In Luke 17:3-4 Jesus taught, ‘If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 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’.
Readiness to forgive those who say, ‘I repent’ is a duty. To put the matter behind one’s back and to see no further judicial recourse for an injury from that moment is required to those who forgive. However, the repair of trust when broken is not so easily accomplished. Nor is it required that anyone expose himself to further injury after he has been seriously and repeatedly hurt by the hands of one who has shown himself ‘unstable’.
Churches and Christian counselors go too far when they insist that forgiveness requires returning to former relationships as though nothing has broken them. Forgiveness does not require the injured to risk more of the same mistreatment in friendship, marriage or business. In these days we hear of too many unwise pressures which are brought upon injured parties in the name of forgiveness. There may come a time when men must go separate ways: ‘David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place’ (p. 32).