Does this mean you trust them?
I struggle with this question -- not least because I've told several people in our church that:
- God loves you, God forgives you, God accepts you just the way you are . . .
- But you are not working with children. Ever. End of discussion. Period.
In return, I'm usually told that:
- God loves them, God forgives them, God accepts them just the way they are . . .
- And if God is willing to let bygones be bygones, then why can't I do the same (and let them work with children)?
And they'd have a point . . . if forgiveness was nothing more than the pretense nothing happened.
But sometimes, somebody does something you can't ignore -- and when that happens, you have a choice:
- You can say, "That's it! It's over! You're out of here!"
- Or you can say, "We need to deal with this -- but I'm willing to work with you, if you're willing to work with me."
Fortunately, God is always willing to work with us, always willing to mend what's been broken, always willing to rebuild the trust that's been lost.
But that process begins with a decision: not a decision to forget the past, but to deal with it -- and yes, we can call that decision, "forgiveness."
In short, I forgive people because I don't trust them -- not yet.
But in time, I hope I will.