Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22 ESV
I was reading an article the other day about forgiveness. It got me thinking about how I approach forgiveness and what it really means. I stumbled upon a quote by C.S. Lewis on the subject:
It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.
I started to think more about how many of the things we do and say are connected with how God relates to us and, in particular, the way He shows us love and forgiveness. Sometimes we need to look deeper into our hearts and ask: Am I really putting the words I say to practice, or am I just spewing out words that fall to the ground as I say them?
Forgive! Whether that be the wrongs that others have done, or the wrongs that we live with ourselves, God has freedom for you!
We can easily be offended by someone’s words or actions and act like nothing happened, but then harbor unforgiveness. We need Jesus to speak into our hearts and minds so that we know when we have unforgiveness and examine ourselves. Here is the challenge though: what about when we can’t forgive ourselves? All the more, we need to allow Jesus to do the work in our hearts and minds.
In our culture, so often we focus on us. When someone offends or does us wrong, we just say, “Forget the haters hatin’!” However, Jesus asks us to challenge that. Let’s be aware of our attitudes when we are wronged.
Pray this week and ask God to reveal any hidden unforgiveness in your life.
If you have been wronged by someone, challenge yourself to deal with it personally, and then come clean to that person and ask God to heal that.
By Sam Torres | Denver, Colorado