Josh Byers


Writing about books, culture, ministry, design and my family

Asking for Fake Forgiveness

I often stop and pause after reading posts on Facebook. Most of the time its to shake my head at the utter ridiculousness of it all. Very rarely do I ponder for long what was written. But this morning a particular short bit caught my attention and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all morning. Maybe its because my morning was a little rough.

Either I didn't set my alarm or I shut it off in a groggy stupor but we all woke up late. I assume its like this in most houses but anytime we wake up late its a recipe for a lot of grumpiness.

In the all excitement words were exchanged between father and daughter, some of which were not pleasant, and in the end the daughter asked for forgiveness and the father didn't want to grant it because he wasn't sure if it was genuine.

A couple things my wife and I have tried to be very conscious of is to first ask forgiveness ourselves from our kids when we sin (which is a lot...) and we stress in our house is that "we don't do sorry," meaning that when we wrong someone we don't say a quick "I'm sorry" but rather we ask the offended person for forgiveness about the specific sin that was committed.

This does a couple things. First it makes the offender think about what they did specifically and it helps them identify where they were wrong and what needs to change. Most of the time a heart attitude is identified, and yes sometimes it takes a little coaching from mom or dad to get there, but in the end we try and reach the deep level of where the problem is at.

The second thing it does is it brings the offended person in relationship again with the offender. Even if they are mad they must acknowledge the request for forgiveness and in that way a small bridge is built to begin repairing the relationship.

The biggest problem I have personally, is granting forgiveness to my kids when I suspect they are not genuine. Sometimes I take my involvement too far and try and replace the Holy Spirit by trying to make my kids feel the conviction and depth of their sin. While I think I need to help them understand what true repentance is, its not my place judge the nature of their repentance.

And this is where a timely reminder from friend and pastor Pat Nemmers hit me hard.

He asked the the question "should I forgive when I doubt that someone is sincere?"

The answer according the Bible is absolutely yes. Jesus instructed his disciples in Luke 17:4 to forgive even if someone returns with the same sin over and over and over.

The reason we forgive over and over is not because we want to or even feel like it. We forgive because we have been forgiven by Jesus for everything we've done.

Pat then wrote "the ultimate test in forgiveness is whether I can trust the God Who sees hearts to deal with the sincerity of the one seeking forgiveness."

I need to trust God to work on the hearts of myself and my kids. I need to model Jesus for them and forgive even if they don't deserve it or act like they're sorry.

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