Luke 17: Two Steps of Forgiveness
Christians ought to be people of forgiveness, and we see that laid out in Luke 17.
Luk 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Luk 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Interestingly, this passage comes immediately after one where Jesus is saying that sin and temptation are going to come. However, if your neighbor does sin against you, there are two steps that seem to apply every time. First, we confront the issue. Then, we forgive assuming that the person repents.
There is a process here. Part of me thinks that this process is meant as much for the trespasser as it is for the one who was trespassed. What I mean by that is the person who did whatever offense we’re talking about will ideally be made better by this process as well. He or she will recognize the problem that was created, and that should help in the future. I know that sometimes people don’t take direction well, but Jesus seems to prescribe this type of correction as the first part of the process.
After that, it is the responsibility of the one who is offended to forgive. I don’t know which part is harder. I just said that people don’t like to be corrected, and I think that is true. However, people also don’t like to forgive. We like to hold on to grudges. I don’t know if it is our own pride or what the real issue is, but Jesus prescribes that when the person has repented, forgiveness is a necessary response.
This is a challenge. I guess the application for all of us is really easy. The interpretation is rather straightforward. When a sin occurs, there needs to be an addressing of the problem and then forgiveness. Maybe we can work on that today.