First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If someone has sinned and has not asked God for forgiveness, would that person still have been forgiven?
That would be the same question you can ask somebody who is not saved yet:
are they forgiven even though they have not confessed their sin and received
Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Forgiveness is only supplied through the blood
Forgiveness has been offered, but in this case, it has to be received. Just like
any gift that someone gives you, you can’t experience the benefit of it until
you have received that gift. Are we forgiven without receiving that gift? Are we
forgiven without confessing that? God extends that forgiveness to us but we
don’t enjoy and experience the benefit of that gift until we receive it by faith
and accept it as a free gift from God. That’s what He means when He says that
you have to receive the gift of salvation. It’s been paid for.
Jesus died for our sin, but now we have to accept that. Otherwise we are saying
that everybody is saved and nobody needs to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord
and Savior. And we know that is not true; not everybody is saved. The Bible
clearly teaches that some will perish and some will go to hell. It’s not God’s
will for anybody to perish, but some will if they reject Jesus Christ. Our
confession doesn’t earn us the gift; it is a free gift, but our confession and
our reception of that gift is what empowers us to experience the benefit of it.
What’s the first step in forgiving infidelity?
Here’s the first step. Even if he’s going with the other woman, you still
need to forgive him. The first step of forgiveness is to remember why you’re
forgiven. You’re not forgiven because of what you’ve done for God; you’re
forgiven because of what Jesus has done for you. Okay, now that’s the first
step: to remember why you’ve been forgiven, because of Jesus, his blood.
So now you take that same reason that you’ve been forgiven and apply that to
your husband. Does he deserve to be forgiven? No. Has he earned his forgiveness?
No. Has he even repented of the sin that he’s committed? No. But that’s why you
need to forgive him; you need to forgive him the same way God forgave you. God
forgave you before you repented. God forgave you before you changed. God forgave
you turned your life around. You need to know that the first step to forgiveness
is to recognize what forgave you—the blood of Jesus. Use that same blood to
forgive him, and then make a decision, an act of your will. “I forgive him by
faith, regardless of what he’s done, regardless of how he’s acted. I forgive him
by faith and I’m never going to hold that against him again.”
Now that doesn’t mean that he’s going to come back to you. But you need to
forgive him anyway and to move on with your life. Now if he moves on with this
other woman, that’s his problem, that’s his business, that’s his affair. And you
need to realize that you can’t control him, but he’s going to reap what he sows.
In the meantime, you need to let it go and get it out of your heart by making a
quality decision from which there is no retreat and in which there is no debate.
“I forgive this man by faith, whether I feel it or not, I forgive him just as
God forgave me, even though I didn’t deserve it.”
How do I move forward and forgive someone who has betrayed me.
Well, the way that you go towards forgiveness with somebody that’s betrayed
you is number one, you need to remember that God has forgiven you. There are
things that you’ve done that you need forgiveness from. So, that’s the most
important thing. You’ve betrayed God many times. So, number one, you need to
remember that God has forgiven you.
Number two, you need to recognize that people will disappoint you sometimes. You
have to accept that fact that people will disappoint you; that people will let
you down. Sometimes we put people on such a high pedestal that what ends up
happening is they can’t measure up to our expectations and we then get
disappointed. And then when they fail or when they fall or when they stumble, we
don’t have any mercy on them because we had such high expectations of them.
Accept the fact that somebody close to you can betray you. David said in the
book of Psalms, “If it would have been an enemy that betrayed me, then it would
have not bothered me or hurt me. But it was you, my friend.”
And so, naturally, you’re going to feel those feelings of betrayal and feel
those feelings of hurt, but you have to accept the fact that people aren’t
perfect, people are going to let you down and you need to understand that. So,
number one, you need to know that God has forgiven you for betraying Him. Number
two, you need to accept that people will disappoint you and let you down
sometimes, even the people close to you.
And number three, you need to make a decision to forgive. Forgiveness is a
decision. It’s not a feeling. It’s not something that you’re going to feel right
away. It’s a choice that we make. So, you have to make a quality decision that
you forgive and you have to say out of your mouth, “I forgive this person.” And
you have to declare it and stick to it even when the feelings are going to try
to tell you that haven’t forgiven them and nothing has changed. And fourthly,
then you need to communicate with them. You need to go to them and you need to
say, “I forgive you. And I want you to know that even though my feelings are
hurt, I do forgive you. And I love you. And let’s fix this. Those are the 4
steps that I would take.
