Archive for March 30th, 2010

HopeOver the past 20-odd years, I’ve had a number of opportunities to teach and/or counsel high school youth groups, along with some additional experience w/ folks struggling with addiction recovery (groups that have more in common that you might think).  One of the common topics that I’ve found that these people have struggled with is the concept of decoupling forgiveness from the consequences of sin.

“If you have forgiven me, then things must go back to the way things used to be…”, so the argument goes.  “If you are still going to treat me different/punish me, then you really haven’t forgiven me,” is cry of the addict, and it is the siren call of the addicts’ enablers in allowing the abuse to continue.  In addictive/abusive relationships, it is quite common for the abusers to manipulate those around them by taking a key component of Jesus’ teaching about living in the Kingdom – the concept of forgiveness – and twisting into something antithetical to its purpose.  As the saying goes “the best lies are the ones that contain the most truth”..

And without a good grounding in the Word, it is easy to fall for this lie, which is why so many do.  And, as so many of the key threads of Jesus’ teaching do, the decoupling of forgiveness and consequences begins in the Garden of Eden.

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