Two Kinds of Forgiveness 
Knowledge Avoids Confusion & Injustice
by Pastor John Hamel

Testimonial:  "Thank you for sharing this very timely word in season to the moment. We are having to deal with an extremely unrepentant and very defiant wrongdoer in our lives who seeks to continually hurt us and our family. God showed us that enough is enough and that we are to shut the door on them.  They have chosen to be shut outside of His covering with continual lies, mocking and planned schemes against us. The only door back into our lives is The Door - Jesus. This article has put this to rest in my heart and confirmed that we are doing the right thing for their benefit. Thank you."  L.D. England

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Live Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Forgiving Unintentional Hurts or Offenses

Chapter 2: Confronting Intentional Hurts or Offenses

  A Personal Illustration

  Compounding an Already Dangerous Problem

  The Holy Spirit Speaks & Warns Supernaturally

  Holding Their Feet to the Fire for Their Benefit

  The Importance of Harboring No Ill Will






"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:31-32)


Next to a lack of understanding righteousness, refusing to forgive others who hurt or offend us is possibly the greatest enemy of prayer.  


If you are having trouble forgiving, go to God with it, ask Him to help you in Jesus’ Name.  He will do exactly that.  He is not angry with your struggle.  He wants to help you with your struggle.  


I always say, "When you're in trouble, run to God.  Don't run away from Him.  He's just waiting to help you."


Some Christians find themselves struggling with un-forgiveness and wrongly believe that until they get it dealt with, God will have nothing to do with them.  This is not true.  God is our Father and He desires us to approach Him for His help with all things, including the problem of un-forgiveness.


"Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)


Even Jesus struggled with un-forgiveness at times. However, in His case, He never yielded to it.  But he was tempted by it.  The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted.  Therefore, He is certainly equipped to help us with the problem of un-forgiveness.


"For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)


In the Bible Jesus taught us that there are two kinds of forgiveness. Knowing the difference between the two can avoid great confusion and injustice. Let's look at them. 



Chapter 1: Forgiving Unintentional Hurts or Offenses


And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26)  


When someone sins against us unconsciously, or unintentionally hurts or offends us, we are to forgive him or her immediately.  


This is the kind of forgiveness that Jesus is talking about in the above verse of Scripture. This will become clearer as you continue to read this study.  


If someone did not intend to harm us, yet somehow they managed to do exactly that, we must forgive and release them immediately, without question and without confrontation.  


It is quite common, in their humanity, for others to both say and do offensive, hurtful things to us because they simply did not consider the consequences of their words or actions. There was no malice, maybe just a little insensitivity or maybe even stupidity.


When this occurs we have a God-given mandate to immediately and whole-heartedly forgive them. Holding a grudge and refusing to forgive unintentional hurts or offenses could result in severe consequences. 


Jesus said if we do not forgive unintentional hurts or offenses, we cannot be forgiven by God. This type of disobedient behavior could quite easily block the spout where God's provision and protection come out.


The Born Again Christian can simply no longer afford to live with un-forgiveness in their heart.


However, there is another situation concerning forgiveness which Jesus also addressed in the Bible.  This situation is when people intentionally hurt or offend us.  


This type of situation is to be handled quite differently indeed.



Chapter 2: Confronting Intentional Hurts or Offenses


“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)


Initially, here in Luke 17, it may sound to the un-initiated hearer that Jesus is contradicting what He said in Mark 11:25.  There He said, "When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any."  


Yet here, Jesus said if a brother or a sister trespass against us we are to rebuke them and only if they repent are we to forgive them.


However, this seeming contradiction is cleared up immediately when we realize that Jesus was obviously talking about those who sin against us unconsciously or unintentionally in Mark 11:25.  


But here, in Luke 17 He is quite obviously referring to when an individual sins against us consciously and intentionally.


Jesus clearly differentiates between these two sets of circumstances.


Here, in Luke 17, Jesus refers to one individual sinning against another individual consciously and intentionally, even at times with malice in mind.  In that situation we are to rebuke or to censure that individual, letting them know their behavior is unacceptable.  


Jesus instructs us to actually confront them, rebuke them if necessary, letting them know that they wrongly crossed our boundaries.  If they desire to continue the relationship, we must require they apologize and offer some sort of assurance that it will not happen again. 


In some cases this may even require the intentional offender to make restitution.  


If they repent as a result of being lovingly but firmly rebuked, we are to restore them immediately.  


If they should make the same mistake again, realizing their error and repenting again, we are to forgive them again, no matter how frequently we must do so.


On the other hand, if they refuse to repent for having intentionally hurt or offended us, then we must continue to walk in love toward them but avoid them and censure them. 


