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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Will you Forgive me?

People are not mind readers and sometimes someone might unintentionally hurt or offend you. and then there are some that will hurt you on purpose. Do not hold sins against people if they aren't aware that you are hurting. You must communicate your hurt to them and give them the opportunity to repent, so that you can forgive them.
Forgiving someone is not always easy. I saw a Facebook post that said, "I'm big enough to forgive you, but not stupid enough to trust you." And that does just about sum up our idea of forgiving someone. 
We want to be big enough to forgive, after all The Lord has forgiven us so much. But forgiving someone means that they must have done something to hurt you in some way. And no one likes to be hurt. So if we forgive but don't trust them then we won't run the risk of being hurt again.
Scripture tells us that we must forgive and if that person repeats the offense we are to forgive them again, over and over again even if it's several times a day!
What?!? Where does it say that? Wouldn't that make me a fool?
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." (Luke 17:3, 4 NASB) 
I particularly like this version.
So be careful what you do. Correct any followers of mine who sin, and forgive the ones who say they are sorry. Even if one of them mistreats you seven times in one day and says, “I am sorry,” you should still forgive that person. (Luke 17:3, 4 CEV)
See that? Every time he comes to you repentant, you need to forgive him. Now keep in mind, we are talking about fellow Christians here. You can not expect non Christians to act like Christian people.
 The  scripture is very clear that he should  come to you repentant. So what if someone hurts you and they never come to for forgiveness, are you to forgive them then? Is repentance required for forgiveness?
God requires repentance before He forgives.  Luke 13:3, acts 2:38, acts 17:30 
Asking for forgiveness from God or man involves several things. First, there must be an acknowledgement of the sin. Second there must be a willingness to say, "I am sorry." Third, there needs to be a spoken request asking for forgiveness. And last, there needs to be a determination to henceforth live right.
True repentance by someone must include: regret, reformation, resolution, and restoration.
Repentance is not: sorrow alone, just stopping the behavior, or just beginning from this point on (forgetting the appropriate steps.)
Remember there is a difference between loving someone and forgiving them. God loves sinners, he just hasn't forgiven them. Without repentance there can be no relationship with God.
We, too, can still love and care for someone without forgiving them. But, without repentance and forgiveness there can be no relationship.
And nowhere does it say that forgiving someone will be easy, After all you were hurt. But if the person does come to repentant then you must offer them forgiveness. 
Imagine how hard it would have been for the first century Christians to forgive and accept and work alongside Paul! Who could hurt more people then he did? But he repented and was forgiven and spent the rest of his life speaking of his change and the One who made the change available to him. Paul was so grateful for his opportunity to change and counted all his hardships as reasons to glorify The Lord. It was evident to everyone that Paul was sorry for his past and that he had changed and was now bearing fruits of his repentance just like Jesus talked about in Matt 3:8 Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; (Matthew 3:8 NASB)
And then Paul went about preaching the same message. Acts 26:20 "So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. (Acts 26:19, 20 NASB)
So, if someone hurts me and comes to me for forgiveness, I will forgive. If then they go about proving themselves by their "deeds appropriate to repentance" I'm sure I will trust them again.
Some of us will be hurt by someone who never ever comes to us repentant. What then is our reaction to those people? We must, like Jesus still love them and feel compassion for them and desire for them to seek The Lord. But I don't think we are required to have any relationship with them other than to treat them like any person that you would try to lead to Christ. We cannot change people, only Christ can do that.
Remember though, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God loves us so much that He even loved us while we were yet sinners.
How much do you love people?

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