I was reading this book 3 days' back and learnt a new thing or two about forgiveness. Among the interesting lessons taught are these:
- Just because you're hurt doesn't mean that the other party needs to repent because repentance deals with sins and the other party may not have sinned against you. You can be hurt for various reasons, you could be jealous or annoyed etc. but what the other person has done does not tantamount to a sin. In this case, you'll just have to deal with it yourself, not so much as forgiving the other party but forbearing the other party.
- Jesus was quoted in Luke 17, "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." So after ascertaining that indeed the other party has sinned against you, the first biblical thing to do is to 'rebuke' him, meaning confront him with his offense, and if he repents, then forgive him.
- When I read the 'IF he repents', you know, the IF, I was like, yay, so there's a loop-hole, you mean I can choose not to forgive? No, that wasn't what the book teaches, it emphasized that God would want us to forgive no matter what. It also cautions about the type of attitude we should adopt when we 'confront' the other party about his offence. I'm glad it also recognises the fact that usually people won't admit their mistakes and draws references from the Old Testament Proverbs about the consequences of rebuking a wise man and a fool.
- A very interesting thought here is that God's Word says that if someone sins against you seven times and comes back to you to repent, you're supposed to forgive him again and again. The interesting part is about the possiblility for someone to sin against you and repenting again and again, I mean really recognising his mistake again and again and yet sinning again and again. The author points out that God knows our nature and deal with us in the same way too, forgiving us again and again...
Anyway, I've a better understanding on this topic now and wish to share my blessing with you, come on read it up! Click on the link above! :)