“forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
— Colossians 3:13
The key words in this verse are ‘forbearing’ and ‘quarrel.’
Forbearing means to endure, be patient and self controlled when subject to annoyance.
That means that we should accept that people are human and will annoy us. To be mature means to learn how to deal with annoyances and tell people that their behavior bothers you.
Then the key word ‘quarrel’ meaning an angry dispute or altercation.
I don’t believe this verse means that we must forgive in any and all circumstances.
A dispute doesn’t sound the same as a rape, murder, thief, or habitual liar.
The NIV says “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
A grievance is usually defined as something people can handle on their own. Not an issue that has to be brought to court or a trial.
The reason we think that we must forgive anybody for anything is because God only had one grievance with us which was sin. And the wages of sin was death.
But between each other there are many wages for the wrongs we do. A child misbehaving gets grounded. They don’t get thrown out the house like how Adam and Eve got thrown out of Eden.
Adults who commit crimes go to court to determine the severance of their actions, or to prove that they’re innocent.
The wages of sin between us and God is death. No trial. The wages of sin between each other is one huge grey area.
For some cheating is the worst thing you can do in a relationship and a cause for immediate breakup. For others, they can find a way to forgive and work through it.
We’re made in the image of God so we have the capacity to forgive each other for anything.
But since we can’t afford the wages of our own sins I don’t believe we are required to forgive others for any sin, but we do have the ability to do so through Christ.
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