When someone asks for forgiveness, I’ve sometimes said: “There is nothing to forgive.” And a friend recently said that to me for something I felt bad about.
I wonder if that is right.
For some reason the person and I asked for forgiveness. It could be a mis-directed conscience. It could be a genuine mis-step. It could be sin. It could genuinely be nothing.
But the person is troubled
Even if you aren’t troubled by whatever happened, the person was troubled enough to ask for forgiveness.
After thinking about when I’ve used the phrase or been the recipient of the phrase, I will never again say it.
Instead, I plan to ask about what prompted the request for forgiveness, explore, if appropriate, what the person thinks about the issue and, if there is an issue, how I can help.
What’s going on?
Why did you ask?
What do you think was wrong?
A possible opportunity
Maybe this is an opportunity to help the person move forward in his/her Christian life. Help them understand if there really was nothing amiss. Or help them understand how to tackle, with God’s help, an issue.
If there really was no issue at all, the person wouldn’t have asked for forgiveness!
Things to think about
If there really is something awry, you don’t want to condone a problem.
If the person needs some help, you don’t want to ignore it.