Forbearance – Forgiving When Not Asked to Forgive?

At church a few weeks ago I had a discussion with some of the men regarding whether it was possible to forgive without being asked to forgive. There are many considerations such as the offense caused, the sin that has transpired and the consequences of sins committed and the laws of the land and integrity of the local church.

However, concerning our personal friendships and relationships I think these thoughts on ‘forbearance’ from Dave Harvey’s book, “When Sinners Say I Do” are especially helpful:

“…the Bible gives you a special privilege in dealing with sin committed against you. It’s called forbearance. It means that you can bring love into play in such a way that you can cut someone free from their sin against you-without them even knowing or acknowledging what they’ve done!”

“Forbearance doesn’t mean we tuck sin away for another time. It’s not a variation on patience, nor is it some Christianized, external ‘niceness’ where you pretend nothing bothers you.”

“In forbearance, we know (or at least suspect) we have been sinned against, but we actually make a choice to overlook the offense and wipe the slate clean, extending a heart attitude of forgiveness and treating the (apparent) sin as if it never happened. Proverbs 19:11 tells us it is a glory to overlook an offense. Forbearance is preemptive forgiveness, freely and genuinely bestowed.”

What are your thoughts?

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