I’ve always struggled with forgiving someone that hasn’t apologized because I’ve never believed that there’s such a thing as free forgiveness. Doesn’t God only forgive us when we repent?
Well, the Bible makes it clear that forgiveness is free. Forgiveness is made
up of three segments: “for,” “give,” and “ness.” And the middle one is the most
important one. It’s giving. It’s for-give. It’s give. There is a freedom there
and it is free. If a person who doesn’t apologize, that’s their problem. I’m not
going to carry around unforgiveness towards somebody because they didn’t
apologize or they didn’t repent or they didn’t change. Now, that doesn’t mean
that I’m going to stay in a relationship with them. That doesn’t mean that I’m
going to stay in the same level of communication or the same level of friendship
or the same level of business dealings with them. But to forgive them is to let
go of it, to release it, and to put them in the hands of God, to leave them in
the hands of God. Turn it over to God and let them go. Don’t hold them in
bondage to the resentment or the unforgiveness that you feel, but let them go.
The Bible is clear on that subject, that you have to forgive them even if they
don’t ask you for forgiveness.
Does God only forgive us when we repent? No, God forgave you 2000 years ago when
Jesus died on the cross. And you either choose to receive that forgiveness –
that doesn’t mean that you’re saved without accepting Jesus Christ, but you
either accept and receive that forgiveness or you reject it. But the forgiveness
has already been given. The forgiveness has already been paid for. Jesus’ blood
was already shed. It’s not going to be shed ever again because it doesn’t need
to be. It was already shed for you and now you choose to either receive it or
Now, here’s what happens. You receive that forgiveness and you say, “Lord, I
thank you that you have forgiven me and through the blood of Jesus, my sins are
washed, my sins are cleansed. And I’m so thankful that you forgave me before I
ever even changed, before I ever even turned around, before I ever even
repented, you forgave me. Now, because you loved me when I didn’t deserve it,
because you forgave me when I didn’t earn it, now I want to turn, now I want to
change, now I want to repent.”
In other words, now repentance is our response to the reality that we are
forgiven rather than repentance being the payment that we make in order to
receive forgiveness. Repentance is a response, not a payment. Forgiveness is
first, and then, because I realize I’m forgiven, now, I’m going to want to
repent. I bet if you try that with people and you forgive them first before they
ever repent, you’ll find that they’ll change because they’re so thankful that
you freely forgave them because of love.
It’s been a year since I’ve spoken to my youngest sister. She did something that really, really hurt me. And recently, I’ve written a letter trying to forgive her but I just can’t find the strength. I allowed my sister to use my credit and she lied and did not pay off what she agreed to pay. It was a favor that I was against doing, but I went ahead and did it. I guess I’m tired of being the one that’s always forgiving and always being taken advantage of.
Well, here’s the thing. If you don’t want to forgive a debt, don’t create
one. That’s the thing that you have to accept. I feel for you and know exactly
what you mean. I’ve been in situations like that and in worse situations than
that. So, I feel for you. Forgiveness has to continue because Jesus said, “if
your brother sins against you seventy times seven, then forgive him.”
The thing that I can help you with is that forgiveness is not based on whether
your sister has changed. Forgiveness is not based on whether she has repented.
Forgiveness is not based on whether she pays you back. Forgiveness is based on
the blood of Jesus. And the same blood of Jesus that has forgiven you for so
much is the same blood that has forgiven her. And so you need to look at her in
that way. There are many things that you’ve done wrong and God forgives you.
Maybe to you they’re not as bad as what your sister’s done to you, but to God, a
thought that is evil is just as bad as your sister taking advantage of you.
And so, you have to put it into perspective that if God has forgiven you of what
you’ve done wrong towards Him, then you should extend the same mercy towards
your sister; not because she deserves it, but for the very reason that she
doesn’t deserve it and that’s why it’s mercy. I’m not trying to shut down those
feelings. I understand those feelings and those feelings might stay for a while,
but forgiveness is a choice even though you might feel that she’s taken
advantage of you for a while.