This is a question often used to to justify not asking for forgiveness from someone we’ve offended.
It’s never easy to swallow our pride, humble ourselves, admit we were wrong and ask for forgiveness. But what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:23-26 was that we need to leave our sacrifice at the altar and go and seek forgiveness when we’ve offended someone. This is why we celebrate the Lord’s supper regularly and why I’m a fan of celebrating communion every time we gather as the Body of Christ. It allows us the opportunity, and reminds us to judge the body rightly. We allow the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts in regards to our relationships and we make sure we remain in right relationship with the Son by ensuring we’re in right relationship with members of His bride.
But what happens when we try to make amends and the one we’ve offended doesn’t choose to forgive us?
Remember what I said about Rabbi Paul? Here’s where his teaching comes in. Once you sincerely seek forgiveness, you are free-whether the other person forgives you or not. Paul wrote in Romans 12:18:
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (NLT)
So once you’ve sincerely sought forgiveness, you are free. So be sure to do what Jesus said in Matthew 5:24:
…leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (NLT)
Asking forgiveness from someone we’ve wronged can be a very difficult thing to do. But now that you know the truth, remember the whole truth – God has not only told you to do it, He’ll empower you to do it. It may be good to discuss these thoughts with your pastor if you need some support in doing what the Bible instructs you.
We’re praying for you.