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What forgiveness is not (P.2)

Ambulu, repairer of the breaches! Onyanga no royal priesthood!

What comes from GOD begins in truth. For GOD is upright from the beginning. Those who marked history did exploits. Those who wrote (changed) history allowed others to do so. Be upright and visionary. The best response to adversity is to be like CHRIST. The worst is to look like our enemies. Don't let pain define your identity. Speak without being offensive and listen without being defensive. Be free) from the offender, healed from the offense, and restored from the consequences. There are some things GOD saves us from, some he keeps us from, and others he makes us triumph over.

Part 1: GOD is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Justice and fairness are the foundation of his throne. Goodness and faithfulness are before his face. Love and Truth are inseparable.

  1. Forgiveness is not denial

  2. Forgiveness is not forgetting

  3. Forgiveness does not cancel the judgment of GOD, the tribunal of CHRIST, and the duty to repent

  4. Forgiveness does not approve evil and does not cancel the right and duty to protect: justify vs. forgive vs. excuse vs. tolerate, repent vs. be sorry, guilt vs. responsibility, revenge vs. justice.

Part 2: Healing is for those who believe and restoration is for those who obey.

    5. Forgiveness is neither healing nor restoration of the soul: Healing + witnessing => Restoration + strengthening others.

Part 3: The commandment is to love your neighbor, not to be intimate with your neighbor. NO to bad company and toxic relationships. GOD does not divide, he separates.

    6. Forgiveness is not reconciliation

    7. Forgiveness is not a feeling

    8. Forgiveness is not an obligation: it is a choice

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in CHRIST GOD forgave you. 

(Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

JESUS said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  

(Luke 23:34, NIV)

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back [epistrepho, Strong n°1994, Greek], strengthen your brothers.”

(Luke 22: 21-32, NIV)

To the Jews who had believed him, JESUS said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

(John 8:31-32, NIV)

5. Forgiveness is neither healing nor restoration of the soul: Healing + witnessing => Restoration + strengthening others.

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3, NKJV).

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3, NKJV).

❖ ‘Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; Those who plunder you shall become plunder, And all who prey upon you I will make a prey. For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, ‘Because they called you an outcast saying: “This is Zion; No one seeks her.” (Jérémiah 30:16-17, NKJV)

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25, NKJV)

And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10, NKJV)

Forgiveness is neither healing nor restoration. Forgiveness is a decision. We choose to forgive or not to forgive. Healing and restoration are processes: sequences of actions (us) and interventions (GOD) carried out to achieve a result (healing, restoration, prevention). Processes can be miraculous, long, fast, accelerated, slowed down, completed, or unfinished. The more we grow in communion, understanding of the Word, faith in the Word, and obedience, the faster the healing and restoration.

We forgive, but GOD heals (Psalms 147:3). We forgive, but GOD restores (Psalms 23:3, Jeremiah 30:16-17, Joel 2:25, Job 42:10). GOD restores because he is the master of times and circumstances (Daniel 2:2), he has the power to subdue all things (Philippians 3:21) and he makes all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). He also judges and avenges (Ecclesiastes 12:14, Psalm 89:14, Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19). In the previous article in this series, I explained the difference between vengeance and justice. Forgiveness frees from the offender. ⇒ Healing frees from the offense (it doesn't hurt anymore). ⇒ Restoration frees from the consequences (direct and collateral) of the offense. Healing focuses on the effects of the offense on you (your soul). Restoration deals with the consequences the offense has had on your life.

Imagine someone going to the station to catch a direct train. He has customers and potential investors to meet. Along the way, he's mugged by some street teenagers. He somehow manages to escape alive. Unfortunately, he arrives late at the station. He had lost some of his luggage. In particular, his laptop and smartphone. On top of that, he's exhausted and his knees and head hurt. His assailants stole his bank cards. He reported the theft to the police and his bank. The money he had left was just enough to buy a low-end computer (less performant) and a train ticket with two connections. During the journey, he tries to reproduce the work saved on his first computer. But being tired and short of time, the result is not as good as initially expected. As a result, customers and potential investors reject his proposals. He forgave his aggressors. But did forgiveness heal his knees and head? Could he reproduce the quality of his initial work? Did his customers change their minds? No, no, and no again.

Imagine someone who loses family members in a car accident. Let's suppose the driver of the other car missed his maneuver because a wild boar crossed the road. This person has forgiven the other driver. But forgiving will not resurrect those who have died. Will forgiving take away the grief or the trauma? What would we say in the case of adultery or domestic violence? We know the answer: no. Forgiveness is one thing, being healed and restored is another.

Imagine someone who loses family members in a car accident. Let's suppose the driver of the other car missed his maneuver because a wild boar crossed the road. This person has forgiven the other driver. But forgiving will not resurrect those who have died. Will forgiving take away the grief or the trauma? What would we say in the case of adultery or domestic violence? We know the answer: no. Forgiveness is one thing, but being healed and restored is quite another.

