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    Not Once, Not Twice, But Every Time?

    Forgiveness is hard. People hurt us. A friend might hurt your feelings or a family member might hurt you emotionally or physically. Boyfriends might break your heart. There is no excuse for hurting others, but we are human and sometimes we hurt each other. Whether it is on purpose or on accident, hurt is still hurt; and every time we are hurt, it gets harder and harder to remain gentle, vulnerable and open.

    One day the disciple Peter came to Jesus and asked Him, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

    Peter actually thought that being hurt by someone and forgiving them every time for seven times was a pretty generous thing to do. I have to say, I sort of agree with Peter. If someone, especially someone close to you, has ever hurt you, you might agree with Peter too. Seven times seems very generous to me.

    Jesus had a different answer for Peter. Peter thought that seven times would be enough but Jesus said “No, not seven times but seventy times seven!”

    That is a much bigger number. If you are like me, you have already pulled out a calculator and figured out that 70 x 7 = 490. The point that Jesus was trying to make to Peter and to all of us however, is that we really aren’t supposed to keep track of how many times we forgive people. We are supposed to forgive them as often as they hurt us. This is not my favorite passage in the Bible, it is a very difficult passage to read and even more difficult to live out.

    If someone has hurt you on accident, it is easy to forgive them because you know that they didn’t really mean to do it. However if someone hurts you on purpose it is much harder to forgive because you know that they meant to do it. Sometimes forgiveness is easier than at other times but when we hold a grudge against people, it actually hurts us more than it hurts them!

    If someone hurts you on purpose, then they are probably not going to care if you like them or if you forgive them but if you do not forgive them then you remain a prisoner to the pain that they have caused you. The Bible says that we must forgive others so that God can forgive us.

    I encourage you to read this week Matthew 18:21-35 and then ask yourself if you are letting hurt keep you a prisoner. Ask yourself if there is anyone that you need to forgive, you don’t have to tell the person who hurt you, just tell God that you want to forgive them and ask Him to help you. One of the best ways I know of to begin the journey of forgiveness is to pray for the person/people who have hurt you. If you aren’t sure you can do this, ask someone you trust to help you. God wants to bring freedom to us by rescuing us from the prison of hurt and unforgiveness. Are you ready to walk out of prison?

    Ephesians 4:32 – Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

    Jenn Arman
    Jenn Arman is a youth pastor, freelance writer and blogger. She was born in San Diego, California and raised 2 hours north east in the Inland Empire where she lives with her husband David and their cats. Jenn desires to bring glory to God and a healthy dose of reality to Christians through both writing and preaching. Visit jenniferarman.com for more on her work. You can also connect with her on www.facebook.com/JenniferArman.Writer and https://twitter.com/JennArman

    11 COMMENTS

    1. Thank you so much. My boyfriend broke up with me in December, and ever since I’ve been extremely hostile toward him. Thanks to you and God, I now know that I have to forgive him.
      Thanks so much! 🙂

    2. my friends dad is hurting her really badly, and i think that im going to show her this.i just want to thank you for having all of these nice “stories” to share and inspire people:)

    3. I liked how you mentioned being vulnerable and open. It is definitely SO much harder to remain like that if you are holding a grudge. Because holding a grudge, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re holding it against them, as much as not forgetting it. If whenever you are near the person, you are reminded of that, instinct, your natural reaction, is to put up the best defenses against that thing that hurt you. Those defenses become walls, and those walls are meant to protect you, so they are very hard to penetrate, and even YOU will have a hard time breaking them down!!! And guess what? When you have a thousand walls, its stones made from a thousand pains, and its mortar a thousand tears, you are not open or vulnerable. Yeah, that’s kinda the point; that’s why they’re there. But you need to be open, and vulnerable, and trusting, and faithful, to have strong friendships and relationships. So, in line with this article, don’t be afraid (which is why those walls are there, to protect you because you’re scared of being hurt), and trust the One Christ who will help you tear down the walls and protect you. 🙂
      Sorry for practically writing an article. I needed to say this, because I personally struggle(d) with this, and it’s like a disease. If you don’t deal with it, it gets worse. 🙂

    4. this is so true! there is this girl at my school who has verbally and emotionally hurt me, by saying something HORRID(that i will not repeat on here) about my being adopted. it still hurts, I’m trying to forgive her, but something in me is telling me not to. i want to so i can let go of the emotional pain.

    5. Rachel, I only just saw your comment. I am so sorry that you have been hurt in such a terrible way. Someone taught me something several years ago that has helped me is this “You can forgive someone and still be angry, upset, sad, etc. about what they did to you”.

      The whole point is to forgive the person, you can still be angry about the action, healing for that will come from God in time.

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