I notice many Christians struggling with 'unforgiveness' - or rather find it difficult to forgive as Jesus Christ instructs in Matthew 18:22 - forgive seventy times seven times - interpreted as more than the beholder of offence can count consciously.

This is a struggle I too face, when having to repeatedly forgive a repeated offence by a close person. I see it clearly that it is possible to forgive, and also paramount in developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, yet I am unsure how to do this practically?

  • I pray releasing the pain to the Holy Spirit, casting my cares onto God knowing that he cares for me.
  • I pray for the person, and I release them to the Holy Spirit. I ask for my capacity to love to be increased.
  • I pray releasing resentment and ask for more capacity for love instead.
  • I pray asking for forgiveness for my reactions to the pain I am caused.

But still I feel pain and want to distance myself. What do I do when I feel pain repeatedly caused by someone I trust and have developed a closeness with? What is the practical machination for forgiveness? Please help. God bless you.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NJKV):

14For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their tresspasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 18:21-35 (NKJV)

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother [g]his trespasses.”

  • 3
    This may be better directed to a pastor or trusted spiritual counselor. That said, there is a repentance required to access forgiveness and repentance is both spoken (I am sorry, please forgive me) and demonstrated. It is not unforgiving to expect a change in behavior (Matthew 3:8). Oct 15, 2021 at 12:22
  • 2
    Up-voted +1 as it is clear that you are taking this matter seriously and you are conscious that it is a matter of the heart within. If I feel moved to do so over the next day or two, I shall attempt an answer in keeping with the conscientiousness of the question.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 15, 2021 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


What do I do when I feel pain repeatedly caused by someone I trust and have developed a closeness with? What is the practical machination for forgiveness?

My own experience of this is that I feel grief because of someone's attitude to me, not so much a sense of injustice about the action.

If a complete stranger steals from me, I feel more grief about their despising of my person than any outrage I feel about the crime.

If someone close to me wrongs me, repeatedly, it may be a matter of conscience. They may think they are doing the right thing, but they are not and the wrongness of the action is grieving in itself.

In all these cases and in many more variations, I find it essential that I, myself, need to be in a condition, personally, of felt forgiveness with God regarding my own sins. Else, I shall have an unforgiving spirit to others.

Jesus commented to the Pharisee, Luke 7:47, that the weeping woman loved much because much was forgiven her. And it is my experience that my forgiveness to others comes out of the love that Christ has shown to me : it does not come out of my own human nature.

Forgiving others, like any spiritual activity, comes from the Holy Spirit himself, Galatians 5:22. Such activities do not arise from one's first nature (that born of Adam).

Then if I truly feel, in the words of the apostle Paul, that 'the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me', Galatians 2:20, then such is the effect of that, that I feel no irksomeness to others, no matter how they treat me.

Of course, the above does not hold true with the 'gospel' that I hear propagated so much in modern times : that Christ, supposedly, suffered for the sins of everybody in the world (and for nobody in particular) such that it is up to the individual to 'make good' the sacrifice on their own behalf.

Paul knew that the Son of God loved him, personally, and had died for his actual, individual sins, particularly. Paul was assured of this.

Nor does the above hold good if one is of a legal spirit, intensely concerned with one's own legal works, constantly failing and constantly in a bad mood because of it, or else full of legal proud at how holy one is : then I don't think the above operates in such a climate.

It certainly never did with myself when I was (in my former years) of a legal spirit, without personal assurance.

The fruits of the Spirit, of which forgiveness to others is one, come only if one walks in the Spirit. And the rule of the Spirit is that life is in Christ Jesus.

The life, the life of holiness, is not in ourselves. The life is in Christ Jesus.

For the rule of the Spirit (of life in Christ Jesus) hath made me free from the rule of sin (and death).

[Romans 8:2 KJV, but with 'law' rendered as 'rule' and with added brackets.]

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