"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)  


This way they will get the message that they have violated our reasonable boundaries.  


This way they will get the message that they will not be allowed to continue to do.  


This way they will get the message that unless they are willing to restore broken trust, there can be no fellowship.


Sometimes the best way you can walk in love towards someone is to avoid them entirely until they learn how to conduct themselves honestly and with dignity. 


The wisdom of God dictates that we avoid troublemakers or they will clobber us.


"A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered." (Proverbs 27:12 Message Bible)



A Personal Illustration


I once had a personal friend of twenty-six years. He was a believer who was called to preach the Gospel but he was not completely prepared to do so.  My wife and I very generously provided him with over 300 of my very best outlines for preaching and teaching. He believed he had a Calling on his life to preach the Gospel in South America and we determined to help him.


While home from South America itinerating and raising money for his South American ministry, he came through Nashville, Tennessee, where we lived.  We very generously hosted him and his new wife. We placed them in a hotel, paid for all of their meals while they were here, filled their automobile with gasoline and sent them on their way with a very generous cash offering.  


Soon after their departure from Nashville, I visited his website, something I did not often do.  To my shock and dismay I discovered he had taken multiple articles from my Ministry website and moved them to his website without asking my permission.  


I also noticed that he made absolutely no changes whatsoever to any of the articles - with one exception.  He removed my name as the author from every one of those articles.  


In most cases he had replaced my name with his own name.  In other cases he simply left my name off, knowing the reader would assume he wrote it.  


He had even gone so far as to put his name on one of my major personal supernatural testimonies as if he had experienced it and not me.


It was not enough that we had given him over 300 of my best outlines.  He had to steal more and put his name on them.


To pour salt in the wound, all of these plagiarized articles were sitting on his website while we were hosting him and his wife in Nashville, Tennessee.


In obedience to Jesus' command to confront and rebuke him, I contacted him.  I told him I had discovered what he had done.  I informed him that it was plagiarism and against both the Law of God and the law of man.  I respectfully demanded an apology, the removal of the articles and assurance that it would never happen again.


But notice, I did not automatically offer him forgiveness.  Reason being, he had not sinned against me unintentionally, but rather he had sinned against me quite intentionally.  


This was not a simple, unintentional human mistake. This was a deliberate act of theft and plagiarism as a conscious decision of his own God-given free will.



Compounding an Already Dangerous Problem


In place of immediately repenting, my Minister friend chose to play dumb.  He insisted he did not know what I was talking about.  I told him the exact articles he had plagiarized from my website and exactly where they were on his website.  


Yet, he continued to insist that he did not know what I was referring to while the articles began to slowly disappear from his website, one at a time.  Sadly, this man to this day has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever.  


He has refused to repent and apologize but he did do the following.


This Minister of the Gospel began to slander me and falsely accuse me of having no credibility to any and all individuals whom he was concerned I might contact concerning his plagiarism of my copyrighted materials.  In doing so he simply compounded his problem.  


I reminded him of Jesus' command in Matthew's Gospel to make right his wrongs or he would suffer the consequences. 


"Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother has ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge and the judge deliver thee to the officer and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence til thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." (Matthew 5:23-26) 


I kindly, but firmly, warned him again and again that if he did not admit what he had done by plagiarizing from my website and fearfully destroying my credibility with those he did, he could lose his present new position as the Dean of a Word of Faith Bible school in Bolivia, South America - if not something worse.  


He continued to deny wrongdoing and refused to repent.  


He refused to be reconciled as Jesus instructed.


Since my wife saw my teaching articles on his website with his name on them, she also confronted him as the second witness to his plagiarism, which Jesus requires. The Minister played dumb with her as well.


"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." (Matthew 18:15-16)


In spite of being confronted by two witnesses, this compromised Minister refused to repent for what he had done.  Not only had he plagiarized my materials, but he had now lifted his hand to destroy my credibility with anyone to whom he feared I might report him.  


Now I was further obligated by the solemn charge of Jesus Christ to report him to his Church leadership.  


"And if he neglect to hear them (two witnesses), tell it unto the Church (leadership): but if he neglect to hear the Church (leadership), let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." (Matthew 18:17)


Doing as Jesus instructed, I now informed his Bible school leadership that he had plagiarized my website materials after I had generously given him over 300 of my sermons and that he was presently slandering me to cover his tracks. 


When confronted by his leadership, he lied again, destroying my credibility with his spiritual leader as well. The administrator of the Bolivian Word of Faith Bible school chose to believe that I was lying and he took sides with his compromised Bible school Dean.


From that point my responsibility was to now treat the compromised Bible school Dean like a heathen man and a publican, even as Jesus instructed.  


