Forgive VS. Being Taken Advantage Of

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by allenm, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. allenm

    allenm
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    The theme of our Sunday School class, last Sunday, was about forgiveness. There is lots of feedback conversation in our adult class. From the comments, popular opinion is that you should forgive but don't let yourself be taken advantage of. "once bitten twice shy" type of attitude.

    This rubbed me wrong and I've been thinking about it ever since (I didn't have a chance to speak up in class).

    Doesn't Jesus tell us that we forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive?
    Mathew 18
    21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
    22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.


    How does one keep themselves in biblical alignment but protect myself from being taken advantage of?

    Mathew 5
    38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.


    So, are a persons instincts to protect themselves from being taken advantage of earthly in nature and should be "kept in check"?
     
  2. guitarpreacher

    guitarpreacher
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    A person would almost have to write a book to completely answer your question, but I'll take a shot at a Reader's Digest attempt.

    First of all, we tend to make forgiveness about the person who has harmed us when in reality forgiveness is about us. If someone has done soemthing that they need to be forgiven for, it means they've done something that has hurt you. Hurts, if left alone, turn into anger and eventually anger will turn into bitterness and unchecked anger and bitterness in our lives is sin. So we forgive in order to live the life that pleases God and to live a life of spiritual healthiness.

    Forgiveness is not about opening up your life to more abuse. To use an extreme example. If an adult you know abuses your child, are you commanded by Scripture to forgive that person? Yes you are. Do you allow them to have unsupervised access to your children again? Are you kidding?

    Relationships are fragile things, and restoration of a relationship after a trust has been broken takes time. Forgiveness on the otherhand, to be Biblical, needs to be complete and immediate. And the severity of the offense requiring forgiveness will determine the time needed for restoration of trust in the relationship.

    I was reading on Matthew 5 not too long ago, and the commentator was saying that the idea from the OT of an "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" was not intended to give permission to seek revenge, but instead, knowing our revengful nature, was to set limits. In other words, if I poke your eye out, all you can do to me is poke my eye out. You can't get an eye and an ear. Jesus was saying, forget about getting even. Forgive and let it go. Move on. But in no way should we take that to mean we should allow ourselves to be taken advantage of or to continue in an abusive, unhealthy relationship.
     
  3. belvedere

    belvedere
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    Guitarpreacher, you summed it up very nicely!
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Perhaps we should start by deciding what biblical forgiveness is.
     
  5. puros_bran

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    Allen I imagine this conversation went on in thousands of class's, I know it did ours.

    I grabbed my Strongs Concordance and wrote all the verses down regarding forgive,forgiving,forgiveness.
    Hopefully I can settle this in my mind.

    Mark (correct me if I'm putting the wrong guy here) left Paul during a mission trip, when it was time for the next trip Paul and Barnabus had a falling out over letting Mark go..Was this an example of 'I've forgiven you,but now I have boundries' or was this an example of unforgiveness?

    When we accept God's forgiveness for our sins, he knows we will sin against him again, and from what I can tell he doesn't set boundries due to this.

    I know I haven't helped answer the question,but hopefully there's comfort knowing your not the only one asking the question.
     
  6. tinytim

    tinytim
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    And what about the person that looks at you and says, "you have to forgive me"... then the next day, hurts you again?

    My advice, is stay away from that person.

    We have to forgive, but we don't have to intentionally put ourselves in situations that we know are going to hurt us.

    This gets tricky when it is a marriage relationship, and abuse is involved...
     
  7. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
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    IMHO two of the most confused "topics" of the Christian life are 1) LOVE and 2) FORGIVENESS.

    Just a couple of instances:

    We ARE commanded to LOVE others; we ARE NOT commanded to LIKE others

    We are commanded to FORGIVE others; we ARE NOT commanded to forget the offense, OR to continue to subject ourselves to continued abuse.

    A little thought can add to these contrasts with common teaching and the actual scriptures.
     
  8. allenm

    allenm
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    guitarpreacher your words are very helpful. In fact, I appreciate everyone's
    comments.

    Pastor Larry - good point. What is biblical forgiveness? I used that term for this conversation meaning to forgive as God would teach from the Bible. Would this be interpreted differently?

    I had a memory of a Bible quote pop into my head but I couldn't find it searching BibleGateway.com - isn't there passage that talks about God forgetting what's in the past and advising us *not* to worry about what's in the future.. the person you can serve now is the importance? Does that apply here?

    Would we want to guard against a "compounding" affect? Meaning, each time that person 'wrongs' us we would put them deeper into the mental "judgment box".

    If it is a chronic problem we have instruction to confront the problem.
    There is teaching of bringing a problem before your brother and if he does not listen, bring it before the church (again, paraphrasing from memory).

    Does this mean "once bitten, twice shy, third time I'm in your face with love"?
    This takes me back to:
    Mathew 18:22 "Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. "
     
  9. christianyouth

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    Hey Allenm, of course we keep forgiving. We love that person. We cannot alter the standard that Jesus gave us on the sermon on the mount because of our own weakness. Forgiving is hard. Turning the other cheek is hard. It requires intense humility and love for the one who is abusing you. But it is required.

    Develop the mind of equilibrium.
    You will always be getting praise and blame,
    but do not let either affect the poise of the mind:
    follow the calmness, the absence of pride.
    -Sutta Nipata

    'Follow the calmness, the absence of pride.' Sutta Nipata was a Buddhist, but his introspective lifestyle led him to discover a truth that I'm sure most of us have discovered, that when we die to self and destroy the body of pride that resides in us, we can have calmness in the midst of praise or blame. We are invincible.

    We can go to the cross praying for those who put us there.

    We can be reviled, and astound our enemies by our unconditional love and good deeds toward them.

    There is also another wise Buddhist proverb, that says when we are attacked we have two options: We can pull out our sword and fight or we can take our opponents sword away. By destroying pride, that is what we do. They have no sword. When they insult us, and they see that it doesn't offend us, their sword is taken away, we have effectively disarmed them.
     
  10. Aaron

    Aaron
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    How has it come to this, that a Baptist youth thinks pagan proverbs more suited to understanding Christian forgiveness than the words of the Holy Spirit?
     
  11. Amy.G

    Amy.G
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    I have a problem with that too. But maybe it's because he's a youth. He has much to learn and discern.
     

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