Tuesday, September 25, 2012

70 X 7

Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”  “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN!"

Who hasn't been a little confused by this scripture?  I mean, the way I see it, is that if I have to forgive a person this often, why would I even keep them in my life.  Maybe Jesus knew our inability to forgive and forget, which by the way, I don't think is a biblical concept.  I am pretty sure that was made up by human minds.  In fact, I think it is pretty impossible to do that at all.  Forgiving someone does not erase our memory.

So, here are the things I have been pondering about this very difficult command:

1.  Have you ever forgiven someone, only to have that old feeling of hurt, or anger pop up occasionally?  Then, you feel guilty because you feel that since you keep remembering it, you must not have really forgiven that person?  Maybe one of the things meant by "70X7" is that even though a person may offend you only once, you may have to forgive them over and over in your heart.  Every time that feeling of hurt, anger, or betrayal comes up, you have to choose in your heart to forgive that person again.

2.  There are some people we can choose to not have in our lives.  But there are also people that we can't just remove from our lives.  It's not always that simple.  It could be a parent, sibling, a spouse, or maybe even a son or daughter.  Whoever it is, I think most of us have at least one person in our lives who is a permanent fixture that just keeps hurting us.  Maybe they don't even keep hurting you, maybe they just do little things that remind you of what they did to hurt you.  Is it always necessary that you call them out on every little thing that reminds you?  I don't think so.  But every time, you do need to choose forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give others, and ourselves.  But I think we complicate it sometimes.  Forgiving and forgetting, I don't think is possible.  I think that what makes all the difference when we remember, is what we do with that memory.  Do we choose forgiveness again, and again, and again, or do we allow it to haunt us?

Unforgiveness consumes our minds.  It hinders our relationship with others, and it hinders our relationship with God.  It keeps us from living the abundant life that Christ came to give us!  Christ said, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.".  Sometimes we have to forgive people that aren't even aware they need forgiveness.  

If Christ DIED for us, to forgive our sins, while we were still sinners, even when we are unaware of our offenses, then we are not asked to do anything that our Father was not willing to do himself.  His mercies are new EVERY MORNING!  His love endures forever.  Love is not always easy.  we have to love the unlovable, just like we are loved, even when we are unlovable.

Don't allow unforgiveness to take root in your heart.  From that root grows bitterness, and bitterness leads to death.

Some things are easy to forgive, and some things are not.  Whatever the case may be, it is necessary.  Sometimes we cannot forgive things if we depend on ourselves.  We have to allow God to give us the strength to forgive.....over, and over, and over.

Ephesians 4:30-32 (NIV)

 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.