Forgiveness - it has been one of the main topics at our church. Almost every sermon lately, our pastor speaks about forgiveness. Our hearts need it - how can we truly be close to God if we are full of bitterness and anger? The one big thing that has me confused, is that I believed God says we should always forgive. However, from reading through the Bible, I now know that it is not always the case. God does not expect us to forgive someone who has hurt us over and over.
The truth is, there is one person I cannot seem to forgive, even though I have been told by several people throughout my life that I forgive "too easily". How do you forgive someone who isn't sorry? How do you forgive someone that you KNOW will hurt you again? That wants to compete with everything in your life? That has a snarky or uncalled for comment ready for every interaction? That has hurt you more than anyone else has ever hurt you? That ENJOYS hurting you? God has been speaking to me lately about forgiveness. But my heart is also telling me not to forgive someone that I will have to turn around and forgive for other things continuously. I can not put myself into a never-ending painful situation. Nobody should.
Too many times I have told people the situation, asked them for advice, and gotten annoyed at the answer because it is simply not possible for me to do. I've been told to completely cut this person out of my life, but unfortunately, unless I want to hurt other people, I just can't do it unless something else major happens. I have been told by several people that this person is truly toxic, sounds like a narcissist, and that they are not healthy for me to be around. I don't disagree.
God says to forgive. But He doesn't say "Forgive the person who will continue hurting you, and continue forgiving". God does not want us to hurt. In Romans 16:17, God says "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them." While I cannot completely cut this person out of my life, I can and should continue to avoid them. I do not have to be around a mean person who wears the mask of a good person. Do you know what else God says? He says we do not need to FORGIVE truly unrepentant people. But we can also choose to forgive, and let them go, for us.
It is NOT a sin to protect yourself. God wants me to live in peace. I will forgive, only for myself and God. But I will not allow myself, or my family, to be mistreated, to be competed with, to be insulted. You can forgive, and then wash your hands of evil, fake, cold-hearted people. Get rid of your anger and bitterness, forgive. Then, get rid of those who hurt you.