Let Grief Do Its Good…Then Let It Go

posted in: Forgiveness 2

(Excerpt from The Pastor Is In)

A spirit in need of forgiveness is a fragile thing. Your words and deeds can either lighten the load of guilt that someone is carrying, or pile onto the already difficult burden that person has to bear.

Why do we feel the need to make sure people know where they went wrong, even after they’ve admitted it? What is it within our human nature that compels us to say, “I told you so!” or to take it upon ourselves to see that others suffer sufficiently for their mistakes?

We should be helping each other carry our burdens, not making them heavier.

Most people know when they’ve messed up. When their faults and failings lie exposed to the world, what’s needed in those critical moments is the grace to comfort them and the love to cover their mistakes.

Let me caution you not to confuse love with the liberalism of tolerance. If a person’s behavior needs to be corrected, love demands that you speak the truth and do all that you can to turn them back to the right path. Those whom we fail to rebuke when they’re wrong we really don’t love at all (Hebrews 12:6). However, once people admit their mistakes, love substitutes the slap on the wrist for a pat on the back.

Shame and regret can be destructive forces. Guilt can consume a person. That’s why we must be careful not to compound its negative effects once it has worked its positive purpose of provoking a change.

Do you feel the need to reinforce the guilty feelings of others when they fall short?

Do you find it hard to resist the urge to elaborate on other people’s errors?

Do you feel compelled to make sure your family members and friends know every wrong turn they took?

If we take an honest look at what we say and do, we’ll probably all discover our guilt in this regard to some degree. Work to purge your spirit of the impulse to put your foot on the necks of those who have fallen down. Consider the damage you’re doing when you assume the role of “punisher.” Not only are you adding to the emotional weight they have to endure, but you’re probably eroding your relationships with them in the process. You may be planting the seeds of bitterness that will eventually bear the fruit of anger and alienation.

Once grief has done its good, help the people you love to let it go. You may need their help before too long!

2 Responses

  1. Angela
    | Reply

    Love is NOT Judging so be careful! And leave that up to God, because we all fall short.. encouragement is welcomed 💕

  2. Sandra Holthofer
    | Reply

    This was a lesson, that tool me years to figure out. Love the sinner, without giving them a free pass to continue it.

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