Sunday, August 28, 2011

Seven Times Seventy

"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?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." - Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

Forgiveness - I seek it from God on a daily basis. And, on a daily basis, I receive it from Him. Jesus' suffering and dying on the cross was the greatest act of forgiveness ever shown. I am forgiven of my sins and have a home waiting for me in Heaven, and I did nothing and have done nothing, ever, to deserve it. 

That's how I'm supposed to forgive. Really. Even if the person who I perceive to have hurt me, wronged me or injured me never apologizes, never asks for forgiveness, I am to forgive them. Wow....easier said than done! I have taken the Monvee assessment ( and my pitfall, the thing that can hold me back from a closer relationship with God, is anger. Now, I knew that before I took the assessment. But to see it in print, in black and white, made me see it clearly. I hold on to resentment, I hold grudges, I get frustrated by others when don't live up to MY expectations. It is the one thing I have to ask God for forgiveness for - all the time!! I am aware of it now, I am actively seeking God's help for it. It is the one thing that Satan can use to take away my joy and peace....IF I allow him to. I am refusing to allow him to anymore. We tend to look at forgiving someone as telling them that what they've done is okay, that their actions didn't matter. But that's not what forgiveness is. Forgiving someone is freedom, to our hearts, our souls, our minds and our lives. It takes away the control they have over us. SAY WHAT!! They don't control me!! Oh, yes they do. When you are holding a grudge, when you have anger or hatred for someone (alive or dead!!), when resentment, bitterness or regret have taken hold in you, that's all you can think about, that's all you concentrate on. It colors how you think, the decisions you make are based on it, it takes away any joy, peace or happiness you may find - it controls you! You have to let it go. Again and again and again. Just as God forgives us, He commands us to forgive others (Colossians 3:13).

Is there someone you need to forgive? Yourself? A friend or family member, or even a stranger, that has hurt you recently or in the past? Let it go. Forgive them. Seven times seventy times if you must.

"We can always choose to perceive things differently.
You can focus on what's wrong in your life,
or you can focus on what's right."
(Marianne Williamson)

Heavenly Father, teach me to forgive others the way you forgive me. Let me enjoy the freedom that forgiveness brings; freedom from anger, bitterness, resentment and regret. Fill me with Jesus' love; let me see others with His eyes and His heart. I ask for Your peace and joy to fill me and take the place of the hurt. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

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