Category Archives: Forgiveness

Forgiveness and Justice: A Christian Approach

Forgiveness and Justice: A Christian Approach by Dr. Bryan Maier

Forgiveness and Justice: A Christian Approach by Dr. Bryan Maier

In the Christian healing arena, forgiveness has become a staple. Whether you are doing Sozo, Thoephostic, Immanuel, or HeartSync, a standard question is, “Have you forgiven….?” It’s a great question and often releases healing into deep places that have remained stuck for years. The standard thinking is that the offended or abused person can forgive, regardless of the actions of the offender and even if the offender hasn’t repented. In fact, even if he’s dead. Many people find healing through this process. In this model, forgiveness is usually defined as releasing a legal obligation or transferring the debt to God. Once the debt is released, the offended person can move on, whether the offender asks for or receives the forgiveness or not.

A Different Approach

Dr. Bryan Maier offers a different take and an interesting perspective in Forgiveness and Justice: A Christian Approach . Maier says that forgiveness must be rooted in the forgiveness of God, and that since God requires repentance, so must we. He puts the onus on the offender to repent and outlines a lengthy process of verifying the validity of the repentance and this puts all the cards in the hands of the offended. She is not required to accept the apology, but the offender is required to bide his time and continue reaching out. And by extension, if the offender is dead and can’t repent, it seems to leave the offended in a rotten position of never being able to forgive. Maier doesn’t spend much time on this, but it does beg the question. He also suggests that forgiveness is essentially unrelated to healing.

I was intrigued with the parallel to God’s forgiveness. True, he does require repentance. And if we don’t repent, we aren’t forgiven. That makes sense. But as a person who had to forgive a dead offender, I found real problems with Maier’s model. How would I release him since I wasn’t even aware of the abuse until years after he was gone?

This is dense and thoughtful book. Maier makes and documents his points well. I would recommend it to those working in healing and ministry. You may not agree with him, but he will make you think.





Fiction Friday! Beauty for Ashes

Beauty for Ashes (The Isaiah Cadre) by Alyce-Kay Ruckelshaus

How do you maintain your faith in times of unexpected trouble or trauma? Especially when it hits you out of nowhere. And what if the trauma has long-lasting effects—perhaps for the rest of your life? Would you still be able to trust God?

Beauty For Ashes: Isaiah Cadre, Book 1 (Isaiah Cadre Series) is the first of a series by my friend, Alyce-Kay Ruckelshaus. It chronicles the story of Kelly, a student at Westmont College in Santa Barbara in 1981. She is an MK (missionary kid) and in love with Matt, a PK (preacher’s kid). She is also part of the Isaiah Cadre, a group of dorm mates who have committed themselves to God and one another.

The book starts off a little slowly, but sets the stage well for an idyllic college experience, deep friendships, and young romance. It gives context that will be important later. And then the unthinkable happens and in a moment, Kelly’s world is shattered. Her faith is tested. Her love is tested. Even her friendships are tested.

The book offers a realistic portrayal of the way many people handle sudden trauma. It especially demonstrates how trauma affects a normally logical person, and how shame can distort one’s thinking.

I highly recommend this book. I loved it even though it’s not  my demographic. It’s well written, fast moving, and thoughtful. The author offers discussion questions for personal use or better yet, for a book group. Or even for a cadre. And best of all, it’s free on Kindle!


Daily Communion: A Valuable Practice

Do you want a practice that will greatly enlarge your love of God, your healing, and your contentment? I’ve been doing daily communion for all of this year, and I can highly recommend it. I take my first moments of the day, even before coffee, to spend a few minutes with Jesus. I thank him for his amazing sacrifice. I meditate on the cross and the pain He endured. I thank him for the salvation and healing he offered me. Me. Personally.

Daily Communion

Daily Communion
Photo Credit: klndonnelly

As I break the bread, I ask that he break off all sin, infirmity, sickness, bad habits, brokenness – anything that is not pleasing to him. As I take the cup, I remind him of the new covenant that promised me a heart of flesh rather than a heart of stone. I receive the healing effect of the blood. I pray. I remember.

Since doing the same thing every day can feel a little stale, I’ve also been using a simple devotional At the Foot of the Cross: Meditations on the Meal of Remembrance It gives me new ideas and insights on how to pray.

Since starting the practice of daily communion, I’ve noticed more healing, more serenity, and more faith. To avoid the problem of not having the components at home and the nuisance of preparing every day, I buy my individual communion set ups from Amazon, either Fellowship cup,Prefilled communion cups juice/wafer-100 cups (net wt.1.62 lb) or Celebration Cups Wafer and Juice Communion Set (100 Count) (shown above). Both have been quick satisfactory.

I encourage you to consider this wonderful practice. Let me know what you discover.

