This is the second part of an article that focuses on the reality of forgiveness in a person’s survival mindset. It is not approached from a psychological perspective but recognizes that having a clear and sharp mind is critical not only for making good survival decisions but for making good decisions in general. In part one, we covered how forgiveness is essential to survival, vengeance v. mercy, and the sexual assault epidemic, including the harm of the “me too” trend. Let’s continue on.
Some of the worst acts of betrayal happen to those in positions of vulnerability who feel helpless under the influence and power of evil men. We must be willing to listen carefully to the hurts of others and not be afraid to speak truth to both the victim and the offender. I am aware of a particular woman who was sexually assaulted by two medical professionals, one was a female and one was a male. The “licensed professionals” abused their power, using intimidation to hurt their patient. What happened to “first do no harm” in medicine?4 I cite this example simply to highlight the importance of confronting such abuse and bringing it out into the light. It takes courage to expose evil, but it is vital that people of conscience lead this fight and stand up to injustice.
Stopping Crimes By Speaking Truth
It is amazing that one person can put a stop to the most unspeakable crimes by simply speaking truth. Those who use their position and power to intimidate and abuse others must be confronted and held accountable. Over time, perpetrators are apt to develop expertise in identifying, intimidating, and silencing their victims. They gain in arrogant confidence with each spirit crushed by fear. In fact, fear is their ultimate weapon. There is a real dread of retribution for outing a perpetrator; ask any whistle-blower. This experience can crush a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The most important thing to remember when confronting evil is to not allow fear to reign. It also helps to seek comfort from those who are intimately familiar with man’s brokenness and God’s sovereign grace and mercy, those firm and wise in their knowledge of truth.
Objective Standard for Justice
Only an objective standard of right and wrong, good and evil, can set a person’s life upon an immovable foundation for right thinking. Morality and ethical reasoning are lost without such a standard. Without this foundation, it is easy to blame others and seek revenge. The satisfaction of such revenge is fleeting, and one who pursues justice without objective truth will only increase their own discontentment and add to the injustice.
Forgiveness for Any Act of Betrayal
Once injustice is exposed, it is time to forgive and truly move on. Forgiveness is essential to a life free of bitterness and lingering emotional pain. The most incredible acts of forgiveness are those that the world insists are not possible. There is no unforgivable act. Forgiveness is possible for any act of betrayal in this world. It just may be that a supernatural influence is necessary in helping the victim to forgive or the offender to receive forgiveness. A close look at the story of Jacob and Esau shows how God’s mercy and grace are vital to forgiveness and true healing. It may not be humanely possible to forgive ultimate acts of evil, but resting in the sovereign grace of our Creator makes forgiveness possible for any act of betrayal.
Key Components of Forgiveness
The most important way to forgive is to do so with the right intention, under the ultimate standard of righteousness. Following is a short summary of the key components of forgiveness:
- Intentional: Start with a prayer of intention. Ask God to help you to forgive or to help you receive forgiveness. Ask Him to act upon your will and give you the strength to do what the world considers foolish.
- Public: Forgiveness must be public. If this is not possible (for instance the person you seek to forgive has passed away) you can share your offer of forgiveness with a trusted confidant. Keep in mind that a “worthy hearer of confessions” is one who understands that they are also a sinner in need of a merciful God.5 One could also write a letter (a personal letter of record) as a way of expressing forgiveness.
- Non-Punitive: It’s a free offer with no strings attached, meaning you do not seek a reward or favorable outcome as your motive for offering forgiveness. Forgiveness cannot be taken back if it is not received as expected. This is one reason why psychology fails to address the deepest yearnings of man to give and receive unconditional love.
- Relational: Forgiveness is sought out of a desire for peace with yourself, others, and God. For some, the first step is realizing that they themselves need forgiveness because the bitterness has essentially been held against one’s own self. Thus, some may need to make peace internally first. This step can be difficult yet produces a lasting healing. Breaking from the chains of guilt and self-accusation brings freedom and moves a person to petition for forgiveness of “all unrighteousness.”6 This component is what ultimately heals our broken relationships.
Forgiveness and True Healing
God is the author of forgiveness. Therefore, we must seek forgiveness from Him first. If you are yearning for forgiveness or you sense a call to forgive your brother, take courage. Forgiveness is possible and real. Forgiveness leads to healing and is life giving. Conversely, bitterness and vengeance lead to isolation and death. Thus, seek forgiveness from the One who holds the ultimate authority. He heals the broken and holds the power to ask one of the most commanding questions of all time:
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home’ (Mark 2:9-11, NASB).
Why is the issue of clarity of mind not merely one of psychology? Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers this question far better than I could:
The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of men. And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness…The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth.7
Recognition of Both Inner and Outer Realities
Survival necessitates recognition of both our inner and outer realities. How can we make good decisions if our inner life is in shambles? It is less painful and easier to deal with the outer realities, but the realities that must be prioritized are the ones that plague the mind and conscience. Though harder to face the ugliness of our inner life, it is worth it in the end. I encourage those who struggle with forgiveness to seek the clarity of mind that fosters a true peace of mind. This right way is found in yielding to the mercy of God, and, yes, it directly affects our survival.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.