Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 week ago

Do I have to forgive in this situation, and on what Biblical basis?

Do I have to forgive "Sam" in this situation?  If so, why?

Background Facts

I did a business deal with another church member, "Sam", who lied, cheated and stole from me.  We're in the same profession, and "Sam" violated numerous ethical obligations, so "Sam" could lose "Sam"'s professional license if I report "Sam".

I confronted "Sam" and after bringing in some lawyers, I've gotten most of my losses back, but "Sam" has repeatedly threatened to sue me.  

Bible Verses

Luke 17:3, Matthew 18:15-17 and I Corinthians 6 seem to apply.  Following those verses, I confronted "Sam", who refused to repent.  One other church member (who is an ordained pastor) also confronted "Sam", who refused to repent and then cheated the other member.  "Sam" has refused to submit this issue to the church.  "Sam" has repeatedly threatened to sue in secular court.


Since I've confronted "Sam" and "Sam" has refused to repent, under Luke 17:3, I don't have to forgive him as long as "Sam" is a fellow Christian, right?

But if I consider the process in Matthew 18:15-17 complete (as "Sam" has refused to submit this to the church), I guess I consider "Sam" the equivalent of a heathen or a tax collector, but in that case since I don't consider "Sam" a fellow Christian, I think I have to forgive "Sam"?

And if I don't consider "Sam" a fellow Christian, then I Corinthians 6 doesn't prohibit lawsuits so I can sue "Sam"?  And I can report "Sam" to our profession's ethics committee?



"Sam" clearly broke several laws (lied, cheated and stole).  The fact that Sam sinned repeatedly is not in dispute; Sam's response is "F You", but Sam does not deny what Sam did.

Update 2:

For people who say that repentance is not required for forgiveness: please clarify how Luke 17:3 fits into that view.  I’m sincerely curious, as it’s a question that I’ve been struggling with.

17 Answers

  • 6 days ago

    When Jesus says in Matthew 18:17 to consider him a heathen man and a publican, it doesn't mean to not forgive him. It means that we are to treat him as someone that needs to be won to Christ. He's a mission field. It's our job as Christians to do all that we can to draw him back to Christ ... 

  • Paul
    Lv 7
    1 week ago

    Our forgiveness is not based on someone else's repentance. If they never repent of the harm they have done, that's between them and God. But we are still required not only to forgive them, but to love them and do good for them. Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the cross, while they were in the act of doing it.

  • 1 week ago

    Yes, and only you make that choice based upon the fact that only you know which are facts, truth and fiction.

  • Ko
    Lv 5
    1 week ago


    Matthew 6:14-15

    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

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  • 1 week ago

    I am sorry you are still going through this. I also commend you for trying to apply God’s word the Bible to deal with it. You are also to be commended for recognizing that one must reason on the principle found in God’s word and not get hung up on only one scripture. Luke 17:3 clearly says that if your Christian brother commits a sin, rebuke him and if he repents “forgive him.” Matthew 18:15 pretty much says the same thing. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 6, he is moving the congregation to shame because they have a dispute and are actually taking each other to secular court over the matter rather than handling it themselves. He says 'why not rather let yourselves be wronged (take the loss) instead of suing each other in secular courts where things are run by unbelievers!'

    You said you have gotten most of your losses back. All things considered, seems you can just suffer the remainder of the loss and let it go. You are not seriously harmed, are you? At least you are alive. What on earth do I mean by that? 

    Consider the account of Naboth in 1 Kings 21:1-19. Naboth had land that wicked King Ahab - a fellow Jew - wanted for a garden. But in God’s law, it was forbidden for Jews to sell their land in perpetuity. So Naboth reminded King Ahab it was unthinkable from the standpoint of Jehovah to sell his land – his inheritance - to another. So Ahab's wicked wife went through the "legal" steps to kill Naboth on a false charge of blasphemy, and thereafter took his land and gave it to her husband Ahab.  Read how they went about it. Here now you yourself have suffered a loss and it is reprehensible. But you have recouped much of your loss and you are alive and well, is that not so?  Perhaps you can let it go.

