Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, HCSB)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)
Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times!” – (Matthew 18:21-22, TPT)
Forgiveness is a funny thing, as it is not as much for the offender as it is for the offended. To forgive is to release the weight and hurt of the offense, but it does not necessarily mean reconciliation. There are times when we must do everything possible to reconcile, yet there are other times when we need to walk away and trust God to lead us out of unhealthy situations and into peace, love and grace. It is in the space of seeking and trusting God that we discover the freedom that is found when we forgive. Holding onto hurt and anger keeps us bound up, whereas forgiveness sets us free from the weight of the wound. Healing happens when we give it to God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us forgive, just as He forgives us.
We’re called to forgive,
Again and again;
Release all to God,
Find freedom within.
Holding onto hurts,
Is what weighs hearts down;
Poison from within,
Thief of freedom found.
Lord, help us forgive,
Strength to move forward,
In each circumstance.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to walk in forgiveness rather than holding onto hurts. Thank You that You equip and empower us to forgive like You when we seek You to show us how. Forgive us for every hurt that we have held too long, and show us how to release all in Your hands. Lead us in Your loving freedom so that we may extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love best, and may Your goodness and love lead others to entrust You with the offenses that hold their hearts captive. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your leading to live a life of forgiveness and grace. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present
For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You. – Psalm 86:5