Repentance and Forgiveness

Repentance and Forgiveness: “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Matt 18:15 A break in a relationship generally goes as follows: First, there is a relationship, next offense, a break in the relationship, hopefully repentance by the one who offended, forgiveness by the offended part, and in the end restoration. Jesus makes the point in this passage that if a brother sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, “I repent,” forgive him. He speaks against the teaching of going to someone who has offended you and telling them that you forgive them when they have not asked for forgiveness. It is clear, “returns to you seven times, saying, I repent, forgive him.” It cheapens forgiveness to give it when people are not asking for it. It actually cheapens relationships. Now, what are we to do when someone has offended us and yet refuses to ask? First, make sure that God has worked a basic principal in you. That is, you have accepted the truth that we are to be offended until we cannot be offended. If others can offend you, then others control you. Do any of us have a legitimate right to be offended and, to even be offering forgiveness, when there is no repentance? Second, bless those who curse you. By blessing those who curse you, you will be able to keep the offender from living rent free in your head. And finally, when someone does repent, we must forgive.

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