Question:

Dear Jeff,

I have a personal predicament on my hands: I don't think I'm forgiving enough to the point of mending relationships or maintaining friendships. I mean, I can look at plenty of Bible verses about forgiveness, and I do, but at best it just makes me detach myself away from the person as to not feel enough of a connection to be angry or upset and condemn. I'm fine forgiving or being okay with something, as long as I don't feel connected anymore.

For example: I have a friend who was my Christian friend, but I haven't texted her in months. Literally. So I struck up conversation with her, and I find out she's pregnant. What? And I don't know how to feel about that. I shouldn't have to "forgive" her because I have absolutely no room to throw rocks, and condemn, and I get that. But I just can't feel like being her close friend anymore after knowing she broke such a crucial commandment. She says she wouldn't change anything. And, yes, John 12:47 records that even Jesus says He doesn't condemn, because His Word has people condemn themselves in the end.

But I mean, I can't feel like I can respect this girl anymore. Am I being a hypocrite because I was so close to having sex a little bit ago? Well no, I don't think so. because the fact of the matter is, I'm still a virgin. I'm an all-around virgin; I didn't have the girl even give me oral sex because I was too convicted. But that just doesn't let me have any sympathy. I just think "if I could resist, anyone has the ability to resist."

Can you give me some help here please? What insight do you have for my situation?


Answer:

A few things to consider:

First, you are trying to forgive what wasn't done against you. Yes, you are disappointed in her behavior, but she didn't harm you by her sin, she harmed herself and her relationship with her Lord. " Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (I Corinthians 6:18). You weren't involved in this sin, so there is no debt against you that you can release her from.

Second, she hasn't asked for your forgiveness. A Christian must always be willing to forgive another person (Matthew 6:14-15), but a part of forgiveness is that the person who has done harm has changed his mind about what he did. "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him" (Luke 17:4). She thinks she has done no wrong and says she would do it again. That is sad, and it should become a teachable moment because her soul is in jeopardy (Hebrews 13:4). She needs to get right with God (I John 1:9). In this you become the teacher of what is good.

"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:17-20).

Yes, in some ways your relationship has taken a hit. You found out that she is not as devoted to God. Not because she gave into sin and had sex, but because she is trying to justify her sin. Until she turns away from such sins, it is going to be hard to have a close relationship because you don't see eye-to-eye on the matter of fornication.

But even in this matter, you need to have sympathy. You came really close to having sex. Yes, you avoided the actual act, but sin did have you in its snare for a while. It should cause you to realize that it would not have taken much to have pushed you over the edge. Be thankful that push didn't come, but also realize that people do give into sin. "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:10). It is not that you did not sin, it is that you sinned in a different way.

The parable of the servant owing 10,000 talents was given to teach us the need to be sympathetic (Matthew 18:21-35). What you need to have is sympathy for her current plight and give what you can to encourage her to rectify her situation with God. Never be haughty or arrogant that because you avoided a sin that you are somehow superior to those who gave in to the same sin.

You're right, Jeff. Funny how that always seems to be the case, doesn't it?

I'll have you know that I was talking to her earlier today, and she said that she was willing to be friends -- I was almost like a brother to her -- and if not, then hopefully our paths could cross in the future, and we could rekindle our friendship. I already had the intention of talking to her and trying to sort things out. I told her that, of course, I wanted to be friends. I'd practically be the utmost of jerks if I were to turn her away in her time of need.

I'm glad you told me some of these Bible parables again. You're right. I was not explicitly offended here, and no debt was against me in the case. I was just very sad to hear the tragic news that she's pregnant, but I'm never going to hold that against her.

Thank you, again, for your response.