We know much about forgiveness. We all know that when we forgive someone, we are not releasing that person from his sin or the consequences of that sin. We are releasing ourselves from the bondage the lack of forgiveness puts us under. However, what do we do when we ask for forgiveness and that forgiveness is not given?
What do we do if, even after repentance, the person we hurt does not or cannot forgive us? Due to ignorance, immaturity, or plain brokenness, some of us made mistakes in our past that hurt our loved ones. Now that we are in Christ, know better, or are emotionally healthier, we recognize our errors, repent our sins, and wish we could return in time.
It would be wonderful to erase our past mistakes, but since we cannot, we can only amend our ways and ask forgiveness from the people we hurt. Many are blessed, receive forgiveness, and reconcile with their loved ones, but what do we do if that does not happen?
After Cain killed his brother, Abel, God sent him away from his family and the land of his birth, but not before giving him a chance to move on. If you read Genesis four, you will see that Cain did not even show signs of repentance, yet God did not allow anyone to kill him, which he deserved. Later, we read that Cain was the father of Enoch, a man so godly that he walked with God and was no more, for God took him.
God is the God of second chances. If you have asked forgiveness from people you offended or hurt in the past, and they cannot give it to you, please know that God can forgive any sin. Accept His forgiveness, forgive yourself, and pray for the people you wronged, not for them to forgive you, but for God to save them or bless them with emotional healing.
After that, all you can do is wait on the Lord. He is a God of miracles, and He does change hearts. If forgiveness eventually comes, your heart will be filled with joy. Still, if it does not come, you may not be able to correct your mistakes with the person you hurt, but there are always opportunities to correct the mistakes of others.
You cannot ask for forgiveness from a loved one who has passed, but you can help someone forgive others while they are still alive. You may not be able to amend things with your kids, but you can bless someone else’s kids. Your marriage may have been lost, but God can use you to avoid someone else’s divorce.
What do we do when forgiveness does not come? God forgave us, we forgive ourselves, and with God’s help, we become healing instruments. Who knows if by getting others to forgive their offenders, God might change the hearts of the people we offended, and our forgiveness finally comes. Move on, my friend, by becoming an agent of healing.