Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Forgive Offenses

Unless one of us has reached perfection (she laughed), we have been offended in some manner -- by a comment, action, choice, behavior or a myriad of other methods. Holding on to the offense does not contribute to happiness. It also separates us from the offender and from our Lord.

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25 KJV)
In most cases, the incident was not specifically aimed, but was casual, almost a hit-and-run that would have gone unnoticed, except for the source or the timing. It may have been received out of context or the offender was having a bad day and didn't realize the tone of a message sent.

Sometimes clarification is a good idea. If that can't be done quickly, don't think about. Seriously -- move on to other thoughts, pure thoughts, or what-if scenarios in our minds will reinforce the unintended offense.

However, sometimes the offender had a purpose -- the offense was meant. That's when prayer is about the only thing that will help. The strength to forgive and forget is available through our Lord. He mentions it specifically:

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22 KJV)

He mentions our forgiving several times in just a few verses:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. .... For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15 KJV)

But what if you were really, really, hurt by someone who knew better?

Sorry, the rules don’t change. Forgiveness is available to us, and is to be passed on. We may speak to the offender:

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:3-4 KJV)

Of course, when we go to rebuke him, we must also remember:

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:15 KJV)

Paul wrote that forgiveness helps the offender, too:

So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. (2 Corinthians 2:7 KJV)

Paul tells us there is another reason for forgiving:

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11 KJV)


  1. Something to think about. I'm good at forgiving and moving on. What I need to work on is comforting the offender.


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