Forgiving People Who Don’t Say I’m Sorry

When the disciples asked Jesus how many times people should forgive people, He responded with a hyperbolic number (70×7) which meant an unlimited number of times. If we are serious about doing what Jesus asked us to do; that is, to forgive people an unlimited number of times, it is reasonable to assume that there will be many times when we forgive people who will not or do not say they are sorry.

As people of faith how do we forgive someone who doesn’t seek our forgiveness or doesn’t seem to care about saying I’m sorry? Here’s some thought about this: First of all, we can not make someone feel remorse for offending us nor can we make them ask us for forgiveness. They must feel regret on their own and ask for forgiveness from their heart. We can bring an offense to their attention but we can’t make them truly sorry for offending us. If we don’t get what we need from those who hurt us, we must try to root out any bitterness and resentment. Then we have an unobstructed path to forgiving our offenders. Without doing this, it is very difficult to get to a place where we can genuinely forgive people for hurting an offending us wether they ask for forgiveness or not. 

Secondly, it is imperative to be prayerfully introspective about our own failures and how many times we have offended others. This puts what others have done to us in right prospective. It also humbles us so we can forgive. Honest reflection and introspection will help us to put ourselves in our offenders situation and will humble us to a point where we feel worse about what we have done to others than what others have done to us. This makes forgiving others much easier. 

Joseph Hutchison

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