Do We Have To Forgive Unbelievers?

Q. I found your web site as I was seeking a Biblical answer for a friend of mine who asked me the following: “If a non Christian person wrongs me and never asks for forgiveness do I have to forgive them?”

I told her that at some point she is going to have to forgive but she disagrees. What do you suggest I tell her as she is a new believer and I am afraid that she is going to let a root of bitterness grow, etc.

A. Tell your friend that extending forgiveness to a person who has wronged us, whether a believer or not, is something we do out of gratitude for the forgiveness God has extended to us. It also has the effect of defusing our anger, which is a commandment from Ephesians 4:26-27 that prevents the devil from gaining a foothold in our mind.

There’s also the possibility that our behavior will help cause the other person to be drawn to the Lord. But from our perspective his or her response is irrelevant. It’s between us and the Lord.

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