Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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There can be a lot of confusion regarding the subject of forgiveness. It can help to see it in context as the last step in the repair of a relationship that was broken by injury (either real or perceived). The degree of injury can run from the severe like child abuse or other criminal activity to something relatively minor like a verbal slight. Given the spectrum of injury and a range of reaction, it can be difficult to try to use a biblical “procedure” to achieve a remedy.

Relationships usually are best understood in the context of family. The bible describes those in the “family” of Israel and those in the “family” of the body of Christ. John tells the believing remnant of Israel that if they confess their sin, then God is faithful to forgive (1John 1:9). While this does not have direct application to the body of Christ (as Christians already have their sins forgiven), it does give a picture of a requirement for forgiveness. Both parties have to be on the same page. For example, David did not recognize how much he had harmed Uriah until Nathan confronted him (2Sam 12:10). That David then understood his sin can be seen in Psalm 51.

As the erosion of the family has accelerated over the last 100 years, we have come today to a state where relationships in general are pretty anemic. In addition, most people today are reluctant to admit that they have done anything “wrong” much less ask for forgiveness. When considering the fact that so many people today are also “triggered” by the slightest perceived offense, trying to apply biblical principles of forgiveness can be difficult.

Just as there are some who would punch you in the face and then want you to apologize for hurting their knuckles, there are some that will never recognize their fault. Some in the church try to force a “confession” through confrontation. This is perhaps drawn from Galatians 6:1. However, this echoes Proverbs 26:4-5 where seemingly conflicting advice is given (answer a fool according to his folly in contrast with do not answer a fool according to his folly). The distinction here is to gauge the situation in terms of if it might be possible to help someone or not. Few like David can be confronted to recognize the damage they have caused. In general it is better to wait for the one who caused the harm to recognize it and ask for forgiveness.

The bible tells Christians (1Cor 5:9-12) not to avoid the sinful in the world, rather those within the church. This is because Christians should not have close relationships with non-Christians (2Cor 6:14). When Christians encounter one who calls himself a “brother” but acts like someone who is not, he should be avoided. This implies less of a confrontational A person in life will generally suffer several “wrongs” and may never encounter someone who asks for forgiveness.

True “forgiveness” (the restoration of relationship) cannot be accomplished without the offending party desiring and asking for it. However, Much can be done on the part of injured party to reduce lingering effects. Burning and seething resentment and bitterness can be reduced by seeing the other party not as a malicious offender, but rather as someone who is ignorant and sadly unable to conduct themselves any better. This can help disconnect one from a desire for revenge as that only poisons ones life. Since Christ paid for all sin, he owns the right to execute judgment.

Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.



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