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It is Not OK

From childhood, we teach our children to say, “I’m sorry.”


Then respond with, “It’s ok.”


How can I forgive and forget when it is not ok

It seems innocent enough, but these few words that we teach our children have a great impact on the way we view life. We tell our children, “It’s ok,” to get them to “move on.” Sometimes “moving on” is a good thing. There is a better way than “It’s ok.”


So many adults I work with struggle with forgiveness because what has happened is clearly NOT ok. As human beings, we have an inner sense of what is just, and “I’m sorry” does not meet our need to hear the truth. More often than not, we need a statement of guilt and a clear choice of where the consequences should land, or a transfer of how those consequences should land to God. That is healthy forgiveness.


Forgiveness has a chance if and when there is a clear acknowledgement: “This is what I did, and it was not right.” It can start with “I’m sorry,” but it needs to be completed with “I violated you by...” 

One of the things that changed my life was learning to clearly state, “I was wrong...” with a clear statement of what I had done or said that was wrong, finishing out the statement. The forgiveness is completed when the other person says, “I forgive you.” In other words, “I let go.”


Second, it’s not ok. Every sin, if it truly is a sin, has consequences. In our world, things have gotten very gray. People are getting wounded by all kinds of things that may or may not be significant. There are things that are truly harmful. There are things that are only harmful because of the way they are perceived by the one who's taken offense. In this instance, an individual creates his own pain. He truly is harming himself more than being harmed by others. If this is ringing some bells, we dove into this topic of offense on HeartChangeU Live: "The Best Defense," and "No Offense, but..."


Recently, someone came to me saying, “I just don’t know if I can forgive the one who so deeply wounded me.” This woman had an inner sense of justice that would not let her “forgive.” She believed that forgiveness somehow meant that she was letting her violator go free. 

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It does not mean we can’t impose consequences. It does not mean that we can or should treat the person as if the offense never happened. Forgiveness does not have the power to eliminate consequences; instead, it transfers the right to judge to God. When we let go of our right to judge, it does not mean that God holds the other person guiltless. 


Consequences are real. They stand. We don’t have the power to eliminate them. We can change how the consequences play out, but we cannot eliminate them. It is much easier to forgive others when we accurately see God. He is God of justice and of mercy. He is not God just saying “It’s all ok now.”

Most of the time, “It’s not o.k.” But I choose to live in the healthiest possible way … which means I hand off the hurt to God. I hear from God. I respond in the best way to bring life and healing—whether that means standing firm, walking away, or absorbing the consequences.


Forgiveness also means that we transfer our offense and pain to God in such a way that we can hear His voice and respond as He directs us to do. We let go of the wounds and let God be God. We let Him direct our lives more than the wound directs our lives. We then act in accordance with His instructions.

True forgiveness means that our hearts are no longer controlled by pain. It does not remain fixated on the wound or the violator in such a way that it cannot go on with life. It is able to walk away from the violator. It is able to love the violator. We are free to live free.


How can I forgive and forget when it is not OK?

Heart Change U offers has a whole toolkit to encourage and support you in your walk toward Heart Change. Check it out:


HeartChangeU tools for Small Groups & Church Leaders

Heart Change U is an online training platform for Christian counselors, church elders, pastors, and those who seek to help influence others in healing and growing in His image. Developed through more than 15 years of helping addicts and alcoholics heal at a spiritual level from the wounds that cause their addictions, these proven tools and approaches are intended to equip you to walk with others through the Heart Change process in order to become the men and women of God He is calling them to be.


The Omega Project: Faith Based Residential Recovery Program

The Omega Project Christian addiction recovery program offers a community of discipleship homes where assistance is always available to help fight through the challenges of dysfunction so that men and women may find and be restored to their created purpose.

If you or someone you love is caught in the stronghold of addiction, there is hope in Christ! Reach out to The Omega Project.


Bring Heart Change to Your Church or Community

Church & Community Leadership Training

Ask us how to bring Heart Change to your congregation or community!


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