Forgiveness and Revenge

When another person genuinely offends or hurts you, it is your responsibility to approach that person, mention the offense and seek repentance. If he repents, then you are responsible to forgive him. You are responsible to release him from the guilt of that his offense placed between you. Then you, in turn, are responsible to release the matter into God’s hands (Matt. 5:23-24).

But many ask the question, “What if that person commits the same offense again?” Jesus answers this question. You should seek repentance again, and if he repents again, then you should forgive him again (Matt. 18:21-22).

So, this leads to the next question: “How many times should I do that?” Jesus answers this, too. You should forgive him indefinitely.

But let’s ask one more question: “What if you’re not sure they really repented?” Paul answers this in Romans 12:19. It is not your responsibility to ensure full justice. Instead, you should leave that business to God. Personally and deliberately (and repeatedly, if necessary) ask God to take full control of the situation. And as you do this, you are free to love, serve and bless the person who wronged you, genuine repentance or not (Rom. 12:20-21).

If you refuse to forgive a brother or sister who repents, or you insist on inflicting justice in your own way, then bitterness will take root in your heart and will slowly but surely destroy both you and the people around you (Heb. 12:14-15). To avoid this, learn to give your doubts, your hurts and your frustrations to God (Psa. 55:22). If there is anything left to avenge or make right, then God will handle it perfectly. Just love the person instead and pray for God to bless them.

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