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.