Owning, Forgiving, & Moving On (Making of a Family Culture, Pt. 4)

Our third-to-last question:

“How do we want to resolve our differences?”

This is what we've said in the past:

We will own, forgive, and move on quickly from faults.

And as we've reflected, it's actually a pretty good formula. Where there is no ownership, forgiveness is a teenage boy—decked in a tux and peachfuzz—the door slammed in front of him with roses left in his hands. Forgiveness is healthy, and it restores your own soul. But its power to restore relationships with others is limited apart from ownership.

Ownership and forgiveness work in necessary concert, all-important concert even. When we don’t cultivate an ethic of ownership and forgiveness, relationships careen out of our lives. We harbor painful words like greedy sailors. We pull our hearts off the table when we’re with one another, or we suddenly become hesitant to initiate time together at all.

It’s best to move on quickly. But you can’t move on quickly unless you’re paying attention to brokenness-in-waiting that couldn’t be brushed off if it actually happened. As James says, each person is tempted when they are enticed by their own evil desires; after desire has been conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it’s full-grown, gives birth to death. In other words, you have to watch what lurks under the surface. It’s in both good wisdom and my own power to forgive and move on quickly when you accidentally spend too much time on your application; it’s neither in good wisdom nor in your immediate power to do the same if I cheat on you.

So we own, forgive, and move on quickly from faults. But when it comes to deep sin, we refuse to bury it alive. We expose it to light, experience it, acknowledge that it was a long time coming, repent, forgive, and do the difficult work of healing.


photo: i'm a youth pastor so I told Dom that I'd buy him a gas station pickle if he'd eat it in under 5 minutes

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