What then shall we do with the words of Jesus? Get around them by weakening the meaning of “forgive”?According to Jesus, I would have to forgive them (i.e. - restore the relationship just as it was before) every time they said they repented (since I don't really know if they really did, and Jesus just said to forgive them if they said they repented... 70x7 times).
Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him." Luke 17:3,4
I think the basic teaching of Jesus is found in verse 3: “if he repents, forgive him.” We do not know for sure whether he repents, even if he says so. But I think in verse 4, Jesus is teaching that the one who has done wrong says that he repents, we should normally accept his word for it. This would be in keeping with Paul’s words about love in I Corinthians 13 --- that love “believes all” and “expects all” and “endures all”. Of course, “believes all” does not imply that a disciple is gullible. Rather, it is probably a hyperbole, used to indicate that one who loves tends to believe others rather than be suspicious of them. I suspect that “seven times” is probably also hyperbolic as well as the “seventy times seven” in another passage. Jesus may be saying that if you truly forgive someone who has repented, but they stumble again, you shouldn’t assume that they are hopeless, and hold them at hands length, and with suspicion from that time forth.
No.So let's say that the person that molested the daughter says they repent. We are required by Jesus to forgive them (even if they just say they repent) or our Father will not forgive us. From your definition, we have to restore the relationship as it was before, which means allowing the daughter to be alone with the person. Then let's say they do it again (which, according to Jesus' example is possible even after they have repented). Then they say they repent. In order to obey Jesus, we must forgive them, which would mean restoring the relationship to exactly what it was before... thus we must let the daughter stay with them again....... then the 200th time around (which still hasn't even reached the 70x7 number) and the same thing happens. The guy still says he repents, and we are still required to forgive and completely restore the relationship.
Is this your understanding of what Jesus meant?
You may want to consider how our Father forgives. Does He not forgive in such a way that it’s just as if we never sinned? Indeed that’s how some define “justification” ---- “just as if I’d never sinned”. Does God not restore our relationship exactly as it was before? Or does He treat us as if we might commit the offense again? Does He arrange circumstances to protect others from us?
However if our Father does exercise true forgiveness toward us, and restores our relationship completely, if He regards us as if we had never sinned, then should not our forgiveness toward others be of a similar nature?
…so that we may be like God …children of our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:45)