How Should We Relate to Someone Who Has Significantly Hurt Us?

The following is an edited transcription of the audio.

How should we relate to someone who has significantly hurt us?

For example: How should a woman relate to a man who once raped her but has now become a Christian and begun attending her church?

She should forgive him. Clearly we should not hold grudges and not be bitter. I know it's not easy, but if he is genuinely penitent then she should forgive him.

Now there is a difference between forgiveness and trust, or forgiveness and admiration. I don't want to imply that everything is over and that life can just go on as usual. That was a real assault, a real indignity, and a real relationship at one level; and it doesn't go away quick.

Forgiveness simply means that you are not going to hold a person's sin against him and condemn him for it anymore. I will let that go. Because Christ has loved me and forgiven me, I will forgive him.

Now the question is, How do they relate? He may not seem trustworthy to her yet, just like a husband who has been unfaithful to his wife may not yet seem trustworthy to her. And he may not yet seem mature. So I could easily imagine why it would be incredibly difficult for them to be in the same youth group or church.

So perhaps for a season, to get her bearings and to let him grow up, they shouldn't be in the same church. There might need to be some distance for the sake of health and to provide a time for growth. But if she has the grace and he seems to be making progress and growing, then I think her response should be, "I forgive you." And then they can carry on in their separate spheres.

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