Forgiveness Isn’t the Same as Stupid!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (NIV)

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you act like a doormat, allowing evil to run rampant in an abusive relationship. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you must keep taking the abuse, and it doesn’t mean you have to stay in the abusive situation.

Forgiving those who hurt us doesn’t we mean excuse their behavior. My sister says it bluntly: “Forgiveness isn’t the same as stupid!”

To echo the civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we need to understand the difference between non-violent resistance and non-resistance to evil. In any toxic relationship, we resist the evil of abuse without resorting to evil ourselves.

We submit, not to the abuse, but to God, who draws us into a Spirit-directed response, including the establishment of healthy boundaries behind which we’re less vulnerable to abuse.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean the relationship must remain the same. You may need distance and time to trust again. You may need to wait and see how faithful the one who hurt you is in rebuilding trust.

Those who hurt you are in bondage to their own sins, and although that doesn’t excuse their behavior, it does give you godly insight into the situation and reveals how you can pray for them.

Jon Walker is the author of Breakfast with Bonhoeffer, Costly Grace, and Growing with Purpose. He is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope devotionals. This devotional is copyrighted 2013 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and a contributing editor at Copyright © 2017 Jon Walker. Used by permission.