    As for whether you are obligated to forgive this man, forgiveness is always based on repentance. God has made that crystal clear in both the Hebrew scriptures and in the Christian Greek scriptures. Has this man repented? Has he given you a basis to extend forgiveness to him? Is he conducting himself like a Christian or like an unbeliever? You said: “I guess I consider "Sam" the equivalent of a heathen or a tax collector, but in that case since I don't consider "Sam" a fellow Christian, I think I have to forgive "Sam"? Why do you have to forgive Sam? Forgiveness is not based on your consideration of whether Sam is a Christian. Forgiveness is based on repentance. Full stop. As for Sam continuing to practice sin in the congregation, that is curious indeed. How is it that, contrary to scriptural instruction, this man is still considered and accepted as a full-fledged Christian brother in the congregation?

    You may feel strongly about suing Sam. It seems that you are seeking a doorway into doing that acceptably. Why?

    The apostle Paul said bad associations spoil useful habits or corrupt good morals.   1 Corinthians 15:33.  At 1 Thessalonians 3:14, the apostle Paul - under divine inspiration - also said  "Keep this one marked."  Keep what one marked?  Well, verse 11 says some in the congregation in Thessalonica were being disorderly, meddling in other folks' business and not working - did not even work at a job!  Sad to say, bad associations can be found within congregations too – among so-called believers.  You have reason to keep your distance. Keep it. You have reason to withhold forgiveness to one who is refusing to repent. Withhold it. Beyond that, it might be best to let it go. Bitterness will eat you up from the inside out. And it will seriously damage whatever relationship you have with God.

    Hannah J Paul

  • Anonymous
    1 week ago

    Yes, forgive immediately, and do some penance each morning before sunrise. 

  • 1 week ago

    Sam is definitely NOT a true Christian.  He might be a Church member but that doesn't mean a thing. That doesn't mean you can get away with not forgiving Sam.  You MUST love your enemies even (Matthew 5:44)

    So, sorry to tell you but if you don't forgive your brother who sins against you, neither will God forgive you of your trespasses (Matthew 5:14 & 15).  We can't even pray if we have not forgiven someone their trespasses against us (Mark 11:26) -  because when we say "The Lord's Prayer" we say, "Forgive me my trespasses AS I FORGIVE OTHERS WHO HAVE TRESPASSED AGAINST ME" (Matthew 6:12).

    In addition, Jesus COMMANDED that we LOVE OUR ENEMIES  - how much more then should we love our brother?); and that we, BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE US  - (Sam cursed you):  DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU  - I expect he hates you by now!):  AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SPITEFULLY USE YOU AND PERSECUTE YOU - (Matthew 5:44).

  • 1 week ago

    Ive been stab shot and beaten by bats i forgave them all. Forgive and you be forgiven Jesus Christ is Lord

  • 1 week ago

    Without commenting upon your actions we are under obligation to forgive from the heart.

    ... Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 

    And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 

    So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. 

    For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 

    But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 


    If you have an issue with someone and they refuse the proper means to resolve then they are as a heathen and a publican to you, but you are still under obligation to forgive.

    It very much sounds as though you lack forgiveness from the heart despite whatever injury or hurt you have experienced.

    Consider how much Christ was mistreated and abused. Are we greater then He?

    And is it not an honour to suffer for Him?

  • 1 week ago

    You should forgive Sam first for all of "Sam's" misdeeds. You should also probably listen to "Sam", maybe Sam isn't as fault as you like to portray "Sam" to be. Then maybe you wouldn't have to hide your feelings in TV series and movies. Maybe "Sam" was framed like "The M" brothers , because they are good people, but did not know all of the laws. Their parents bribed everyone. If your a cop or federal official. Shouldn't you arrest people, instead of giving "Sam's" land away, or else, "Sam" may have to put the generals out because of a shell and housing scam, because "A" and his brothers, "H" and "S" and their "5 men bromacers", couldn't be bothered to finish the case, instead of falsely convicting someone you don't like or framing "Sam" for her brothers and sisters. If they can't pay lawsuits stop breaking the laws like Roy Crock and Ruth Rosenberg, The Creator of the Barbie Doll. She should be in prision, or else, "The Unfavoreds" will be forced to create their own army.

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