temidade said: Jesus told us to forgive those who persecute us, does that include forgiving them even when they still believe and continuing to carry out their evil acts? If yes, then that is extremely hard to do! How can you forgive q6
Thanks for your question!
I think it is important to understand that forgiveness does not mean affirming or giving permission to the wrongdoer.
What it does mean is that you let go of the harm people have done to you. You let go of the bitterness, anger, condemnation, and judgement that you may hold over someone. You allow God, the true Judge, to deliver justice to them when He returns, and you hope and pray that they will encounter His true love.
Check out Jesus’ response to Peter:
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”- Matthew 18
Jesus uses a figurative story to illustrate the Christian truth: Because Jesus forgave us of all of our debts and sins, we must also forgive others as well. We are all undeserving of the goodness of God, yet He showed and continues to show mercy. Because we follow Jesus, we must also show that same mercy to others in hopes that they might also turn to the mercy of God.
As well, Jesus makes it clear in John 15 that we cannot do anything without Him. If you struggle with forgiveness, it is only by the truth of the Cross that you can find the strength to carry through what He has commanded you to do. It is also the Cross that forgives you when you fail to do so.
In closing, when you wish an ill-fate upon those who have hurt you, remember the grace and love that Christ extended towards you, and extend that same grace and love towards those who have hurt you as well.
That does not mean that you affirm, support, or have to remain in contact with people who have hurt you in a significant way (such as an abuser), it simply means that you let go of the hate, anger, and bitterness and give it up to God.
I hope that helps! If you have more questions, just let me know.