How do we treat heathens?  We pray for them.  


How did individuals treat publicans (tax collectors) in Jesus' day?  


They stayed clear of them.



The Holy Spirit Speaks & Warns Supernaturally 


Soon thereafter the Holy Spirit gave me a Word of Wisdom concerning the fallen Minister.


The Holy Spirit told me to tell him that he would indeed now lose his position as the Dean of the Bible school in Bolivia if he did not repent immediately.  


I informed the Bible school Dean what the Holy Spirit said and the Dean arrogantly told me, "Oh, will you get over this judgment thing please.  God's not going to judge anybody."


He not only mocked me, but he mocked the word of the Lord.  


Less than one term into his first year as the Dean of the Bolivian Bible school, my compromised friend discovered that the Bolivian government had suddenly refused to grant him and his wife permanent visa status. 


Previously convinced that something like this could never happen, he was forced to abruptly leave Bolivia even as the Lord had me tell him.


He suddenly lost his position as Dean of the Bible school even as the Lord had me tell him.


To this day we continue to pray Godly sorrow for the Minister who plagiarized copyrighted materials from my website, lying and slandering me to cover up what he had done.


To this day he refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever, whether it be plagiarizing, lying or slandering.  We continue to pray for him and to respectfully dis-fellowship him until he makes right his wrongs as Jesus commanded.  


Soon he will face even stricter judgment if he continues to dig in his heels and play the devil's fool. 


"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13) 


Anytime we must confront an intentional offender who absolutely refuses to repent, God will eventually allow them to be judged


"He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." (Proverbs 29:1)


Sadly, far too many prideful Christians wrongly interpret much time given to repent as an unwillingness on Holy God's part to allow them to be judged. This deception is only further under girded by the modern-day heresy known as "Hyper-Grace," which teaches Christians they must never repent, for God does not judge individuals or nations.


Equally as sad, many modern Christians today view God only as their loving Benefactor and Father, a "Sugar Daddy" of sorts, overlooking the fact that He is also our Lawgiver and just Judge.


"One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]." (James 4:12 AMP)  



Holding Their Feet to the Fire for Their Benefit


Jesus commands us to confront and rebuke those who intentionally hurt or offend us for their sake. Even our own personal family members are not exempt from Christ's command to confront them when they are the intentional offender.  


This is to hopefully bring the intentional offender to repentance before judgment has to come.


"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." (1Corinthians 11:31-32)  


It is explicitly for their benefit that Jesus commands us to hold the offender's feet to the fire concerning their intentional, premeditated wrongdoing.


Regardless of how difficult or uncomfortable, it is what love would do.


Love warns the reckless, speeding driver when the bridge is out immediately ahead.



The Importance of Harboring No Ill Will  


However, it is important that when we have to hold a brother or sister's feet to the fire concerning intentional wrongdoing, we harbor no ill-will in our hearts towards them whatsoever.  


We must willingly release all bitterness and resentment.  We are to treat them with respect and dignity, but Jesus said we are not to forgive them, meaning restore them, until they repent and begin to do whatever is necessary to restore the trust they have broken.


If the offending party finally does repent, we must restore them immediately, giving them every opportunity to make restoration and to begin the process of restoring broken trust.  


We must keep in mind at all times that the offender's repentance and restoration is the whole idea behind obediently rebuking and censuring them.


When the Corinthian Church was forced to rebuke and censure a young man for intentionally sinning against one of his own family members, they resisted restoring him once he had repented.  


The Apostle Paul corrected them for their unwillingness to restore the young man, commanding that they restore him in his repentance, lest they drive him away from Christ altogether.  


Listen to what Paul told the Corinthian Church members.


"Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it." (2 Corinthians 2:7 Message Bible)


Christians must be as quick to obey the Bible command to restore the penitent as they are to initially rebuke them.


In the Bible Jesus taught us that there are two kinds of forgiveness, not just one.  


He said we must immediately forgive unintentional hurts or offenses. (Mark 11:25-26) 


But He also said we must confront and require repentance, and at times even restitution, concerning intentional hurts and offenses. (Luke 17:3-4) 


Knowing the difference between the two kinds of forgiveness can avoid great confusion and even injustice for the intentionally hurt or offended.


Many Christians wrongly believe that unintentional hurt and offense, as well as intentional hurt and offense, should both be immediately forgiven. 


You now know this is not what Jesus taught in the Bible. 


You now know Jesus taught two kinds of forgiveness, not just one.


See "Understanding the Holy Spirit's Caring Correction" for more Bible teaching. 

Be Blessed in Jesus' Strong Name ... John and Barbara Hamel



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