When someone harms me, whether they apologize or not, I am the one who decides if it will eat me up inside or not. A quiet time with God is a very quick tonic to this suffering. Those who say you have to forgive, release the debt, and let bygones by bygones, are out of touch with the real meaning of forgiveness.” It’s more for you than for the other person.” Is a gift you give someone else “more for you than for the other person”? If you think about it, that sounds backwards and self-centered. Was God’s gift of Jesus more for Him than for you? No, of course not. His gift of salvation was more for you than for Him. He suffered for your good. Can their be a secondary good you received from giving to others? Sure. But it is not the main reason. So if the main reason for “for GIVING” others of their trespasses is not the reason – thus bridging the damaged relationship – then your forgiving is something the devil would conjure up being just an imitation of the real thing. I believe there is a cultural influence in the modern day view on this. It is, as I see it, a similar attitude to the parent who keeps giving Nintendo or XBox time to the child who is screaming “I hate you and want to kill you!”
Ideally, your gift of forgiveness isn’t just for you any more than the Xbox time is just for you. But then again, maybe it is just for you. Maybe parents see giving gifts to ungrateful children as something they do for themselves. It does the child no good. Doing so exacerbates the problem. “Son, I just gave you that new scooter and you intentionally took a sledgehammer to it. I’ll run to the store right away and get you another.” Forgiving a person who is unrepentant and doesn’t desire your grace, is just a selfish way of stroking your own ego. “I’m being good to evil because it makes me feel better and God will reward me.” It is misguided. Giving to others who do not want your gift is foolish. God is not going to withhold His forgiveness from him who is withholding forgiveness to the unrepentant BECAUSE God withholds forgiveness from the unrepentant. If you are being like God both in grace and justice, He won’t hold it against you. You don’t have to forgive an unrepentant person to feel better! Just turn away from the problem and turn your anxieties over to Him. Maybe your Christ-like spirit that doesn’t yield to the world will bring the unrepentant person to a better place.
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