One of the finest lines you may ever walk, as a Christian or as a woman, may be the one between forgiveness and setting boundaries—both good practices, both highly esteemed and regarded, and both very difficult to obtain.
Every woman in my women’s group is at least two decades older than I am, providing stories and journeys beyond my imagination. And every woman in this group could relate to the story about said fine line. This story dealt with her daughter, her ex son-in-law, and the horrible life he had put her in. The tales of abuse and beatings ripped at the seams and stitches of every heart, enough to push all of us towards the boundaries and away from the forgiveness.
The problem is, when you erase forgiveness from your recipe, you're typically the one dealing with it. The guy on the other end, the wrong-doer, usually doesn't have a clue that you're harboring such intense feelings for them. In fact, they probably don't even think much about you. But every time you drum up the memories, peel away the band-aid, and expose the scars, there you are in a hot mess of anger, sadness, tears, and a vain-popping forehead to boot. So, whether you forgive the person or not, really doesn't matter too much to them unless they've sought your forgiveness or acknowledged what they've done.
Plus, it’s THE message we get from Jesus; to forgive, forgive, forgive. He came here to forgive us, to allow us into His holy place, to accept us just as we are. I'm sure He didn't do that to clear His own conscience, but instead because He is love, and love forgives.
But I also think that Jesus came for more. (There are 27 books about the guy.) And even though forgiveness and eternity and love are the main messages in those pages, I think He gave us a message for much, much more. Jesus drew the line at slander, stoning, condemning, judgment, fear, and hostility. Though he never did this without forgiveness, He did this with the intention that abuse has no place near holiness. Jesus made even the demons cower and cry His name, because they knew the boundaries that sin and evil had, and they were definite.
There's absolutely room in all our lives, for every person to get acquainted with and practice forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there wouldn't be hope for any of us. Without it, none of us could stand in the lives, or in our own flesh, for very long without being overcome by it. We have to have forgiveness in our lives. But we also exist, and walk in freedom, because Jesus wasn't going to let us be victim to evil. Jesus wasn't about to be told that he was a law-breaker, an evil man, or even crazy, instead He stood up in righteousness. he stood up to show us that we, as children of God, are meant for so much more, more than anger, fear, and harm.
Not all acts of un-kindness are evil, but if we're going to be "set apart", holy, a child of God, we'd better be willing to act like it. We'd better be able to say when enough is enough. We have to be able to tell darkness that there will be no more.
The point is, there is a fine line between forgiving someone but also letting them know that you were meant for more. The point is, Jesus was never willing to be a doormat to someone else's anger or fear. Are you?