Question: Forgiveness Versus Friendship

Anonymous asked:

Is it okay to cut someone out of your life even after you’ve forgiven them? Or does that mean you haven’t actually forgiven them? Is it okay to stop taking someone back as a friend?

Hey there!

I’ve always believed that forgiveness doesn’t instantly mean friendship. Friendship actually requires a good will moving forward on both sides.  So while I believe, for example, that a woman can forgive her son’s murderer, this doesn’t mean they need to be friends.

That’s a very extreme example, but I feel like so many people feel enslaved by thinking “Now I have to be friends with this person who completely broke my trust and keeps hurting me.”  We’re allowed to have boundaries and safety and wisdom with people who are continually a spiritual (or physical) danger to us.

Forgiveness is also a daily process, meaning it’s not always (and almost never is) a one-time event.  You might have to forgive someone a hundred times before moving on.  And that’s okay.  Each day we work with that hurt, wrestle it to the ground, put it on the shelf at night, and it gets easier as time goes by.

At the same time: each of us know in our hearts if we’re even in this process at all.  Most of us know if we’re in denial and still seething in hatred.  So I would definitely check your own heart on this one and see if you’re wishing any ill will towards this person.  Halfway-forgiveness holds a grudge while denying there’s any unforgiveness at all.  It’s a self-deception that can bleed into other areas of your life, particularly with future friendships.

If this other person is trying to be your friend, I would highly consider showing grace and going for it.  It won’t be easy, but it’s worth a shot.  Sometimes cutting off a person is just a bitter method that will only harden your heart, and God might ask of you to reach out despite yourself.  But then: if this person is still stepping on you, I would back way up.  I would maybe leave the door open, but I wouldn’t let them in so easily.

I’ll point you to a couple posts on this too:

– How To Cut Someone Off The “Christian” Way

– When To Give Up On Someone

Will pray for you, my friend.

— J.S.

2 thoughts on “Question: Forgiveness Versus Friendship

  1. My landlady, during my first years as a pastor, gave sage advice that has helped me, namely, don’t waste energy on those who have no intention to do anything except attack. Spend it on those to whom you have a ministry. It did 2 things: 1) Taught me I’m not God so I am limited; 2) Friends can be hard, but not impossible, so if someone is being impossible…
    Your answer is solid.


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