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forgive someone who isn't sorry

30-Day Blog Challenge: Must We Forgive Someone Who Isn’t Sorry?

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

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.

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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.

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This post is part of 30-day blog challenge below.

30-day blog challenge

Let littlemisadvencha know in the comment section.

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Daniel S.
Daniel S.
April 14, 2020 10:14 pm

It is a difficult question. I believe we must fogive regardless of the other person, because we should be in peace we oursselves. It is not healthy to hjold a grudge ot to be always coming back to think about those who hurt you. By forgiving you just let go a move on with your life.

Alvern Success Unscrambled
April 14, 2020 10:03 pm

I have to disagree with you on this one we need to forgive others whether or not they are sorry or even if they did not ask for forgiveness. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to work on the heart of the other person. God forgives us freely every single day of our lives so we must also forgive others freely. Forgiveness is a gift, it is not earned. We must not judge.

Pati Robins
April 14, 2020 6:50 pm

i think its a tricky one , and all depends on the strenght of the person that is in a position to forgive , i can say now that i would , but maybe if the time came – would i be able to? i cant say for sure

Wendy Wallace
April 14, 2020 6:50 pm

Why does Jesus, ask God to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross? Did they repent? No! Forgiveness is a choice. It’s a choice that comes from a heart of love. It’s the agape love of Christ. We do it the way Jesus does it.
Sure, if they repent, forgive them. But it never makes sense to me to only forgive if they ask. That doesn’t follow the turn the other cheek and pray for your enemies theme. Sorry, I disagree.

April 14, 2020 5:51 pm

I try and forgive regardless of whether the other person is sorry or not. It’s easier when it’s not family. At the moment I’m struggling to forgive my mother.

Shruti Bhattacharya
Shruti Bhattacharya
April 14, 2020 3:24 pm

Forgiveness works only if the person you forgive know and realize that they did a mistake. If they feel they were right, they will continue doing the same mistake over and over again because in their mind those actions are justified. Talking from my personal experience, its better not to forgive such people. Safeguard yourself first.

Kenny T.K. Chow
Kenny T.K. Chow
April 14, 2020 2:43 pm

Excellent work for keeping up the challenge during the lock down and that’s wonderful you share with us your personal stories. I would say I am a forgiving person as it’s exhausting holding a grudge – and I hope this positive energy will infect the others as well – Knycx Journeying

Kimberly Caines
Kimberly Caines
April 14, 2020 2:35 pm

I always believed in forgiving someone who hurts us so much. It can relive pain and anger. If we don’t forgive it kills us. Let us not let our pride and selfishness consume us.

April 14, 2020 1:44 pm

Forgiving someone who is not sorry is something that I have a hard time with. Its so difficult and I know its the right thing to do. And I am working on it.

April 14, 2020 1:10 pm

I finally started my Day 1 of 30-Day Blogging challenge and I am very excited. Anyhow, I always forgive but never forget. I can be civil but it doesn’t mean that he/she have my trust.

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