–After forgiving your offender, the challenge often comes in how to relate with the person after reconciliation. This can be tough based on the nature of the offense and the damage it caused. Among the areas I’ve asked God to help develop is how to relate with the person lovingly through God’s agape love after the offense.
This blog is specific to relationships fostered among friends, associates or acquittances, Loving the offender does not mean agreeing with what they did. Walking in Love does not require reinstitution of the relationship to the level that it was before. There could be a need to set healthy boundaries or to permanently end such relationships. At times God allows people in our lives to accomplish specific tasks within a given period. Wisdom calls for us to know when seasons with such people have ended. Overstaying a relationship result in hurts and disappointments simply because the person was not meant to stay long-term.
Walking in love towards a person who has offended you requires a level of humility and determination to still love God despite what happened. Jesus taught that if we love Him, we must follow His commandments (John 14:15). Among His commandments is to love on another as we love ourselves and to love the Lord my God with all our hearts, minds and soul (Mark 12:30-31). This means that if we say we love Jesus, we will love our offender. If we say we Love God, we will love our offender. Love is generous, trust is earned.
So, what does love look like amidst the offense? It is viewing the offender from Jesus’s perspective, ministering and serving the person in love, not being defensive, rude short or abrupt in your relationship with the person; responding to their texts, call and emails in love, not blustering them on Facebook and WhatsApp chat groups; not reminding the person of the offense, not being vindictive, praying for the person, blessing the person; it is being the light in the midst of darkness (Romans 12:20; Proverbs 25:21-22). Even a little dim light overpowers darkness!
Walking in love in the midst of an offense is a test of faith! As you pass each “love test” every time you relate with your offender, you will be maturing concurrently with each test. Continue to do this even when your offender does not recognize your efforts. I must warn that it can be painful to do good to someone who does not acknowledge or recognize the good being done; it hurts when the offender refuses to admit the offense; but continue to do good, God will reward you-Galatians 6:9
Forgive, then keep walking in love!