I love the message on forgiveness because it brings so much freedom. I’m aware of the release that it produced in my own life and I can see the freedom in others too.

However, I noticed recently a disparity between our confession and our actions. We confess, we release, we forgive, we move on. The counsel often given in our moving on is words to the effect of ‘now you have released these people you don’t have to be friends with them, you don’t have to give them space in your life again’ – there are examples where this can be wise, particularly (without going into details) where the legal system is involved. 

But…it would seem that this kind of counsel is taken on in more ways than we think. We forgive the person, we release them. But we say in our hearts, you are not coming near me again, I will protect myself, I will make my life such that you are not involved, I will keep you at arms length.

This troubles me. It troubles me because this doesn’t seem to be what Jesus said, and it troubles me because I think I have done it. It troubles me because I will have to risk my heart being hurt again.

Though we have come a long way with the message of forgiveness and pushed people to be more radical in their releasing I feel that we have not completed the journey. We shouldn’t discard the wise counsel, but we need to re-examine this whole area.

A friend of mine was removed from leadership in an undignified manner, it took him a while to forgive and release the others involved, but after a time he did and moved on. He then received a prophetic word that he should let this one particular leader, one who was part of the whole affair, into his party. What does that mean? He knew straight away and it was difficult. It meant, that his forgiveness was not just to let go but to allow him into his circle again, to allow him in again as he had once before – to not keep him at arms length.

This to me seems to be more about the message of forgiveness, that we release, we let go, but we also allow them into the ‘circle of trust’ – coined for me from ‘meet the parents’, but the phrase captures it well.

This is my challenge – to not keep out from my ‘circle of trust’ those whom I have let go, released and blessed. To not keep them at arms length but allowing them into my party.

For this I need grace, his empowering presence.