If I forgive a person who has harmed me, is he forgiven by God?


#1

If someone sins against another (stealing, doing physical harm, cheating on a spouse, etc), if the offended person forgives the person who has harmed them, is that person forgiven in the eyes of God?

I am thinking of the story in the Gospel where the woman who is about to be stoned is asked by Jesus, “Where are your accusers?”, when she replies “They are gone” He says “then I also do not accuse you, go and sin no more” (I am paraphrasing)


#2

Dear Jim,

In a word, no. Your forgiveness of him heals you. God will forgive him when he repents of his deed and desires forgiveness. In John 8:2-11 Jesus is not forgiving the woman because the others have ceased condemning her. They ceased condemning her because of His intervention. She had been publicly confronted regarding her behavior. She stood in total disgrace and humiliation. The Lord read the repentance in her heart and forgave her.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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