Summary: Not everyone is willing to forgive the truly repentant. This lack of forgiveness can be divided int three categories at least.
Why Some Will Not Forgive
Review: We forgive as God does, conditioned upon repentance.
When we wrong another, and we take responsibility and ask forgiveness for the specific wrong, things are then out of our hands. If people forgive us, it is out of their graciousness. If they do not, we have to accept that reality and move on as best we can, but not allow ourselves to be manipulated.
Main Idea: Not everyone is willing to forgive the truly repentant. This lack of forgiveness can be divided int three categories at least.
I. Category One: I CHOOSE Not to Forgive (Luke 15:25-32).
A. Review: Sometimes Full Forgiveness is Just Not POSSIBLE.
1. Many times, no real request for forgiveness has been made: “IF I did anything wrong...”
2. The Bible speaks of an unpardonable sin (rejection of Christ).
3. Some offenses leave such consequences that the relationship can never be restored.
4. Repeat serious offenses may permanently ruin credibility.
5. In certain situations, sometimes the best you can hope for is a depletion of ill will.
B. Some folks are simply UNGRACIOUS or not compassionate (Luke 15:25-32)
1. They haven’t received God’s forgiveness themselves and think they are above the rest of us.
2. Some people are punishing types of people, big into retribution and gloating; no win.
3. Some don’t understand human nature, think forgiving another encourages wrong behavior.
4. Self-righteous people think forgiving condones the sin.
5. Many of us justify our wrongs as responses to how we have been treated...others guilty, not us.
6. Some people are ruled by anger and foolish choices (Nabal the fool).
7. Perhaps they don’t know how to forgive. Raised in cold, harsh family.
8. There is a reason Paul wrote Galatians 6:1.
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
A lot of people do not think they are vulnerable to sin in a major way.
C. Other people REJECT Jesus’ teaching about our obligation to forgive the repentant ( see Matthew 18:23-35).
D. The good in this category is that these folks are at least HONEST.
II. Category Two: I Say I Have Forgiven but Don’t Really MEAN It (Proverbs 23:7).
Proverbs 23:7, “for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”
A. Some people say what they are EXPECTED to say, but it isn’t what they actually believe.
They are “inwardly calculating.” They say everything is okay, but then the connive.
B. Forgiveness is a struggle, even for those who mean it; but some people save up wrong-doings for AMMUNITION and CONTROL
A man was telling his friend about an argument he had with is wife. “When she gets like that,” he explained, “she gets historical.”
“Don’t you mean hysterical?” the friend asked.
“No, historical. She keeps on bringing up things from the past.”
1. Often the case in an abusive relationship.
2. Does not make for a healthy relationship: marriage, friendship, business partnership.
3. Which person is more likely to come to our church? Someone we help, or someone we ask to help us? The latter. People do not like to feel indebted., controlled, or manipulated.
III. Category Three: I Think I Have Forgiven, but I Have Lied to MYSELF (2 Samuel 15:12).
In category two, the person knows they haven’t really forgiven. In category three, the person doesn’t really know it, although they sort of do, but won’t face it.
“To think own self be true...” We need to tell ourselves the truth.
Some people honestly tell you what they are consciously thinking, but they have first lied to themselves. This is usually an ingrained habit, and a very bad one.
A. It is normal and HONEST to struggle over wrongs that you have forgiven.
B. People who live in DENIAL of their own feelings can do the most insidious things.
C. Sometimes deep malicious thoughts awaken when an opportunity to STRIKE back presents itself.
1. One clue to this type of situation is that you might know what that person is going to do before they do.
2. On other occasions, their venom surfaces out of the blue.
3. We can’t be sure Ahitohophel’s example is category two or three, but I am thinking more likely three.
2 Samuel 15:12, “And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.”
Psalm 55:12-14 records David’s grief over Ahithophel’s betrayal, “For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God's house we walked in the throng.”