What if you forgive someone who doesn’t seem to want to forgive you?
What if someone claims to be a repented Christian yet is unforgiving and refuses to change their thoughts?
I believe that forgiveness is a decision, yet it is something God expects it from us. Not only does he expect it, He is very firm about it. He even commands it! Even if the offender doesnt desire forgiveness, and / or has no desire to forgive and forget himself, God demands that we do! According to Matthew 18:22, we are expected to forgive seventy times seven, a number that symbolizes boundlessness. A friend of mine told me that the best way to handle forgiveness is to do it immediately. Don’t allow things to have any time to fester.
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enimies, bless those who curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you, and persecute you.
A Christian who refuses to forgive will find his fellowship with God hindered in more ways than one.
Matthew 6:15 But if you fail to forgive someone for their tresspasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive yours.
There are other consequences as well, such as bitterness and loss of reward.
Hebrews 12:14-15 in the Passion Translation sums it up nicely: 14 In every relationship, be swift to choose peace. (It doesnt say some, it says every) and run swiftly towards holiness, for those who are not holy, will not see the Lord. 15.Watch over one another to make certain that no one misses the revelation of God’s Grace. And make certain no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many
The Bible says that God does not remember our wickedness. (Hebrews 8:12)
Although we strive to be more and more like God, we fail miserably. (Fall short, Romans 3:23)
However, as humans we can’t selectivly delete specific things from our memories or forget hurtful things people do or say to us, but We Can make that truly important decision to forgive them without making excuses for not doing so.
And we do make excuses. Here’s a few that come to mind:
“Maybe I could forgive them if I understood why they did it”
“What is the point of forgiving them when their not even sorry”
“They could care less if I forgive them or not”
“They refuse to forgive me, so what good does it do for me to forgive them?”
God may not remember our wickedness, but he is still All Knowing!
He forgives our sins, and having been forgiven, we are justified (made right with God, or declaired righteous)
Heaven is ours as if we never sinned. If we belong to Him, through faith in Jesus Christ, God does not condem us for our sins. So in that sense, God “forgives and forgets”.
Romans 8:1 Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ
If by “forgive and forget we chose to forgive and forget for the sake of Jesus and move on with that individual, then we are making a wise and Godly decision. However, if we “forgive and forget” thinking that it means we can forget what happened to us (especially in cases of rape or a violation of trust by someone in your work or home; for reasons such as infidelity or theft) and behave as if it never happened we’re making a mistake. It did happen and although God asks that we forgive them, He most certainly doesn’t expect us to behave as if nothing happened. Don’t confuse forgiveness with trust. They are two very different things.
Proverbs 22:3 The prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and pay the penilty
Jesus told his followers that when they found themselves in the company of unrepentant sinners to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” Matthew 10:16
In other words, we must be be willing to forgive, yet cautious.
Being cautious doesnt mean we haven’t forgiven it simply means we are not God and we can’t see what is inside of another persons heart. We’re feeling our way through life and we all make mistakes. Mistakes made by people in our everyday lives should be forgiven for their sake as well as for the sake of our own hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
On a more personal note, Anytime I write a blog, I approach it as a ‘learning experience’ that I desire to share. I pray it never comes acrossed in anything close to “A know it all’ perspective”
In fact, often times this old heart of mine is learning as I write.