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Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.Matthew 18:21-22
I was never any good at math. But 70 x 7=490.
Has there ever been a person in your life who you feel just might reach or even exceed that number in the times they offend you? I’m quite certain that perhaps almost anyone could relate.
As a wife who had endured and great-deal of abuse during childhood and marriage, I was guilty of harboring unforgiveness in my heart. Years of pain and hurt, I kept locked away. Unforgiveness is like a caged beast, but I kept feeding it. And just like any animal, it grew. And it grew. And it continued to grow until the blessed day I realized what holding onto the past was doing to my mind and body.
A wise pastor once told me that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Holding a grudge only creates a root of bitterness and resentment in your heart. The anger and stress you hold onto only make you tired and sick. And all the while why you are busy rehashing the past and dreaming up ways to “get even” with the one who offended you, he or she may genuinely not even remember what they did to offend you, or even fully repented and
I’ve been studying forgiveness lately, as it is something that I have been struggling with in my life and marriage.
Choosing to harbor unforgiveness within a marriage that has been wounded by sexual sin and constantly rehashing the offense is like holding not only yourself hostage by events that can never be erased or changed, but your spouse as well. This makes true healing and reconciliation impossible. And moving forward into a healthy and happy marriage is just not possible.
Another thing that I have learned about forgiveness is that forgiveness does not mean that what was done by the offender is by any means okay. Nor does it “let them off the hook” or free them from any consequences of their actions. But forgiving the offense releases you from a very heavy burden that was never meant for you to carry. By choosing to forgive, you are placing a heavy yoke into the hands of the only One strong enough to carry it, and exchanging it for His peace and rest. (Matthew 11:29-30)
However, I must add, that Jesus Christ Himself commands us to forgive, or else His Father in Heaven cannot forgives us of our sins. So in closing, I leave you with the words of our Savior. For this reason alone we should always be quick to forgive. I can’t bear the thought of being unforgiven and separated from eternity with my Father in Heaven. How about you?
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.