“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” – Matthew 18: 21-22 (NIV).
One thing true of life is that human interactions are reeked with hurts. Because of our fallen nature, evil, intrigue, mischief, under handedness, duplicity, lies, false accusations, ungratefulness etc, are common experiences. Whether it is at church, in the family, the market place, community or accidental encounters on the road with strangers, you can feel safe and assured of once being wronged, if not quite often.
Being wronged is often most hurtful when the perpetrator is closest to you. For the roadside abuser you may toss back some casual offensive remark in kind and soon forget, after all you may never meet this tormentor again. However, when it is someone quite close, like a sibling, a long time sworn friend, a close work mate, who then betrays your confidence, that hurts to the bone. Everywhere you turn the arrow of betrayal strikes. All kinds of emotions can fill you – from anger to sadness.
Yet Jesus asks of us to be forgiving. Why, is because first of all we too have done wrong and have been forgiven. In spite of our sinful nature, “He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases” (Mathew 8:17). In Matthew 6: 14-15, Jesus tells us, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Forgiving is liberating. There is such a thing as becoming a victim of the enemy. When someone you know wrongs you, as often happens, and that hurt makes you ever restless, longing for the day of getting even, then you are under the grip of the one who has offended you. However, if you let go, knowing God has said, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” (Romans 12:9), then the burden is no longer yours.
Many people have unsuspectingly become prisoners of their offenders. Only those who have learnt to forgive can tell of the freedom forgiveness brings, which every Christian ought to practice.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, because you have forgiven me, today I choose to be as forgiving, surrendering to you all my hurts to you, that you take over and I may enjoy the peace from you that surpasses understanding, this I pray in Jesus’s name.