven't been able to reconcile forgiveness which is another crutch. We are empowered as Christians to forgive and receive forgiveness.

Understandably, there are circumstances when after forgiveness of one another God may have another ministry for you at another church. But this is an outgoing process that should always require the Pastor. He is your Shepherd and needs to make sure your matters are settled so you don't carry unresolved baggage into the next church. He wants you to be a blessing to the new church and pastor.

One more lesson from Joseph. Despite the cruelty of Joseph's brothers and the seductress wife of Potiphar, he continued serving God - mercy, compassion, and the character virtues of a Godly man. Joseph could have argued unforgiveness because he was a slave.

If we are in the middle of a forgiveness issue, don't use this to discontinue serving God, if anything, serve God with double service. This helps ease any festering of bitterness. Instead, we need that gentle spirit which can help us think better, wisely, during the forgiveness process.

More of your thoughts? To be continued...
 
Dec 19, 2014
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I think people generally leave a church because one party was unable to ask for forgiveness, despite doing everything they can to work things though. Unfortunately sometimes its the people on staff in churches that make it difficult, as they are the ones always there and treat the lay people as visitors or guests if they are not on the staff. When that happens people have no choice but to walk away. Most people don't leave a church for good just one particular person who is abusing their trust, as they can find fellowship somewhere else without that person.

The same thing happens in divorces. Women are generally the ones that decide to leave, because of abuse and the safety of their children. They leave with nothing and have to find a place of refuge. Sometimes leaving is not an option though, because if they leave, the children are even more vulnerable to abuse.

I have left jobs where the bosses have become abusive and unforgiving. I wouldn't stay in a situation where there is no forgiveness.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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In those situations, outlined above there always seems to be a power differential, its actually not a brother to brother or brother sister relationship. What seems to happen is its like a master-slave relationship. Jesus wants us to be free and to relate to each other as brothers and sisters, not master-slaves. If not brother and sister then parent and child. If that gets abused its actually not safe to be in that situation.
 
Sep 3, 2009
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Hello brothers and sisters;

My concern of forgiveness is in the church, which is our disciple training ground.

One of the greatest teachings of forgiveness is told from the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.

Forgiveness is difficult to ask or give to the most heinous of sin that we commit, commit against us or commit against others.

Regardless, God can make a way for you and I to seek forgiveness under the most extreme circumstances. He can also make a way for us to forgive others who hurt, betray or curse us in the worst way.

God understands forgiveness is given (when we forgive) and received (when we seek forgiveness) "emotionally." At first, we are reactive, and may feel that we have to apply the Scriptures on our own. Not so.

But through deep prayer, once we get a grip of the situation that requires forgiveness, we become "receiving" of the Holy Spirit that intercedes on our behalf so we are not working alone. The Lord is carrying us through that can lead to reconciliation and restoration. We must remember its a process and takes the Lord's time to bring healing to the pain of hurt, betrayal, bitterness and for many, a bruised ego. Again, God is constantly working in us to complete His Process.

Throughout church history the issue of forgiveness has prompted people to leave the church abruptly. Next time you and I have to deal with forgiveness, ask ourselves. Are we leaving without confronting the other, to forgive, reconcile and restore the relationship?

Here are the bigger questions. Are we leaving our church because of unforgiveness, the person who wronged us? Who gave them power over God for us to make that major decision?

Or, are we leaving the church because God instructs us to? Its not wise to use this loosely as a crutch to leave because of forgiveness issues. Also, we cannot blame the pastor if we haven't been able to reconcile forgiveness which is another crutch. We are empowered as Christians to forgive and receive forgiveness.

Understandably, there are circumstances when after forgiveness of one another God may have another ministry for you at another church. But this is an outgoing process that should always require the Pastor. He is your Shepherd and needs to make sure your matters are settled so you don't carry unresolved baggage into the next church. He wants you to be a blessing to the new church and pastor.

One more lesson from Joseph. Despite the cruelty of Joseph's brothers and the seductress wife of Potiphar, he continued serving God - mercy, compassion, and the character virtues of a Godly man. Joseph could have argued unforgiveness because he was a slave.

If we are in the middle of a forgiveness issue, don't use this to discontinue serving God, if anything, serve God with double service. This helps ease any festering of bitterness. Instead, we need that gentle spirit which can help us think better, wisely, during the forgiveness process.

More of your thoughts? To be continued...
Excellent comments!

If church people, who are learned in the Word of God cannot and will not practice forgiveness......then who in the world will???
 
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Dec 19, 2014
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I find that rich people cannot forgive those who can't afford to pay them back. That's why so many people are in debt. They can't just forgive or give their money away as a gift they want to lend it, and then charge interest for it. Wrong!!

The Lord's prayer says to forgive our DEBTS as we forgive those who have debts against us...but so many people are still in debt and end up working their entire lives hoping to pay it off. Banks don't forgive. They just take your house.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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I don't know why a church would be unforgiving what the circumstance would be but it seems for many people its often to do with money...and the weird thing is people give to the church, not expecting anything back...but the church then I know of some churches who refuse to let gifts operate. Not just spiritual gifts although there's that too but even just ordinary giving.

People offer all sorts of things to the church but when the church is fussy and says we don't want this or that, we only want your money...well people are going to go elsewhere. Cos some people actually don't have money to give but they have other things.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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I remember I had this friend in high school, and her parents were very wealthy, they were doctors, both professionals, and they had said to her they calculate the cost to educate her and raise her, food and clothing and everything, and said she owed them X$$ for being born...so she had to find a good job to pay them back.
 
Feb 10, 2015
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I find that rich people cannot forgive those who can't afford to pay them back. That's why so many people are in debt. They can't just forgive or give their money away as a gift they want to lend it, and then charge interest for it. Wrong!!

The Lord's prayer says to forgive our DEBTS as we forgive those who have debts against us...but so many people are still in debt and end up working their entire lives hoping to pay it off. Banks don't forgive. They just take your house.
I believe in generosity and in forgiveness. I think that a miserly christian is a contradiction in terms.

But I do not believe one can look at one who appears to be very wealthy and condemn them for not forgiving material debts, particularly where a borrower had promised to repay. You do not know him.

Many of the patriarchs of the Old Testament, as well as some believers of the New Testament were people of means. Look at all Job had.

There is also an attitude where the poor look at the rich as fair game.

I can remember a time where a member of the church was well to do. That man showed up at just about every "day of service" were the church members performed maintenance on the building and its vehicles. He would clean toilets and paint walls and change the oil in the bus.

As a man with a high paying professional job, he could truly feel that his time was money, but he was taking time off to come and perform manual labor for the congregation. He was giving what was valuable to him to the body of Christ.

But there were people who also were at those service times who said in my hearing he was tight with his money. Apparently they had approached him for contribution for one of our ministries and he only gave pocket change.
Later, after He had passed away, I heard the pastor remark in a conversation that whenever the man was asked to contribute, he would pull a small bill out of his wallet, but the church office would receive a large donation in private from him for that ministry.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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Those who are poor often give their time, while it's so easy for those who are rich to just calculate ten percent of their earnings, and send that off to the church. It's just spare change to them. Then I've noticed that the richer people will look down on the poorer people, and if the poorer people have no fine clothes or they are dirty and smelly, they don't even want to sit near them. :-(

I've heard rich people complain about poor people coming to church and how they are so needy. Well hello. Not everyone is born with the same priveliges and has happy circumstances as those to the manor born.