Forgiveness is a tough deal. The biggest problems in life will, no doubt, consist of jerky things people did to you. We’ve been told that we are to “Forgive and forget.” But forgetting obnoxiously, jerky things is tough.
Jesus told people to forgive 70 x 7 times. Seems to me the idea is not just forgive each time a person does something to you, but perhaps also forgive every time you remember what they did to you.
Jesus has other things to say about forgiveness. Here’s a fascinating verse:
“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him;
and if he repent, forgive him.”
Jesus puts conditions on our forgiveness. The first step in forgiveness is to rebuke. Rather than fume about the jerkiness, confront the jerk. Tell him what he did was wrong. Forgiveness will be pretty tough if you are truly bugged by someone and never talk to them about it.
But the rebuke is not “Hey dummy, that was mean, what are ya stupid or something?” The purpose of the rebuke is to lead to repentance and forgiveness. It’s not supposed to be a return of offense.
The next condition is that the person repents after being rebuked. “IF he repent, forgive him.” IF he says he’s sorry, even if he does the same thing to you seven times a day and repents, forgive him.
If a kid slaps you in the head, “Hey, that hurt, don’t do that.” “Oh, sorry.” Half hour later kid hits you in the head again, “Hey, that hurt, don’t do that.” “Oh, sorry.” Half hour later kid hits you in the head again. “Hey, that hurt, don’t do that.” It gets old! Seems to me if a guy repented truly he wouldn’t keep doing it!
So, if a person does not repent, do you have to forgive him? Can you forgive someone you didn’t rebuke?