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(19 Posts)
Tillybelle Fri 19-Apr-19 12:15:37

I am a Christian but I think this subject may be of concern to all people. Today I was made to feel guilty about forgiving others, as we say in the Lord's Prayer "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." I was reading a Christian message that quoted St Matthew saying if we do not forgive others then God does not forgive us.
I have been encouraged by two Major Authorities, one being the Police, to act on a Historic case against me. I reported what he did to his employers because of something recently that came to my attention. They sent my report to the Police, with my permission. I can say no more on it. I know the Police want to pursue it. But does this mean I should not be pursuing this earthly path of the courts in bringing a person to justice or should I leave it to God? Please do not ask about the case as it is now sub judice. I want to understand forgiveness and would really like your wisdom here. Thank you.

NanaandGrampy Fri 19-Apr-19 12:18:11

Complicated subject Tillybelle , I think I believe you can forgive someone but still pursue justice. I don't think they are one and the same thing.

You sometimes see people who have lost a loved one to a heinous crime 'forgiving' the perpetrators but that didn't stop them wanting punishment for the crime.

I'm sure there will be many more answers to follow to help you decide what you believe.

Good Luck.

Oldwoman70 Fri 19-Apr-19 12:20:20

I think you are confusing forgiveness with justice. Yes you can forgive but if what was done was illegal then shouldn't that person receive justice? I read recently about a woman who had forgiven the man who killed her father - that didn't mean he should not be punished

agnurse Fri 19-Apr-19 12:41:10

Forgiveness doesn't mean excusing. There is nothing wrong with pursuing justice following a crime.

Forgiveness is something you do for you.

Tillybelle Fri 19-Apr-19 12:53:55

NanaandGrampy Oldwoman70 agnurse
Thank you all three above! Such immediate replies and so well explained. You have truly helped me. Thank you very much.

Tillybelle Fri 19-Apr-19 12:54:51

P.S. I am copying your replies and putting them on my notice board.

ReadyMeals Fri 19-Apr-19 12:55:50

Ok not long ago I did research on this as I was having problems forgetting a long list of wrongs someone had done me, yet I didn't want to fall foul of receiving forgiveness from the greater powers myself. My research, which included articles from theological scholars, came to the conclusion that the biblical meaning of forgiveness is simply not seeking to extract compensation or punishment. It's totally ok to go on mistrusting and resenting the person for what they did as long as you don't take it out on them. The conclusion was that the concept of "letting go of your anger and moving on" is a far more modern psycho-counselling type of thing that is mental-health based. Ie for our own benefit rather than something to please or displease God.

Nonnie Fri 19-Apr-19 12:59:07

I agree with the others. I have forgiven someone who has done something really terrible to me. I haven't told them because that would make things worse but my conscience is clear and I hold no grudge.

The bible tells us to love the sinner but not the sin which helps me to forgive. Being a Christian can be very complicated!

FlexibleFriend Fri 19-Apr-19 13:11:34

Surely forgiveness is entirely up to the individual and as someone else said forgiveness and forgetting are not the same thing.

HildaW Fri 19-Apr-19 13:12:30

I too believe you can forgive someone without actually excusing or ignoring the behaviour. In my eyes its more about accepting they were flawed and getting past what was done but not pretending nothing has happened. Its allowed me to mentally walk away and look forward not backwards. Carrying a grudge is such a destructive thing anyway so on an almost selfish level, letting it go is actually better in the long run.
Actually telling some people you have forgiven them for something might not be the best solution. An abuser or manipulator will turn it back on you to continue a level of mental abuse because they will see it as a weakness. So yes, forgive them within yourself and live your life the best you can.
Something criminal is perhaps a different matter. As a society we do have a sense that justice should be served or perhaps more importantly, there should be no more victims. I do not have experience of this but I feel that in the case of a serious criminal matter official steps should be taken.

rosecarmel Fri 19-Apr-19 13:12:41

Consider your decision to forgive a separate issue from the act potentially punishable by law - You are free to forgive the individual - What the individual did that brought about the case against them will be decided by the court -

Tillybelle Fri 19-Apr-19 15:46:16

Nonnie Thank you. I am so sorry to hear that you too had something terrible done to you. This situation has been so difficult for me. I still really hate him, he has done wicked things to others too. I am scared of him which is at the basis of my hatred. I am having trouble forgiving the sinner right now because he did this with such planned malice affore-thought, and he lies, and lies and lies. It is really hard.

Wheniwasyourage Fri 19-Apr-19 15:50:33

Good advice here, IMO. There is also the point that even if you can find it in you to forgive him, bringing him to justice will stop him doing the same thing to others.

I hope you find peace with whatever decision you eventually make. flowers

Tillybelle Fri 19-Apr-19 16:02:27

Thank you. I find what you said so helpful. I used to say that forgiveness was "letting go" but this situation at the moment is overwhelming and I have become confused about what I am supposed to be letting go of. I think you have clarified it a lot in the word "grudge" which may sound small compared to the wicked deed which I am having to process again. However, it does help to separate it from my need to 1)seek justice, to 2)try to remedy the situation because he is a dangerous person, (I was stopped before from revealing this,) and 3) bringing him to see that even if he feels entitled to do this to people, Society does not let him get away with it, because it is wrong. These were my 3 reasons for acting. This time, as soon as the body for whom he works received my description of what he did they wanted these things too and of course the Police said exactly the same. In the past I was in danger if I tried to reveal his terrible offence against me and when I tried again later I was not heard properly. I don't care what happens to him so long as he can't hurt anyone else. I have had to try and live with what he did to me and its consequences for many years. I never want to see him again, unless I have to see him in Court. I think I honestly can leave him for God to deal with, so long as while he is on this earth he cannot hurt others.

HildaW Fri 19-Apr-19 18:53:23

Tillybelle, I hope you continue to have the strength to carry on and I hope you are being supported whilst you endure this ghastly situation. All the best and thank you.

silverlining48 Fri 19-Apr-19 19:03:36

Tilly well well done, you are being so brave, something I never was, because I was too frightened. I regret this now. He got away with it. I still live with it. Forgiveness? No I cannot.
You have done the right thing. Bon courage.

Namsnanny Sun 21-Apr-19 13:34:11

Tilly...I’m sorry you have found yourself in this position, and I’m grateful on your behalf to all the posters who seem to be filled with support and such good advice.
I hope you enjoy peace of mind this Easter.
Good luck[shamrockshamrockflowers

Specs Mon 22-Apr-19 01:58:52

I sympathise with your dilemma.
IMHO .....//
If we wrong someone or something then there are consequences. That is called justice and, in extreme cases of wrong, courts of law are there to administer justice or the consequences.
Forgiveness (to me) is spiritual. The two can be linked or related but are definitely separate.
Thus if it is within you to do so you can forgive .
The person who has committed a crime (sinned) has to suffer the consequences.
If you murder, sexually abuse etc the law is there to deal with you. There are consequences for your actions.
It is called justice.

Forestflame Tue 23-Apr-19 16:41:17

Tillybelle. Like you I am a Christian and I understand your dilemma. However as other people have pointed out, getting justice is not the same thing as getting revenge or not forgiving him. It is important to stop him from hurting other people, and the judicial process is the best way of doing this. I appreciate how very difficult it can be to forgive someone, as Nonnie has said sometimes being a Christian can be complicated. Forgiveness is not the same as 'letting him off'. It is something that will help you, after the harm that was done to you.