1 Thessalonians 5:15
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
Sometimes selflessness comes in the form of forgiveness. It’s realizing someone else has definitely done something wrong and deciding to let it go. It’s knowing you have the right to be angry, the right to want justice, and you deserve it, but choosing grace instead. It sounds noble, but it’s a messy thing.
We tend to use the words forgiveness without actually forgiving. We will stop bad mouthing someone once we’ve “forgiven” them but we still give them an ugly look, we still carry resentment, and we haven’t actually forgiven. What Paul is telling us here in scripture is that forgiveness comes with action. We can’t repay evil for evil. Instead, we should look to do good for everyone, including those who did evil to us.
Note, forgiveness does not mean neglecting healthy boundaries. It doesn’t mean letting an abuser back in, it doesn’t mean pretending like what happened never happened. It means you want good for them and you actively push for good things for them. But it doesn’t mean you do this at your own safety and sanity. Sometimes we have to cut people loose from our life. We have to put some distance and some room between us. We need it to heal, they need it to get better. We can still pray for them though. We can still go to God on their behalf and beg him to show them grace, and love, and life change in Jesus.