The Two Sides Of Forgiveness

Recently, I was reminded of the two sides of forgiveness.

Christians have a responsibility to one another. We have the responsibility to bear one another’s burdens and to help one another in our obedience to Christ.

These are the two sides.

First, I have the absolute responsibility to forgive and let go. Nothing can take away from that responsibility. Jesus told Simon Peter to forgive 70 times 7–another way of saying “without end” or “infinitely.”

I have a responsibility–to God–to forgive. I cannot let that go.

That brings me to the other side of forgiveness. The second side is really not about forgiveness. It is instead about Christian charity. Like my responsibility to forgive, I have the absolute responsibility to love. I cannot decide whether or not I will forgive nor can I decide whether of not I will love. God has commanded me to love.

That brings me to a conundrum. Can I use your responsibility to forgive against you?

For example, can I tell you “that’s just the way I am and you have to forgive me?” No, of course not. My responsibility to love is as great as your responsibility to forgive.

Loving you means I don’t take advantage of you or attempt to manipulate you. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Love means I take my sins and offenses toward others seriously. It requires that I repent and ask God to change me so that I do not repeat the offense.

Both love and forgiveness give their best. That is how I must treat a brother or sister.

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5 Responses

  1. 😉

    Indeed the context sets the stage to define His Purpose. To quote myself in one of your recent blogs:

    “Many of the teachings of my Father have proved True regarding human nature. They have helped me grasp the True Words of Christ who defined His Family: ‘…whosoever shall do the Will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister and mother.’ Matthew 12:50”

    Great points, in proper context.


  2. In my former marriage was married to a preacher and church leader. My marriage was filled with Domestic Abuse, Cons, forgery, theft and Notary fraud which have resulted in 22 Federal, State, and Local Fraud charges. I have forgiven my ex because now I do Thank God for the pain and for suffering I went through. The blessings and growth I have experienced have made me a better person. I truly feel bad that my ex choose illegal methods to get me out of his life, including slandering me at our church.
    Many of his church members tell me that my heart is full of bitterness and unforgivness, because I have not stopped the charges from coming to light, or because I refuse to cover up his sins anymore.
    How does God allow him to continue to preach and con more people at his church? How can a pastor use church members to complete his cons? What is the line between justice and unforgiveness? Would God call me to drop all the charges (if I could)? He would be allowed to continue to operate in an ungodly manner, and my biggest fear is some other woman may be his next victim. I was not the first to be abused by him and I am sure I wont be the last. If he was truly a Godly man why would he leave me penniless, homeless and unemployed, beat up to the point of needing surgery, depressed and now suffering for 6 years with a horrible case of PSTD.
    I have prayed for over 6 years now that God would soften my ex’s heart and he would take the right actions to end our marriage in a respectful and Christian like manner. My ex still refuses to sign any divorce papers to let me be free from this nightmare.
    Am I full of bitterness and unforgiveness because I want justice and to be 100% divorced from this man?


    1. Kellie, I deeply regret the trouble and pain you have experienced. May God help you to be free.
      A number of my previous posts have dealt with similar issues as you described. I hope they can be of help.
      Your story vividly illustrates the “two sides.” Thanks for being brave enough to tell your story.

  3. There are too many with like experiences that show (illustrate by experience) tribalism alone is not the intended Way. Romans 12:4&5 is not the way of abuse or bondage (except to Christ) but an adventure of interdependence discovering Christ in the other Members of His. Thank you for your courage to challenge His Bride (with sharing your experience) to show Herself. Dr. Bailey makes the very sharp point of not being overcome in bitterness; yet when you are in the battle, you must fight Justly dependent on God to show up, believing He indeed will not leave nor forsake you. Be sure you are open enough to let Him flow through you. In Remembrance, Thankful; in Faith, Hopeful; in Love, Living more abundantly. Know your determination to put on the Whole Armor of God and having done all to stand, brings Light into the darkness, Life into the stones, praying always for redemption: soberly.


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