Forgive But Redesign the System

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We should be happy to get an opportunity to forgive others. Jesus said that as we forgive, then we would be forgiven. That is in the Lordís Prayer. It says as we forgive the debts or trespasses of others towards us, we would be forgiven.
Because of the way human nature is, all of us have sins that we do not see. We justify our sins while we rarely justify the sins of others. We rationalize our sins while we usually do not rationalize the sins of others. That is because we understand why we did whatever we did, so we are easy on ourselves. We do not understand why others do what they do. So we tend to overlook our sins, which we understand and tend to patronize and pardon, but hold others to justice since we do not fully understand why they did things. This is natural.
We should always take those opportunities we have to forgive the sins of others so that the sins we are unaware of in ourselves or have minimized may find some mercy in the eyes of God.
When we forgive others, we should cease to reject them and not hold a grudge. But when we forgive others, we should realize we have stumbled upon a weakness in someoneís character. It is up to us to design or redesign some preventive system to deal with that weakness in character. The present situation is not working right. Therefore do something redemptive and intelligent such as designing or redesigning the situation.
If you have forgiven the person at fault, you now love or accept them again. If you really love them or have a serious concern, you will try to design or redesign a method to save them from themselves. Do not be so naTve as to believe an apology to you, even a sincere one is going to change the flaw in their character that caused the problem. We are working with deeper things.
For example a wealthy man had a son who wasted a great deal of money. The father of course forgave the son, but he did not hand out any more large amounts of money. He put the sonís money in a trust fund whose trustees were money wise.
On the other hand a man had a trusted employee who embezzled from him. The employee returned the stolen money. The boss forgave him but he transferred the employee to another department that did not handle money. Do not think forgiveness means knowingly putting yourself at the same risk from a defective character again. God is trying to encourage us to be good people showing grace but not lunatics.
A mother had her son lie to her about not doing his homework. Of course she forgave her son, but she also set up a system to to deal with this weakness in his character. She personally reviewed and quizzed on all the homework that went out from him. The boy graduated magna cum mother .He also learned over the years how to handle his academic work better, though studying he never liked. But he dealt with it better.
I knew a business man who was handsome, charming and had great appeal to women. The flaw in his character was he did not understand anything about women. He was the dupe of any attractive devious woman. He was left alone on a too long business trip. The ultimately to be expected happened. His wife found out by accident. She eventually forgave him. She had felt she could not leave the children for these trips. Now she began going on the longer business trips. She got Aunt Mary to stay with the children. They were not ruined by the motherís absence but did better at the camps they went to later. They did not become as homesick as their friends since they had learned how to survive without their parents for a time.
You should forgive if you can find the grace. But there is no sense in raving and ranting as you forgive. A character defect is not going to be cured by a lick, an angry promise and a scene. Where there is a character defect, you need to try to save yourself and the person forgiven from the defect as best you can, This means some sort of redesigned structure that will help to contain the problem. Theologically speaking, you are working to redeem or make better along with Christ in doing this.
Alcoholics Anonymous is famous for this. They have twelve steps. One of them is to learn to involve God in the actions in their lives that help those with a weakness cope with their problems. Nor should anyone think that to have a weakness is anything to be ashamed of. Not to deal with it is what you should be ashamed of. Everyone has some weakness.
If you need to forgive someone in your life, be sure to ask God to help you forgive graciously. Ask that you do not hold a grudge or be self-righteous. Ask God to help you and or others design some system that will help save the person you have forgiven from the weakness you must forgive. This may take prayer and walking with God on your part. Or you may have to redesign a system for yourself to deal with a weakness in yourself.
Of course things work out best if both the forgiven and the forgiver work with God. But that decision has to be made by both people. If only one is a believer, that is not possible. That also does not mean nothing in the way of progress can be made. It just means itís harder for one to accomplish. But if you have Christ, much is possible. More than this world dreams of.


Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.


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