Seeking justice when you are wronged is entirely appropriate. But often, your offender will not make amends. So what should be done in regards to those who lie to you, rip you off, and wrong you?
To “forgive” is to release a debt. This is a judicial act between you and God. You should pray it out, “Lord, I’ve been hurt and angry, but I choose to forgive (name of offender). It’s out of my hands. I will no longer seek vengeance. It’s between You and them. I release the debt I’ve been holding against them. I choose to forgive (name of offender). Thank you for restoring peace in my spirit. Amen.”
It is counterproductive to tell an unrepentant person you are forgiving them—they don’t think they need to be forgiven! So after your attempts to “sort it out”, you should deal ONLY with God about your hurt and bitterness. Forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion. It is a choice, not a feeling. Never live in bondage to your emotions. You must DO RIGHT because it is right, regardless of your emotions.
But reconciliation is different. Once you are clear in your spirit, then you must choose how you will relate to your offender. Reconciliation is impossible apart from their owning their actions and putting things right. Forgiveness is not pretending no offense was committed. You are under no obligation to maintain a close relationship or conduct business with an untrustworthy individual or business entity. The only way to deal with “shady” characters is to walk away from them (I’m speaking here about voluntary relationships). People who are dishonest cannot be trusted. Crooks who attend church are still crooks. And until they repent, you are NOT duty-bound to maintain a working relationship with them. Have you forgiven—Yes. Do you need to open yourself to more abuse—NO!
It’s your responsibility to forgive. But it’s your offender’s responsibility to repent and reconcile. As much as possible, live peaceably with all men (Rom. 12:18). Don’t let an oversensitive conscience drag you back to individuals you need to avoid.
For more on the subject of Forgiveness, check out “The Power of Forgiveness” by Harold Vaughan.