Forgiveness and Boundaries
"So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." (Luke 17:3-4, NIV)
says that the word "repent" means "to turn from sin
and to dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life."
How can we tell if someone is sincerely repentant?
Repentance is different from being sorry or making
promises. John the
Baptist, in preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
emphasized that repentance must be accompanied by righteous
actions (Luke 3:3,8-14).
He specifically said that manipulation, coercion, and false
accusations (so common in domestic violence) must cease.
In the end, true heartfelt repentance is not just words or
promises; it is proven by action.
Jesus taught that people need to be held accountable for their
actions. He said that
we are to rebuke those who sin against us.
Websterís Dictionary defines rebuke as reproving,
reprimanding, or forbidding. It is, in essence, setting
boundaries! We see a
similar teaching in Matthew 18:15-17.
we see we can set the boundary of ending a relationship with
someone who will not stop being abusive.
Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus taught that forgiveness accountability, and drawing strong
boundaries go hand in hand . Though the king in this parable
forgave the servantís debt, he drew a boundary and held the
servant accountable for his further offenses.
In an abusive relationship, maintaining boundaries and
accountability may involve enforcement of a protection order or
calling the police if there is a violent incident.
Forgiveness does not mean we should allow others to
continue to abuse us.