OFFENDER TO OWN SIN REPENTANTLY Luke 17:3-5
The Lord’s next phrase in Luke 17:3 gives the appropriate response if I have been sinned against, but also the right response if I am the offender. The simple words contain a wealth of significance.” “and if they repent…”
Genuine repentance goes beyond mere apology or expression of regret. It is a change of mind that produces a change of action. It is deeper than regret, because I involves a determination to change. And it can be genuine even when it does not instantly produce change. After all, Luke 17:4 suggests someone could repent seven times in a day! Also the repentance described here is not merely felt, it is expressed (if they ‘come back to you saying,’ I repent…’) without repentance the process is broken. Jesus said, “If they repent, forgive them” True forgiveness flows toward repentance.
The ideal is clear; I am sinned against; I confront the offender; he sincerely declared his repentance; I declared my forgiveness. But sometimes the offender will not admit the sin, no matter how clear the evidence. Sometimes there is no regret; he may even celebrate the evil. At other times, the person cannot repent because he has died or is too ill to respond. What do we do then? Do we forgive anyway? Forgiveness is not always simple (see Matthew 18:15-17)
PRAYER LINE: Guide my conversation today, Lord. May the words I choose bless and encourage others and build them up rather than tear them down. May You be pleased with what You hear. Amen.
Anger can make us speak our mind when we should be minding our speech. (ODB)