When do you forgive someone’s grievous sin against you?

Happy Friday GCT:
Great news… as believers we are fully forgiven. Those of us who are children of God, regardless of background, regardless of current struggles, are fully forgiven. All of our sin, past, present, and future, has been absorbed on the cross of Jesus Christ.
 
So, how do we practice that same forgiveness with other people around us? You know those difficult times when you find yourself having been sinned against by your friends or husband or wife or the next-door neighbor? The relationship that you once enjoyed and loved that was filled with mutual care and acceptance is now broken, fractured, frustrated and filled with resentment. This brokenness is a result of something they said or did not say or did or did not do. There may have been a difference of opinion or purpose that created a frustration that then created this conflict. It is during this challenging moment that a root of bitterness can easily take root and create great division and even death of a relationship. Oh my! This is never a pleasant place to be. So, what are we called to do in a relationship as a follower of Christ when we were the ones sinned against? How and when do we practice Gospel forgiveness when others are slow to repent or don’t repent at all?

It is so very important for us to remember that our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ is dependent upon our repentance from sin. Gospel forgiveness in Christ is applied to a repentant heart. The same goes with relationships around us. Reconciliation in a fractured relationship is dependent upon repentance and then forgiveness to be lived out in the relationship.

So, one important question to ask yourself when you have been sinned against is, “can this sin be overlooked?” Because we are told and know first hand, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). If the answer to that question is “no, this sin that has been or is being lived out against me in this relationship is much too grievous to overlook and is doing harm to God’s name.” Then what are you left to do? What is next?

Jesus tells us in Luke 17:3-4, “if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” Why does Jesus tell us to forgive a brother after they repent? Because that is the order in which He forgives us. It is important to understand that yes, He always lives to make intercession for us with a desire to forgive sins. While we were still sinners Jesus had a loving and merciful position towards us. He hated our sin but He stood ready to forgive us in our repentance. He was in a position of readied forgiveness. But it is not until we repented of our sins that He actually forgave us of those sins. It is when we stood fully responsible for our sinful actions and let down our defensive attitude, ready to make restitution and accept accountability that we stood forgiven by Jesus Christ the Savior.

So, what are we to do? Forgive one another as Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). If the person that you are in conflict with does not repent of their sins then how can there be forgiveness and reconciliation in your relationship? We are called to stand in a position of forgiveness like Christ does with us. We are called to be ready to give forgiveness, praying for this person, not seeking vengeance, and protecting ourselves from a root of bitterness. That position of forgiveness then is only joyfully transacted, given, executed and completely enjoyed in your relationship when that person repents before God and us. Gospel forgiveness cannot happen until repentance starts and the action stops. Standing positionally in an attitude of forgiveness waiting for repentance so that forgiveness can be enjoyed will make you absolutely dependent upon the Lord to convict this person of sin through the work of the Holy Spirit.
 
What sin are you being called to overlook? What sin can you not overlook? Who do you need to give to the Lord for a work of conviction, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation?
 
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday enjoying the grace of Gospel forgiveness.
Prayerfully, Steve
 
Luke 17:3-4 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

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