As offenses inevitably accumulate in the church life, how and to what extent should we forgive one another?

As long as we are in the church life, offenses will occur, and the only solution to offenses is forgiveness. Such endless forgiveness from the heart is far beyond our natural human capacity, yet it is possible if we realize the extent of the Lord’s heart of forgiveness toward us and take Him as our life and person. A heart of forgiveness refers to our inward feeling and does not annul the requirements of either the secular or divine governments. As pointed out elsewhere on this site, some matters must be referred to secular authorities. Moreover, the elders in a local church may have to exercise discipline toward sinning, unruly, and divisive members. However, even in cases where some form of discipline is necessary, our heart should be one of love and forgiveness, not that we release an erring one from the consequences of his actions but that our heart still hopes for and seeks that member’s restoration to the fellowship of the Body to the fullest extent possible. The following article from Shepherding Words shows the necessity and extent of our forgiveness for the building up of the Body.

Forgiveness and the Building Up of the Body of Christ

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