- Posted by Dale
- On July 4, 2014
- 0 Comments
As a communications professional, and having worked in the Christian marketplace for a number of years, I am regularly confronted with Christians speaking of “unforgiveness” when referring to their relationship with someone.
Call me a stickler, but this word really gets under my skin. For one thing, it’s not a word. Think about it. You can extend forgiveness to someone. You can be forgiving. You can forgive. You can choose to withhold forgiveness. But, you can’t have “unforgiveness” toward someone. It would be like having “unlove” toward someone.
This is yet another example of how we Christians put a shiny coat of spin on our relationships in order to not look un-Christian. What do we have in our heart toward someone when we speak of having “unforgiveness” toward someone? We call what we really feel toward someone (bitterness, hatred, rage, resentment, anger, fury, disappointment, and the list goes on) a polite-sounding Christian-speak word so that we don’t have to acknowledge our true feelings and the breach of relationship we are experiencing with another. Somehow, calling it “unforgiveness” lessens the depth of emotion or pain we are experiencing with another. Pastors are equally guilty of using this non-word in sermons.
When someone says to you, “I have some unforgiveness in my heart toward you”, how does that leave you feeling? Some sort of vague sense of having offended them, but nothing to really respond to or reconcile.
Jesus calls us to bold honesty with Him and then to be honest – in a grace-filled and loving manner – with others. The church would be a much healthier place – and more appealing to the world – if we learned to accurately name our sin, own our reactions, and determine to move toward reconciliation as much as is possible and wise.
Verse: Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16
Lord, show me today where I have chosen to withhold forgiveness and downplayed the depth of my feelings toward another. Give me strength and wisdom to have integrity in my relationships.