True forgiveness is one of the greatest challenges we face as believers. What makes it so difficult in most cases is, sadly, our own pride. We often feel like we are weak or a doormat, so to speak; if we let them get away with it! They need to understand how wrong they were and how much they hurt us, right? All the while we carry this inner turmoil and they walk around, free. In most cases they are unaware that they have even offended or hurt you. What we don’t understand is that being offended is like us drinking poison and expecting the other person to be sick. Forgiveness is given, not because the other person deserves it, or even wants it! True forgiveness is for us, healing our own heart.
Now having said that, it is not to say if your brother has deliberately set out to hurt you, by telling lies and slandering you and your character and reputation that you should not confront the situation. Gossip is a cancer that will destroy an entire congregation, if let gone unchecked. Yeshua (Jesus) gave us a command on how to handle such situations: Matthew 18:15 “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. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
This is done so rarely in most congregations today, that many feel it is mean or unnecessary. We must remember this is for the believer in error too! Sometimes we are put outside the camp to reflect on what in us caused this to happen to us.
What do we do if an individual does not wish to be restored? We forgive and move on! This at this point is for our own heart! You can forgive without fellowship!
Notice what Messiah says: Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Notice how Joseph handled his repentant brothers who were begging for forgiveness, Even though they sold him into slavery and lied to his father pretending he was dead! He realized circumstances had brought them to repentance and because he had not harbored any malice in his heart towards them he could say and know that G-d is always in control!
Genesis 50:19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of G-d? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but G-d meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Do we know even if we have been hurt? G-d is in control.