Do You have to Forgive? Or Repent?
[The following is an excerpt from a FREE PDF book on forgiveness that’s yours just for the asking!]
I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? – 1 Cor 6:5-7 (ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I can think of a lot of reasons why I’d rather not suffer wrong; why I’d rather not be defrauded.
Here’s just a few:
- It’s not fair
- I deserve to be happy
- I’d prefer a root canal
- I don’t want to
- I’d rather be sailing
- I don’t have to
- What are lawyers for?
- It stinks
- I’d rather be bowling
- I don’t like suffering
- It’s not fun
- I want justice
- What’s to like?
- I have rights
- It hurts
Here’s one good reason to suffer wrong: the watching world around us.
Any sin tarnishes our witness to the world, but the sin of unforgiveness betrays our witness.
SITUATION 1: A pastor gets caught in embezzlement. Is there any hope? Yes, he can repent, make restitution and be restored. However, bitter church members (adding gossip and judgment to their bitterness) can poison the hearts of the unbelievers they influence.
SITUATION 2: A husband has an affair. Is there any hope? Yes, he can repent, get help and return to the wife of his youth. However, regardless of the sincerity and intensity of his remorse, his Christian wife can still file for divorce, and even fight to keep him from his children. And with that Biblically-justified action she escapes condemnation for her divorce while forever condemning her husband for his infidelity.
And the world watches and wonders whether forgiveness is real at all.
But when we forgive; when we decide that we really would rather be wronged; it’s then that our lives become a testimony – a portrait of forgiveness of which the world is dying for a glimpse – a picture that the world seldom sees, even in the church where we sue and divorce and split up, just like the world.
We say, “God forgives,” but we do not.
Do you see the tragedy in that?
Do you see our responsibility?
I can’t make it any clearer. The word of God couldn’t make it any clearer. Unforgiveness is sin every bit as repulsive to a Holy God as any other sin. If it were possible it’s even more repulsive. This reality only gives you one option when wronged: forgive. Forgiveness is not a vague act of kindness. It’s not a suggestion. It’s a command. But even more importantly, it’s the centerpiece of the gospel. Therefore, when we voluntarily choose not to forgive (or even if we refuse to pursue forgiveness) we are willfully living in sin.
If you are willfully living in the sin of unforgiveness you have a problem that only an all-forgiving and understanding God can release you from. Will you let him release you? God offers his forgiveness freely, but you have to repent to receive it. Do you need to do that right now?
[The post above is an excerpt from Forgiveness 101, a FREE PDF book that’s yours just for the asking! Simply email us here. and we’ll send you a digital copy pronto. Want to read the rest of the intro first? Click here! Want to hear the story of a life God changed through the Biblical truths shared in this book? Click here! Freedom might be just a click away! (Plus 70 pages, but that’s not a very long book now, is it?)]
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
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