Whoever forgives, trusts in GOD. Because he has forgiven, GOD can intervene: heal and restore. The soul is healed when the heart is free of resentment, grief, hatred, fear, denial, guilt, or hurt. The soul is restored when mental strongholds, thought patterns contrary to Truth, are overthrown. When GOD restores, He does more than restore you to good working order, He restores you to a better state than yesterday 🙂 When GOD heals your finances, He gets you out of debt, over-indebtedness, or chronic indebtedness. When GOD restores your finances, he makes you prosperous. In both cases, it doesn't happen overnight, or without your cooperation. GOD blesses the work of your hands, but if you don't work, you'll be poor. GOD gives you a field, but if you don't take care of it, you'll be poor.

Restoration goes further than healing. The objective of healing is in the present: to eliminate disease, heal injury, and restore functioning. The goal of restoration is in the future: to restore, to rebuild, to redeem time. GOD heals because he loves. He restores because he is faithful. Healing is for those who believe in the word (Romans 8:17). Restoration is for those who abide in CHRIST and in whom the words abide (John 15:7). Restoration is for those who walk in communion and obedience.

Healing is concerned with symptoms, while restoration develops the ability to resist, prevent, anticipate, and break the cycle of repetition. That's why the healed person bears witness. He tells what GOD has done. He who is restored does more than bear witness: he strengthens others by his character, his prayers, his words, and his actions. So JESUS told the Apostle Peter "And you, when you are converted [epistrepho, Strong no. 1994, Greek], strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:32, LSG).

The Greek word translated by converted in this verse is "epistrepho (Strong's no. 1994)". It is also translated as return, bring back, return, turn to, turn around, turn back, turn in the direction of (Matthew 9:22, James 5:19, Matthew 10:13, Luke 1:16, Acts 9:40, Luke 8:55, Matthew 12:44, Acts 28:27, Revelation 1:12). It is the word translated as conversion in the New Testament (Acts 9:35, Acts 15:19, 2 Corinthians 3:16, etc.). In Bible dictionaries, it means:

  1. In a transitional way: to turn to the worship of the true GOD.

  2. To return, come back, bring back: to the love and obedience of GOD, to love for children, to the love of wisdom and justice.

  3. In a non-transitory way: to turn in on oneself, to turn away, to return, to come back.

🙂 JESUS was therefore saying to the Apostle Paul "when you are restored, when you are re-established, when you are renewed, when you have returned to me, when your faith is firm (turned away from circumstances), when you are turned to me, ⇒ strengthen your brothers, build them up, bring them back to me, help them to have a firm faith, pray for them as I have prayed for you, do with them as I have done with you, speak to them on my behalf."

JESUS said, "Satan has claimed you" (Luke 22:32). The devil had claimed all the apostles. I'm sure JESUS prayed for them all. I believe he prayed for all of them, considering their respective destinies. No responsible parent prays exclusively for their eldest child. Even more so, JESUS. Every good coach cares about the team as a whole. No less so, JESUS. However, we understand that the forwards on a soccer team don't have the same training as the goalkeepers. Snipers are almost always accompanied by spotters. But their training is different. They have things in common, but their needs are different. Their needs being different, it wouldn't be surprising if their prayers were different.

JESUS prayed that Peter's faith would not fail, because his mission was to strengthen others. Each of us is a Peter to one or more people. JESUS had already forgiven Peter, but Peter still had to go through the restoration phase. JESUS' prayer did not prevent the devil's claims. It preserved Peter's faith. Sometimes we pray that GOD will stop the enemy, when He wants us to stand firm. He wants to see us bear spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:10-14) and resist the devil (James 4:7).

Naaman, the Syrian army leader (2 Kings 5:9-15), believed GOD could heal him, but he had no faith in GOD. He had no personal relationship with GOD. He only received his healing. The prophet Elisha did not speak a word of blessing to him.

Abraham's wife Sarah was 90 years old when GOD told Abraham she would have a son (Genesis 17:17). GOD did more than cure her of infertility. He restored her womb; I'd even go so far as to say he gave her a new womb.

Job had lost his children and possessions in a single day (Job 1:13-20). Then he was sick (Job 2:7-8). But after Job prayed for friends, GOD restored him and gave him twice what he had lost (Job 42:10). GOD blessed the last part of his life much more than the first (Job 42:12-16). GOD did more than heal his soul of grief. He gave him more and better than he had. He restored Job's life.

When GOD restores, he gives more than what was lost. He gives the equivalent of what you should have been, what should have been received. GOD restores. Yes, GOD restores. For he is faithful. There are things GOD will save you from, and things he will keep you from, and things he will make you triumph over. Do not let go of the LORD's hand. He makes all things work together for your good (Romans 8:28). He will allow trials, but he will not lose you or forsake you. "The LORD is faithful, he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:2).

** Ambulu = Hello in Teke (Gabon, Congo)

** Onyanga no = Hello in Mbochi (Democratic Republic of Congo)


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