The Senior pastor of Omega Fire Ministries, Apostle Johnson Suleman, has admonished Christians to always forgive but keep those they forgive at arm’s length.
The controversial preacher said that people should not give a second chance to anyone who hurts them.
Apostle Suleman gave the admonition on Twitter on Tuesday. Using himself as an example, the pastor said that someone who criticised him in 2017 recently came on his knees begging for forgiveness.
Suleman said he forgave the person but declined his request to join his staff.
“Someone who joined people to fight and condemn me in 2017 just knelt begging for forgiveness for the lies. I forgave..but he says he wants to work with me as a staff..,” he wrote.
“Forgiveness is not memory loss..learn to forgive but don’t give a 2nd chance for a 2nd hurt..”
Apostle Suleman’s statement echos his fellow man of God, Pastor Poju Oyemade’s, advice that forgiving does not mean becoming close friends with the person that hurt us.
In a Twitter thread on May 31, 2019, Pastor Oyemade, the Senior Pastor Covenant Christian Centre and Convener of The Platform Nigeria, said forgiveness is a decision not to avenge a wrong done or harbour evil towards the offender but to have peace in your heart towards the guilty party.
“That you have forgiven a person doesn’t mean you must give them access back into your life. To forgive is not to avenge the wrong done unto you, neither to harbour any form of ill-will towards that person. This, however, doesn’t mean you must once again make a friend of the person.
“The act of forgiving must be separated from the restoration of fellowship. Forgiveness is unconditional, a commandment of love regardless of the pain. It is not to seek to avenge wrong done. Restoration of fellowship with a person is hinged on repentance I.e changed behaviour.
“Many are either living under guilt of not forgiving because it is not practical to ‘re open their lives to the abuser seeing the damage he caused. Some then ‘re open their lives prematurely and not only does the damage continue but it enables the person with the character defect.
“The fact that I have placed myself out of close proximity to a person does not mean I have not forgiven that person as also the fact that I am found in the company of a person does not confirm genuine love. Many hide hatred in their hearts with lying lips backstabbing “friends
“People should know the definition of forgiveness which is a decision not to avenge wrong done, to harbour no ill-will towards that person but have peace in your heart towards him. This also means one prays and does good as one finds the opportunity too. Friendship has its rules.”