“…and if he repents, forgive him.”– Luke 17:3
You can define forgiveness as the release of resentment or anger. It is done intentionally and voluntarily. When others have hurt us, the act that caused that offense may always remain. Nevertheless, forgiveness can lessen its grip, and all “bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking” will not stay to rule our hearts.
At first glance of our Lord’s words here, however, it may appear as if Jesus gives Christians a reason not to forgive or to be less forgiving. For it says, “if he repents, forgive him.” This would seem in-line with God’s Word; if there is no repentance, there is no forgiveness of sins and no salvation (Luke 13:3). And yet, if we do not forgive our Christian family, we are “guilty before the court” (Matthew 5:22). God is true to His stated promises, and they will all be fulfilled. Yet, eternal redemption through the forgiveness of sins is the Lord’s work, not ours. He is The Judge; we make every effort to point others to Him.
We are to conduct church discipline when appropriate (Matthew 18:15-17), but among our given selections, may we consider choosing patience first. Christians have been given the ability to employ “long-suffering and bearing with one another.” May we consider this approach initially to avoid hastily running to acceptable alternatives. Our goal is for restoration and unity; to Christ first, and then to each other. Which application of Scripture will quicken you to that end? Employ that today and be resolved. As we have been forgiven, we must forgive. It has been commanded, and it is expected.
“We can say that Jesus gives us two options when your brother sins against you. You can go to him directly and deal with it; or you can drop the matter under Christian longsuffering and bearing with one another. Other options – holding onto bitterness, retaliation, gossiping to others about the problem – are not allowed.”– Guzik