“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Matthew 18:21
What would be your response to this question of Peter’s? Once? Twice maybe, using the old adage, “burn me once shame on youe, burn me twice, shame you?” Our society is one that’s not very forgiving. It seems like we are quick to throw people under the bus, just to make a news headline, often resulting in ruining not only a person’s public life but destroying their home and personal life. When someone falls, whether it is by sin, mistake, or “trespass” against us, why is everyone so quick to pick up a rock and lead the chants of “stone him!” I want to challenge each person reading this, whose heart may have become hardened, or hurt so bad that they have yet to forgive that person in their life. The Bible is emphatic in how it directs us to deal with forgiveness. Not only does it say, “”If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…”, but it declares that our God is a God of forgiveness. “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.” Psalm 130:3-4 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18
Forgiveness isn’t a gift that we give to someone or something they have to earn, it should be inherent in our nature, just as it is in God’s. So my challenge is this, find that person to whom you are holding on to that anger or hurt. The person whom you said you would never forgive. Reach out to them and forgive them. Not only does this free you, but it releases them from the bondage that you’ve held them in. Do it today.
Because just as Jesus replied to Peter’s question on how many times to forgive, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.“ Matthew 18:22 ESV