We all commit mistakes. I mean, who doesn’t? In one way or another, we come across people who will hurt us. Some may be sorry. Some may be not. The question is must we forgive someone who isn’t sorry? When people offended us or sinned against us, must we forgive them? Do we always need to show mercy whether a person is sorry or not? As part of the 30-day blog challenge, I am going to share one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in 2020, and that is the answer to the question. In fact, the answer to the question is absolutely going to shock you as much as it shocked me.
Must we forgive someone who isn’t sorry?
Surprisingly, the answer is NO. I’ve learned that we don’t need to forgive those who don’t ask for forgiveness. What? Are you sure? But, we are always told that forgiving those who wronged us is the right thing to do! Yes. We don’t need to forgive them. However, we must love them just as what God commanded us: to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
You say that we must love them, but isn’t loving forgiving as well? Let’s try to look at the definition of forgiveness from the blog of John McKinley.
“Forgiveness is the wiping out of an offense from memory; it can be effected only by the one affronted. Once eradicated, the offense no longer conditions the relationship between the offender and the one affronted, and harmony is restored between the two.”John S. Kselman, “Forgiveness,” The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 831.
The bible is very clear in the passages from Colossians 3:13 and Ephesians 4:32 which tell us to forgive other people who did us wrong since we have been forgiven by God, Himself. However, it is often overlooked that the main objective of forgiveness is reconciliation. Looking at the definition of forgiveness above, harmony can only be restored if both parties reconcile. Thus, repentance of the wrongdoer is a necessary ingredient of forgiveness. Let that stick with our mind.
Jesus makes it clearer in Luke 17:3-4 that repentance is a necessary part of forgiveness.
3 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”Luke 17:3-4 New International Version (NIV)
What if he isn’t sorry?
For those who ask forgiveness from us, we must forgive them regardless of how many times they will sin again as long as they repent sincerely. However, to those who don’t ask forgiveness, there is a job for us to do because it’s not enough if we will just say “I am just going to love you”.
Remember what Jesus says, if we love them, we will do what is best for them. That is also the same thing with those who sinned against us. Our job is to go to that person and try to repair the relationship. How? By confronting them about the sin. With love, as emphasized by Jesus, we will say “I value our relationship that’s why I come to you. I’d like to talk to you about something which you may not even realized that offended me. I come here to see if we can reach an understanding.”
If reconciliation is not achieved…
True forgiveness is only achieved when there is reconciliation and we can’t forgive those who are not asking for it, and this is exemplified in Luke 17:3: If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
If they listen to you, you forgive. But, if they still won’t admit after the confrontation, what shall you do? Just continue to love them, and pray for them. Save yourself from anger consuming you, so you will have peace. Most importantly, give it to God, and let Him make right all the wrongs in your life.
This post is part of 30-day blog challenge below.
Let littlemisadvencha know in the comment section.
Cha of Little Misadvencha is a Filipino Civil Engineer, researcher and a fur mom. She came from General Santos City and finds that everything in life teaches her a lesson. She is inspired to write about and out of her experiences, but later found out that it was her experiences that actually inspire her.