Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV) Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
It starts when they’re so young. The other day I walked in on another skirmish. “What happened?” “She hit me!” Came the reply. Looking at her I questioned, “What should you do?” “Apologize.” I try to pry past self-will and pride in an effort to broker peace and teach love and forgiveness. There is bold resistance by both parties to my intrusion.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to learn. It’s one of the most difficult things to accomplish for children and perhaps more so for adults. We forgive reluctantly desiring to hold power over those who have wounded us. In the long run our resistance to forgive ends up hurting only ourselves. It’s a challenge to forgive even when an apology has been made and the effort required to maintain relationships when an apology hasn’t come is multiplied many times over.
Our hearts are stubborn, yet God wants us to forgive. He says so in His Word. Seven times seventy only underscores the level of forgiveness we are to offer others. It’s one of the most important things for us to do and it’s required to maintain peace filled relationships with those around us. Sometimes the hardest three words to say are, “I forgive you.”
The truth is it’s not always that easy. Sometimes the need to forgive gets complicated and muddled. Still we’re instructed to forgive and keep our accounts short with others. Perhaps there is someone who is waiting for your forgiveness. Won’t you consider offering them your forgiveness today?
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.