matthew 15:18 –
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. if he hears you, you have gained your brother.”
raise the bar:
i thought it was pretty noble to forgive those who come to me after they’ve offended me. even more so if they never asked for forgiveness out right. but this passage says essentially that if i’m offended by someone’s actions toward me, i don’t wait for him to come a-knockin’ on my door with an apology. it “ups the bar”, commanding us to totally humble ourselves for the main goal of reconciliation. and as john bevere states in “the bait of satan“, it “parallels how God restores us to himself (‘demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ dies for us’ romans 5:8).”
i’m so the type of person that would use this verse to justify confronting someone in my ‘righteous’ anger. but it’s key that we let all thoughts of anger, or attitudes of “you owe me an apology” die before confronting. otherwise, we just make it worse. there’s a great song that says ‘its your kindness, Lord, that leads us to repentance’. we can reflect that same kindness in the face of offense, with the Holy Spirit’s help!
even if you feel you were right, maybe you could say, “hey, i think that i was hurt by what you said because your friendship means more to me than i realized. i care about ‘us’, and i totally forgive you. could you forgive me for assuming (or resenting, talking about you to…etc.)? ” if they don’t listen, see matthew 18:16-17. we can only do so much. that’s why it’s written: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
the point is to restore. this one’s a toughy, but it humbles the offended and the offender, plus you’ll have the bonus peace of knowing you acted in obedience!
Q 4 U:
how do you feel about asking forgiveness? is it always worth it?