Series: The Road to Humility
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Matthew 18:21 NLT
She could forgive her daughter for almost anything, except for how she treated her children.
Jan had struggled with drug addiction most of her teen and adult life, even spending time in prison for drug dealings. She loved her children but just couldn’t muster the fortitude to be there for them when they were growing up and needed her the most. Her mom and dad had to step in and raise her children. Otherwise, social services would have taken them away.
Although her children are now in college and high school, Jan still struggles with drug use and depression. Her mom and dad continue to tend to her needs and the needs of her children—who have lived with them for years. And Jan’s mom continues to struggle with forgiving her adult daughter for what she’s done to the children.
I know a little of her pain. I too have struggled with a son who has battled substance abuse and who sometimes chooses not to talk to me or allow me to see my grandchild for months at a time. But I choose to forgive, as difficult as it is.
Peter recognized the difficulty of forgiving. He thought forgiving someone seven times for the same offense was a gracious plenty, but Jesus said no.
According to Jesus, we should attach no limit to our forgiveness. We represent God, and God doesn’t limit His.
Defined, forgiveness is releasing someone for a debt they owe because of a wrong they’ve committed against us. Jesus did it on the cross for those who crucified Him. Nothing anyone could do to us can compare to the harm our sin did to our relationship with God. But knowing we need to forgive and can’t justify not forgiving makes it no easier.
Only by God’s power can I forgive those who hurt me—and sometimes the hurts cut deeply. And sometimes I have to forgive the same person more than once for the same offense. Satan has a way of bringing back up the offense—and with the memory comes anger and unforgiveness.
Yet, failing to forgive demonstrates that I misunderstand God’s forgiveness. Regardless of the offenses—or how many times they’re committed—He continues to forgive. Love will let Him do no less. And it shouldn’t me either.
Ask God to help you forgive as you have been forgiven.
Tweetable: Who do you need to forgive?
Prayer: Father, give us the strength to forgive those who wrong us just as You forgive our trespasses against You.