July 4, 2013

“For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.”  2 Corinthians 2:6-8

Motivation can be as difficult to discover as any buried treasure.  It lays buried deep within, tainting all of the actions flowing through it.  This filtering effect of motivation can sour all the right activity or it can sweeten the most misguided.

Therefore, an action’s quality is dependent upon the actor’s inspiration.

The treasure of our inspiration should be a hunt that never ends.  It should be a quest that commences every time I am moved into action or inaction.  This becomes even more important when reconciliation becomes necessary.

I wish it were possible for us not to hurt each other.  I wish that we all could live in a big, happy community: without speaking insensitive words, without differences driving a wedge, without the dashing of expectation.  I have yet to find that community.  Ponce de Leon’s search will probably be fulfilled before I discover the community without the need of forgiveness.

The perfect community will never exist as long as it is populated with imperfect people.  We, followers of Christ, still struggle under the oppression of our sinful flesh.  The ugly manifestations of our sin are the obvious imperfections within our Christian communities.

I look forward to the time when interpersonal forgiveness will be a theory.  I long for the forgiveness of a wronged person to be relegated to the rudimentary toolbox of a dark age.  However, that day of glorification has not yet come.  So, the need for the craftsmanship of forgiveness still has a role to play within our communities.

English: Photographer: Randy C. Bunney A sharp...

English: Photographer: Randy C. Bunney A sharp wood chisel in combination with a wood drill bit is used to form this mortise for a half-lap joint in a timber frame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, this craft does not seem to have enough skillful practitioners.  Forgiveness is not easy.  I have been disappointed many times when forgiveness has not resulted in the reconciliation that I had hoped.  It makes me wonder if our fumbling of forgiveness results in part from a contamination of motivation.

Why do you want someone to ask for forgiveness?

Why are you asking for forgiveness?

Why are you seeking the one you have wronged?

The variation of answers to those questions reveal our motivations.

We might be seeking justice.
We might just want things to get back to normal.
We might want vindication.
We might want it known that we were wronged.

The emotions and motivations of the hurting can be difficult to untangle.  However, I think that we often make it harder than it needs to be.  True forgiveness flows from those whose actions are filtered by a motivation of love.  The reason forgiveness fumbles from unskilled hands is often due to motivations for something other than the love of that other person.

I should seek the forgiveness of the person I have wronged because I love them. 

Forgiveness sought from love wants to heal the past wounds that have been inflicted.  Also, forgiveness removes the future stumbling blocks of resentment, bitterness, and disunity that can come from unresolved conflicts.  Therefore, the love of our neighbor’s soul, past, present and future, should be why we earnestly seek out those who we have wronged.  We do it because we love them.

When I have been wronged, I should seek reconciliation with that person because I love them. 

My love for them should not be contingent upon their action.  However, that does not mean my hurt is not real and it does not mean I should sweep it under the carpet.  Holding my brother or sister accountable to their action can be one of the most loving things I do for them.  Usually, actions that are hurting other people are a result of sin.  That person needs to be made aware of their sin and the consequences of those actions.  The love of the hurt should be for those who have hurt them to repent and to have a right relationship with God.  Forgiveness is more about the restoring of the transgressor’s relationship with God than with the one they wronged.  By God’s grace, usually when the transgressor gets right with God, the Spirit will motivate them in love to get right with the one they wronged.  That should be the loving hope of the wronged.

Genuine forgiveness will always craft reconciliation when all parties are motivated by an abounding love for one another.

We are all stuck in a world where relationships will get funky.  Therefore, we must become skillful masters of the craft of forgiveness.  It is an essential skill of a follower of Christ.  May we always set our heart on love before we pick up the tool of forgiveness because inspiration that comes from love will be manifested in quality actions that glorify God.

That should be our hope.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for so often losing sight of love when confronted with a conflict.  Forgive me for caring more about myself than those I am at odds with.  Help me to love others as You love them.  Give me a love for others that is beyond me.  Make me a peacemaker and a master craftsman of reconciliation.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. Reblogged this on wordimagery and commented:
    So very insightful. Thankful for this post and hope that all my readers will appreciate the wisdom of this as much as I.

  2. So very much appreciate this brother… so, so well expressed. Thank you for your much needed insight in this often difficult to navigate area. Definitely the Lord’s timing for me to have read this. Will be reblogging this in a minute.

    Thankful for your ministry in the word and your faithfulness in writing to share your heart and gift in this way.

  3. I needed to read this wow…especially when you wrote, “Forgiveness is more about the restoring of the transgressor’s relationship with God than with the one they wronged. By God’s grace, usually when the transgressor gets right with God, the Spirit will motivate them in love to get right with the one they wronged”.

  4. great food for thought, introspection.

  5. :Love, love, love this! Thank you!

    • Thank you Toni. I am glad it was encouraging.
      God Bless!

  6. Reblogged this on Fireflies Dance & Lavender.

    • Thank you so very much for the reblog.
      God Bless!

  7. Sometimes the hardest people to forgive are the ones who have hurt a loved one – especially if it is a child who has been hurt.

    • Very true

  8. I love this, JD… It again comes back to the two most important commandments, love the Lord your God … and love your neighbor as yourself … thanks for this outstanding reminder to forgive with the right motivation! It’s appreciated

  9. Amen! I agree with talkkindesstome in that I too need more compassion and understanding, but not for others–for myself! I can become hard-hearted quickly…

  10. Fortunately God created me with a personality that forgives easily. But I need
    More compassion and understanding of individuals who are hurtful themselves and hang onto grudges forever.

    Thank you for sharing.

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