Q. I got married last May, and to my dismay, some of our friends started spreading rumors that the reason we were getting married was that my wife was pregnant. This hurt my wife and myself dearly. We were all part of Bible studies, group outings, and camping trips through a Christian organization. The question I have is this, out of the four friends that did this only one friend came to us and asked us to forgive him. We did. The others openly lied to us and only made excuses as to why they spread the rumors. What are we to do? I want there to be forgiveness here but unless there is some kind of want of forgiveness on their side how can I?
A. Your decision to extend forgiveness is not dependent upon anything the other person does. In Ephesians 4:26-27 Paul said we should not let the Sun go down on our anger. This means we can choose to forgive and forget no matter what the other person does or doesn’t do.
Your desire to rebuild the relationships is admirable, and since you know that’s what the Lord wants, asking for His help in making this happen is praying in His will. Assuming you’ve already asked Him to forgive you for your anger, you can start by asking Him to forgive the other people involved for their actions, and to provide the circumstances which would allow reconciliation to take place. You can’t force another person to ask for your forgiveness, but the Holy Spirit can create situations that will allow you to demonstrate that you’ve forgiven them.
But whether they eventually ask for your forgiveness or not is between them and the Lord. You are only responsible for your own actions.