When you forgive someone should you continue or stop?

trust, forgive, continue, stop, everything, GodA lot of times we talk about not wanting to be a doormat?  You do not want to be an enabler nor do you want to allow someone to walk all over you.

I struggle with this question every time I hear it.  As a person deals with forgiveness, we want to put conditions on it.  We want to forgive them but will avoid them or won’t allow them to get close again.

This passage was one of the few things that Jesus said while he was on the cross.  He had been unjustly accused, beaten to near death, mocked, His hands and feet were nailed into the wood, and His clothes were stolen.  At this point,

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  Luke 23:34 (NIV)

Do you trust that God can take care of anything?  How can we forgive unconditionally?  How can we trust God in EVERYTHING?  Do you need to pray for someone? Do you trust God to take care of it?

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5 Responses

  1. This is a challenging question. I agree that there must be forgiveness. Forgiveness ministers to the injured party as well. It aids in help them to move on in their life. The question is; how does forgiveness work when the injustice continues? How does a person forgive and yet protect themselves from further damage? The writer suggests that it is wrong to avoid the offender but what if the offender continues to abuse? Does God expect them to continue to subject themselves to an oppressive or even abusive situation? I would love to hear thoughts from the author or anyone who cares to comment. As I mentor women I have been asked this question a number of times.

    1. Gwen Woods Dixon

      I absolutely believe in forgiveness! I forgive, but I don’t necessarily place myself in the direct path of the offender. forgiveness must be granted whether or not it is ever asked for. I have learned to trust in god–it’s not my job to convince someone they need forgiveness–god does his job very well. people have a choice; they can shut god out, but i have to continue to pray and step out in faith. I may have it all wrong…???

  2. Michelle

    I am in a situation right now, where I have been in a relationship for almost 6 years. we have both done wrong; of course, we are human. but my question is, if we are called to forgive and forget. should we then continue the relationship when there is a pattern of abuse? it changes (gets better) for a period of time, but then is slowly creeps back in. I don’t know when to say enough is enough. i have forgiven each time and continue to give it to god, but are we then expected to put ourselves in the same situation over and over again?

  3. I hear your issue! My human response is that you should not be in a situation that you are physically abused in. I struggle with your questions and questions I have all the time on forgiveness. The following is what I think in my heart:

    1. I do not think you should be an enabler to allow someone to sin. What I am saying is that if the other person or you cannot stop the abuse you need to remove yourself from the situation and seek help. When I say remove, I am not saying divorce. I am saying stay somewhere else and do not let the temptation for you or someone else to be abused.

    2. When you got married, did you state within your vows that you would honor God and commit to this person for better or worse, sickness and health, etc? We do not look at these things as a sickness but I really believe it is.

    3. I believe if you are eyeballing someone else or if you are thinking about something better, this is not good. I have seen in several relationships to where this happens and then the person starts making “good reasons” for walking away! All I have to say to this is: “STOP IT!”

    4. You must turn away from the “it is about me attitude” and seek what God wants. I know this may be hard to swallow but I see people go into the “it is not fair, what about my feelings, etc.” The key is to seek Gods will and not yours!

    5. I have been married for 27 years and the key is that if you leave this person, that was your one try. You have invested 6 years of your life and if you think about it this is a lot. If you look at your spouse as one of your children, metaphorically, you would not walk away from them or leave them. I believe your spouse is your blood family spiritually and you need to die to self and do everything for them as if you were doing it for you.

    When Jesus was dealing with His inevitable ending he had men trying to protect Him. This is what He said: 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:53-54 (NIV)

    My question is that do you think Jesus cannot call twelve legions of angels to save you and your marriage? Remember that Moses was in the desert for 40 years! What have you learned from all of this? Has this pain caused you to be closer to the Lord? Is being closer to the Lord more important than how you or someone else “Feels”?

    Please know I write this with the best intentions and hope you understand I do not know all that you are going through. The above is how I approach my marriage and when I disappoint my spouse I want to look at it as if I am doing this to myself and try to rectify it so that I do not disappoint or hurt “myself/spouse”.

    Praying for you!!

  4. Here are my thoughts:
    1. A husband or wife is physically abusive. Response – leave NOW, find a safe shelter, relative, friend

    2. A husband or wife is verbally abusive. Confront – “You can no longer talk to me in that manner.” (now you need to have a plan if he/she says keeps on). Get counseling

    3. Some marriages will survive but not thrive

    4. There has to be a lot of forgiveness in EVERY marriage – and it is two-sided

    5. There is so much more to forgiveness than just words: attitudes, resentment, reminding of what’s been forgiven…, revenge,– which probably means that true forgiveness hasn’t taken place

    6. If a couple will allow it – God will teach you more about forgiveness from your spouse than anyone else – if you will let Him. Why is that the case? Because there is some level of love in your marriage and love forgives.

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