1. Edi
    January 22, 2016 @ 5:18 pm

    I agree with your entire post..but I think there is more to it as well….the unanswered and tough question is what if they offender continues to offend and there is no request for forgiveness? We are commanded to love our enemies so yes we love, yes, we turn the other cheek, yes there are no grudges to be held…here’s a thought though…I don’t think relationship can be restored without a request for forgiveness. There is no restoration of our relationship with God without repentance and an asking for forgiveness. Yes, Jesus died for us and loved us while we were yet sinners but unless we place our lives in his hands and continually deal with the sin in our lives our the relationship will be a divided one. I think sometimes, those who have lived through the pain of an offender who continues to offend with no remorse feel end up hearing from the church you must forgive and then also carry the pain of guilt of not having a restored relationship with their offender. That is asking a mere mortal to do what God himself will not do – there is no restored relationship without repentance. We are called to love always just as “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners” but then repentance must come so forgiveness can result and relationships can be restored. My quick thoughts on a friday night 😉

    • Kelly Madland
      January 23, 2016 @ 12:09 pm

      Good thoughts, Edi,

      Forgiveness is a very deep and complicated topic once a person dives in. This little series has only scratched the surface.

      While the idea of a repeat offender is exactly what Jesus is addressing with Peter, I would also agree with you that forgiveness and the idea of “restored relationship” are two completely different ideas – and should be treated as such. Our restored relationship with God, by forgiveness through Christ upon our repentance, is with a holy and perfect Being, our Creator, and I question whether the restoration of that relationship can be compared to that between two imperfect created beings. On the other hand, if restoration is possible, it is a worthy and noble thing.

      In line with your thinking, there are some cases where an offense only has to happen once, but trust is broken so deeply that a restored relationship to the way things were is not only impossible but also unwise.

      Another scenario might be an offender who dies before repenting, and the victim is left without the possibility of a restored relationship – what then?

      In the cases of abuse – no one expects a restored relationship between abuser and abused at all.

      But in all these cases, forgiveness on the part the person that was offended is what is best for them. IF a restored relationship can also result, then they are extra blessed in that situation.
      In my reading on this topic of forgiveness, I found this article from Today’s Christian Woman (men can read it too): What Forgiveness Isn’t. It addresses your valid concern quite well and at the bottom, gives advise on how to forgive – especially when the offender does not repent.

      Thanks for the insightful comment, Edi! ☺

  2. Forgiven and Forgiving – additional thoughts
    January 25, 2016 @ 1:23 pm

    […] ways in our midst. I would also recommend two excellent blog posts on forgiveness (here and here) written by Kelly […]