Approaching someone who has erred cannot be done with success if the person bringing the rebuke has not already forgiven the offender. This strengthens the important point that approaching someone who has erred must be done with the goal of restoration. If bitterness or anger still remains in the one sinned against, the confrontation will be condemning rather than inviting, vindictive rather than conciliatory, and hostile instead of loving. When one first forgives, however, the motivation for confrontation will be one of grief for the erring person, and of hope that the confrontation will save them from the pain their sinful actions will bring unless repentance is granted.
This excursus on “Forgiving as God has Forgiven” taken from the “Commentary on The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 3” was originally published in Chapter 9 of “What God Has Joined Together: Biblical Foundations for Marriage” by Tim Hegg (TorahResource, 2007). For more information about these products, Click Here. and Here.