Jewish tradition teaches that we must attempt to reconcile with a person 3 times. And, the person who is being asked to forgive must struggle within themselves to forgive us. If, after 3 times that person cannot forgive then the process is over and the person seeking reconciliation may stop trying. The person who cannot forgive is written off as a ‘cruel person’ and life goes on.
This is not what Jesus says.
Jesus says we must forgive 7 time 70 times.
If the person is truly seeking forgiveness (not mere lip service while doing whatever they want on the side- Proverbs tells us to avoid them while they are still like that), then we must continue to try to work on the relationship.
It will be hard- hence the need to keep forgiving. The past will come back to mind- and we must forgive again. There will be stumbles, and we must forgive. BUT, if the person is trying to reconcile and is truly repentant, the process is to go on, and on, and on….
Relationships are important in God’s world.
BUT, they need to be good ones.
The unrepentant who are angry, the purposely foolish, the selfish, the lazy are still to face consequences and be avoided. You are not a doormat needing to be unnecessarily hurt.
But these consequences are not meant to be cruel, but to cause a life change so that repentance is possible.
Everything is about restoring relationships to a healthy status.
Examine your broken relationships and ask:
Is the person repentant?
Are they trying to change?
If they are- help them!
If they are not, look to scripture. Find the problem in Proverbs and avoid the person if necessary. Sometimes we enable people to stay as they are because they are getting what they want from us, which is sometimes a free, no consequence, punching bag to let out their frustrations on.
Don’t be the punching bag, but don’t be the cruel person who will not reconcile with a person trying to do better either.
When confused, ask a wise- been there, done that, type person who has no emotional involvement in the situation for help.
Who not to ask for help?
People who are emotionally involved in the situation (or a similar situation).
Why: They have their own baggage, which will cloud their judgment. It is difficult to help someone forgive, when you are struggling to forgive. It is also difficult to tell someone to stay strong and avoid a cruel person, when you, yourself are enabling them. So, if you are contemplating divorce, find people who have struggled and overcome, not those who are in the same boat. Misery loves company, but it is a placebo and it does not do us any good in the end.
People who have never faced a similar situation.
Sometimes we encounter people who have families so perfect it makes you want to barf. These people have likely never encountered the type of people you are dealing with. Though sometimes they have dealt with these problems and have overcome your situation so it is good to do some research because this is exactly who you need to ask!
So who do you ask?
Someone who can be objective who knows something about what you are going through. Fortunately (unfortunately?) our world is so messed us these people are not hard to find…
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