By Matt Dawson
I’ve not written or spoken about the Ashley Madison fiasco for the past 2 weeks for good reason.
I hate when tragic news is over-publicized with an agenda.
I knew this week was coming up, and that it was a good time to discuss it.
Yesterday, we talked about the FOUNDATION of our Christian faith: Forgiveness. Not just run-of-the-mill forgiveness that we can muster up, I’m talking about LAVISH, EXTRAVAGANT, FULL OF MERCY AND GRACE FORGIVENESS!
The Ashley Madison hack simply put a spotlight on a cultural norm in our area. Folks that have studied the social and spiritual needs of our Lake Norman community have come to realize that Adultery is one of the top issues we face.
This seems to be mostly driven by casual, inappropriate relationships in our financially affluent, recreationally driven lake culture. This has become more and more a cultural norm, and it only leads to broken homes, broken souls, and a hopeless life!
So what happens when people wreck their lives and betray their loved ones with adultery? Is it possible to experience forgiveness/reconciliation (a restoring of a relationship) after this kind of betrayal?
The answer is Yes.
However, don’t underestimate the COST and the CONSEQUENCES that exist when working through reconciliation. My experience in counseling couples and watching friends try to work through this process has shed much light on the struggle to understand and extend forgiveness when trying to restore a broken relationship.
Most folks struggle with a BROKEN CYCLE of forgiveness that feels like years of a merry-go-round strapped to the top of a roller coaster that never ends.
Here is a typical example of this broken cycle:
She repents daily and asks forgiveness.
He grants forgiveness and they work towards reconciliation.
She doesn’t understand the lavish forgiveness of God.
She fails to be able to extend forgiveness to herself.
He fails to understand this struggle and takes it as a personal offense that forgiveness has not been received.
Rinse & Repeat.
This broken cycle of forgiveness represents the SINKING SAND we are building our faith on. The truth is, until we fully understand and can ACCEPT the lavish forgiveness of God WHILE STILL working through the hard consequences of our decisions, then we will always struggle to be able to reconcile (grant forgiveness) with ourselves and to others.
The ROCK of our faith is the lavish forgiveness that comes from Jesus alone. He’s in the business of reconciliation. And even though often we have to still live through the wake of consequences from our sin – we do not have to remain there. THE CYCLE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A BROKEN ONE.
Here’s another example of what I’ve seen in couples who’s Faith is built on THE ROCK:
He repents and asks forgiveness.
She grants forgiveness and they work towards reconciliation.
He fully embraces the lavish forgiveness from Jesus and places all his hope on THE ROCK.
He is able to fully forgive himself with the help of the Holy Spirit.
She struggles to extend forgiveness daily, but understands that the forgiveness needed comes from Jesus – not herself.
The couple spends years working through reconciliation and finds a happier, closer, more intimate relationship with God and with each other.
I’m not here to paint the picture that this kind of forgiveness is EASY. I am telling you that the ROCK is our foundation of forgiveness and it WILL NOT FAIL YOU if you are building your faith on it alone.
Don’t settle for the Sinking Sand of a broken forgiveness cycle. Build your house on the ROCK of the one who reconciles all things!