How to Forgive: See the Silver Lining

 How to Forgive: See the Silver Lining

How to Forgive: See the Silver Lining

We are looking at how to forgive. Not an easy task! So far we’ve looked at three ideas:

  1. Make a heroic choice
  2. Set boundaries (two posts)
  3. Reframe the offense
I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and people are sharing the posts with friends who need to forgive and be forgiven. I love seeing this happen.
Today I want to continue talking about reframing the offense. To reframe the offense means to see the offense from a new perspective. There are many ways to do this…many more than I will take time to discuss here. In the last post I suggested seeing your offense through the eyes of humility. This means that you see the offense with the understanding that you are capable of doing the same thing, or as I said, seeing the “Nazi” inside of you.

How to Forgive: See the Silver Lining

Another way to reframe your offense is to see the silver lining…see how God might use it for good.  The thought of God using evil for good might be repulsive. But that’s only if God caused evil for good. That’s perverse.  But if God takes evil and brings good out of it, that’s beautiful. The Bible is clear that God actively works all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

We see this in the Bible with the apostle Paul. When he wrote to the Philippian church he was in jail facing death.  Now, when you hear the word “jail”,  don’t think modern 21st century jail. Think rat infested dungeon with no toilets and moldy food…on a good day. If that was your situation what would you write home about? This is what he told his friends…

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. Philippians 1:12-14

If I was in that jail I don’t know if I’d be worried about advancing the message of God or encouraging other people. I’d be complaining about the rats, the food and the government and begging for someone to rescue me…fast.

Paul was able to see the silver lining…the positive in his experience…which enabled him to move beyond the offense and forgive his offenders.   Paul reframed his situation. He was able to rise 30,000 feet in the air and look down on this imprisonment from God’s point of view.  And because of that ability he says he rejoiced (see verse 18).

Forgiveness is a Choice

Reframing is a choice. You can dwell on your offense, insist that it has marred you for life and complain about it or you can trust that God will use it for good and move on. Victim or Victor. Your choice.

Question: How have you been able to reframe a past offense and see the good? Leave your comment below.

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