I think if we are entirely honest, we all battle with forgiving someone who has hurt us deeply. It is almost as if we want to hold on to the unforgiveness because they don't really deserve being forgiven..
I have battled this, even recently when a family member hurt my son needlessly by betraying a confidence to him that was totally unnecessary and just hurt him for no reason-and stabbed me in the heart with her words. This particular family member is one I am sure most of you have in your family tree- the thorn in the side who loves to prick you at every opportunity, and who, like a bad smell, keeps reappearing in your life and sucks you dry but who gives nothing in return. Remember, I am talking honestly here... most of us know someone like this..
So how do you put the matter right when you can't bear another prick of the thorns. When their very presence around you is toxic.. ? I have come to understand that forgiveness is necessary at all times. Jesus told us to forgive our brother seven times seventy and to turn the other cheek if it is struck... but after that, what happens to prevent a complete breakdown of the recipient of the thorny pricks? I mean, when seven times seventy becomes seventy times seven thousand and one is bloody and bruised from thorn pricks and turning the other cheek until the jaw is dislocated?
Well, we are still required to forgive. In fact, it is vital for us- for our health, both physical and spiritual.. So, we forgive. Then what? For me, I believe there comes a time when one has to hand the person over to God, and then to pray for them and to love them from afar. We do not have to love them at a close distance, or even to talk to them if it is too painful- and by the time the situation gets to this point, talking is usually painful...
By forgiving them you release yourself from anger that permeates into every aspect of your life and ruins your peace and closeness to God. By giving them to God, you are pleasing Him as you pray for them and do not harbour resentment or ill feeling. I do not see distancing oneself is unbiblical, provided that one has forgiven that person and prays for them...
© Glenys Robyn Hicks
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Mathew 18:22