... Suppose you did something that would really hurt someone, but they don't know about it... When you repent, do you have to repent to that person or is repenting to God enough?
What if it is not possible to repent to that person (i.e. they have died or you do not know how to get into contact with them), or to tell them would cause them unnecessary hurt and would make things worse?...
Is the sinful thing I did over and done?
Have I taken steps to make sure
it's over and done?
Have I shifted into a proper "Christian Lovingkindness" mode toward the one I wronged? Meaning, have I determined as best I can how to heal or cleanse the problem I caused to my victim?
If I've kept these things in mind, then why do I need to go to the one I hurt and re-hurt them? Just so I can get my
If they don't know I stole money from them (for example), and the situation would be non-hurtful to them if I 'fessed up now, maybe that's best. If the situation would somehow hurt them to find it all out now, maybe there's a way I could get the money back to them without re-opening the whole incident.
Suppose I had a torrid affair with some guy from work. (Ye gods and little fishes, that's
unimaginable... but it's a "fer-instance", OK?)
Suppose I grew convicted about it, ended the affair, sorrowed to God about it... Now five years later I've worked it all through and dealt with it and finally feel some peace about it.
Why would I want to stir up everyone else's peace just to make me
feel like I'd covered all may bases? Better to have naked bases for the rest of my life than to slash everyone else's heart wide open just so I can feel better.
IMO you have to look at the situation, at the needs, of the one you hurt. Sometimes it might be the best thing for all the sordid details of your gossip or your imbezzlement or your affair to be flayed open and discussed on Oprah
. Just as often, I bet, it's best to do what you can to heal the situation without dragging the victim back into reliving being your victim all over again.
Many folks here are probably black-and-whiters who would say you ain't got your forgiveness from God until you splay your repentant self across the feet of your victim to beg their forgiveness as well. I can understand that view. I just don't always subscribe to it.
Well, maybe I'm a Rahab then. Not everyone all around me at all times needs to know every detail of all the whole truth of everything I've ever done concerning them.