When do we forgive?

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Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2023
Luke 17:

3b If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.
You can wait until he repents but you don't have to. Note that Jesus did not say that if your brother did not repent, then don't forgive him. In fact, while on the cross, Luke 23:

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Peter was inquisitive and wanted to know more, Matthew 18:

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Jesus proceeded to tell the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant who refused to forgive his brother:

32Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
What if the brother refuses to acknowledge his offense against you?

See How to resolve conflicts among Christians?.

In any case, we should have a forgiving heart always.

Paul summarized it nicely in Ephesians 4:

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Forgiveness is a group thing. You may have inadvertently offended your brother at times. Be quick to forgive one another.

Proverbs 17:

9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Do we have to forgive blindly?

You don't have to. However, it is wise to forgive even if someone does not repent. Do yourself a favor: forgive and set yourself free to love.

The Father forgives you iff you forgive others.

There is no free lunch in repentance and forgiveness.

When do we forgive?

You are doing yourself a favor when you do. You are hurting yourself when you don't. You choose when.
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Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2018
United States
When do we forgive?

You are doing yourself a favor when you do. You are hurting yourself when you don't. You choose when.
My suggestion is, don't take offense, and you will have nothing to forgive. If someone does something against you, consider it an opportunity to show love, and forgive even as the act is being committed. This is how we follow Jesus, who prayed, Father, forgive them, even as they were in the act of murdering Him.

Much love!


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2017
United Kingdom
When do we forgive?

Our examp.e is always God the Father and God the Son, if we seek to copy them there is a good chance we will get it right.

How did all of us become Christian? The unifying factor is that we all repented and as a result we're forgiven.
Throughout the O T forgiveness by God was always preceded by repentance.
If my people who are called by my name will turn (repent) from there wicked ways and pray, then I will hear and heal their land.

Parabel of the unjust servant, he had repented and been shown mercy, yet when a fellow servant repented he refused to show forgiveness.

Forgiveness is conditional.

Our example is Jesus who on the croak prayed for his killers.
If there is no repentance we toopray for the offender, pray intelligently and regularly for there good.
We should also pray for ourselves, that we will be able to forgive, that we will be able to consistently pray for the offender and that our feelings in the matter do not become bitter.