Want to Feel Totally Inadequate? Try Being a Caregiver

Asleep in the Chair

Asleep in the Chair
Photo Credit: Timothy Krause

I’m a long-distance caregiver. I spend about a week a month at Mom’s, managing her medical care and just about anything else she needs. We return home tomorrow. I’m exhausted. I hurt all over. I’m discouraged. Oh, this is nothing new. It happens every time I’m here. It’s not that the work is so hard. In fact, this week was particularly light in terms of medical appointments, which was good news/bad news. We had fewer demands on our schedules, which made it easier for Mom. But it also meant more unscheduled time, which is hard because she and I don’t get along well. We don’t have a lot to talk about, and most of the time, I wear myself out to get her to make good decisions. Which she resents. She wants to do what she wants to do without bearing the consequences.

For example, she has had terrible neck pain for over a year. We’ve tried a variety of medical treatments and several alternative medicine treatments. They help for a while, and then she plateaus. She lives in constant pain. I feel bad for her, and try to get her to make wise choices. Like taking a nap during the day to give her body more time to heal. Like not falling asleep in her chair, which torques her neck, puts more stress on it, and reverses anything we’ve done medically. It seems so obvious to me, but to her, not so much. She wants to be able to do what she wants without being responsible. Or said differently, she wants the freedom to make bad choices and avoid the consequences.

I confess I get frustrated. I’ve spent a lot of time and money to be here, but she doesn’t appreciate that. And somehow, it’s my fault she doesn’t feel better. It’s very confusing. Very disempowering. Very demeaning. I feel inadequate. My own strength fails me.

That’s when I have to lean totally on Jesus. When I suffer insults, I suffer for the sake of Christ, not Mom. When I am weak, I am strong in Him (2 Cor. 12:10). I don’t have to defend myself. I serve. I do what I can. I accept that I will never be appreciated, praised, or acknowledged. I accept that nothing I do will ever be right or good enough. So I serve Mom as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23). I look to Him for my reward. And I forgive quickly.

No, I’ll probably never get the thanks I think I deserve from Mom. But I know someone who is looking at me with great love and affection, and yes, great satisfaction. And for now, that is enough.


Sometimes You Just Need to Rest | How to Manage Extreme Fatigue

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Mothers’ Day — A Day of Redemption

Hats Off to You, Moms!

Hats Off to You, Moms!
Photo Credit: Peggy Reimchen

Hats off to all of you wonderful mothers out there. I always spend Mothers’ Day pondering that season I enjoyed, and now enjoying the fruits of my labors. I know that I have been blessed beyond measure with my dear son, his wife, and now our grandchildren. I feel as if I indeed reaped tenfold, maybe one hundredfold, on the investment I made. Like many of you, I remember the highlights. The good times. I know there were tough times, but they are foggier in my memory.

I also know that some of you struggle with Mothers’ Day. You feel you didn’t do enough. You’re sure you didn’t do it right. You grieve because your kids didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. Let me encourage you. God isn’t finished with you yet, and if your children are still living, He isn’t finished with them yet either (Phil 1:6). We are only in Act I. There is still time for redemption, renewal, and restoration. So keep praying. Keep loving. Keep reaching out. Keep keeping the door open. Because God has a plan that he hasn’t revealed.

And for those of us who had less than perfect moms, today is a day to forgive and release. As I was praying this morning, I realized that I am still holding on to fragments of resentment over what I didn’t get. Over the humanness of my mom, which resulted in my not having the childhood I thought I deserved. But the reality is, God chose my parents and family before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). He put me in that family for His reasons. And as long as I cooperate with Him, with His plan, I can be a part of the redemptive process in my family. Who knows but that I was brought into this family for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14). Who knows how God plans on using you and me to bring a new level of wholeness and health to our families. And our imperfect mothers were part of that. I, in my own imperfection, am part of that.

So this morning, I spent some time releasing the hurts and grievances that still cling like barnacles to my soul, despite years of healing work. I spent some time forgiving and reconciling with my imperfect mother. Let me encourage you to do the same.

I love this video, which points out just how impossible this job is. Who would be foolish enough to sign up for it?

What is Forgiveness?


Forgiveness Heals

Forgiveness Heals
Photo Credit: Iqbal Osman

“I want to forgive, but I just can’t.”
“After what he did to me, I’ll never forgive him!”
“I’ve forgiven and forgiven, but I don’t think it took. I don’t feel any different.”

Forgiveness is an absolute key to healing. We simply can’t heal if we don’t forgive. But what is forgiveness and how do we do it?

First let’s clear up what forgiveness isn’t. It isn’t saying that what the other person did was OK. It doesn’t relieve them from responsibility. It doesn’t mean we have to reconcile or be in relationship. If a person is not trustworthy, there is no requirement that I need to trust him or have anything to do with him.

So what is it then? Forgiveness is simply releasing the person and all he or she did to God.  It is letting go of any vengeance I feel entitled to and leaving it to God to bring judgment (Romans 12:9). It is deciding that I am not the judge and jury. So when I forgive, I imagine simply handing the person over to God and saying, “You are the judge. I have no further claims on this person or their offense.” And then, I have to let go. If the offense has been significant, I may have to release the person over and over until the feelings come. But I forgive by faith, not by feelings.

Furthermore, forgiveness is not an option, it’s a commandment. (Colossians 3:13). It’s also required if we hope to receive forgiveness from God and others (Matthew 6:14). So swallow your pride and forgive anyone who has harmed you. You’ll be amazed how freeing it can be!