The Holy Bible tells us very clearly on many occasions that we are to be forgiving in all areas of our life, to all people, for all things. (eg Matthew 6:15) But does forgiving your fellow man mean that you need have a close relationship with them?
Before We Go Any Further Let’s Understand Forgiveness
- Stop Feeling Angry or Resentful Towards (Someone) For an Offence, Flaw, or Mistake
- No Longer Feel Angry About or Wish to Punish (an Offence, Flaw, or Mistake)
- Cancel (a Debt)
Now Have a Look At the Above Mentioned Definition To Make Sure That You Have Actually Forgiven That Person or Not. If Not, Then Deal With That First.
The act of forgiveness is about changing your attitude towards that person. Regardless of whether they have asked you to forgive them or not. Regardless of whether they have even acknowledged their offense to you. It is a choice. Not always an easy one, especially when their actions or words have done so much damage to your life.
Yes! Forgiveness is A Requirement From God
Once We Have Forgiven, Do We Still Need to Associate With That Person?
What Does The Bible Say About It
I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
The Word of God
Advises Not To Be Involved With People Who Are: (Scriptures Below)
- Sexually Immoral
- Greedy, Desiring What Others Have
- Criticize in an Abusive or Angrily Insulting Manner
- Habitually Drunk
- Scammers, Someone Who Cheats Others Out of Money Or Assets
- Not Caring About What They Do To Others Or The Consequences For Their Actions
- Have a Strong Feeling of Annoyance, Displeasure, or Hostility, Anger
- Teaching Doctrines and Lifestyles that are Contrary to the Word of God
- Believing or Encouraging Blending of Christian Believers with Unbelievers
- Gossipers and Slanderers
God wants His people to walk in peace. Do not feel guilty if you know that you have forgiven someone (without a shadow of a doubt), and yet you no longer want to have a close personal relationship with them. In the above instances, it is counted as wisdom to not be affected or infected by those who are participating in these things. It is prudent. In actual fact, regardless of whether they have sinned against you or not, it is advised to emotionally distance yourself from people who display these characteristics.
True Repentance Brings True Change
Yes. You are still to walk in love and be polite, caring and loving towards these people. Yes God’s Grace is always there, but lest these people repent from their ways and it is evident, it is best for you to keep your sentimental distance from them.
Never forget that we are all works in progress. Never lose hope for them. Pray for their salvation or restoration, which ever the case may be. For God never loses hope that you will repent also from areas of your life which are not in the light.
You Never Know, Down The Track This Person Could Be A Close Friend As God Works In Their Hearts and Brings About Real Change.
Always Walk In Love! Always!
1 Corinthians 5:11-13
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Leave the presence of a fool (not showing care or consequence for actions), Or you will not discern words of knowledge
Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.
Do not enter the path of the wicked (morally wrong) And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on.
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
2 Thessalonians 3:6
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.