Q. I was recently part of a large argument in our family. A family member continually lies and uses me as a scapegoat, but my mother in law says I am required to forgive.
I know this person is lying because I was there. Since he does not have a repentant heart, do I still need to forgive him? I don’t want to allow Satan to play divide and conquer with us, but I also don’t feel I can forgive when there is no repentance.
A. Forgiveness is not meant to be extended only when the other person appears to deserve or desire it. Whether the other person is repentant or not is secondary to the Lord’s desire that we forgive as we’ve been forgiven. Forgiveness is also the antidote for anger, while refusing to forgive is a sin that can give the devil a foothold in your life.
In Ephesians 4:26-27 Paul said, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” It doesn’t matter whether you feel like forgiving someone or not. It’s a choice you make out of gratitude to the Lord who forgave you. If you extend forgiveness in good faith, your feelings will catch up later.