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How Many Times Should We Forgive?

Today I feel compelled to write about forgiveness. I know, somehow I have to relate that to time. Like I said yesterday, I didn’t plan out what I would write about over these next thirty days.

Forgiveness is something I’ve been struggling with lately. I’m not sure ‘struggling’ is the right word, but it’s become a distraction. Do you ever feel distracted? Here’s a side story on distraction. This morning, I went upstairs to get a pen … and I made a lasagna instead.

Sometimes distractions are good. My family will get to eat tonight!

Where was I? Oh yes, forgiveness. This morning, I was flipping through the pages of my bible and came across some scripture in Matthew 18. In verse 22, it says “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

 He then goes on to tell The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. It’s about a man who owes his master a huge amount of debt. The servant begged for mercy and the master cancelled the debt. Later on, when someone owes the servant, scripture says, “he grabbed him and began to choke him.” The man begged for mercy, but he had him sent to prison!

Isn’t that just how we are as humans? Have you ever done that before? Asked God for forgiveness and then turned around and punished someone for doing you wrong? I have too. Well maybe not a ‘grab and choke’ but I have been less than gracious with my husband + children.

The two of us are leading a small couple’s group at our church. We are going through a book titled “ReEngage.” Last week was about grace + humility. This week is about forgiveness. Here’s an excerpt from the book. It says:

“Each day you stand at a fork in the road of your relationship. Your first option is to hold on to hurt, disappointment and frustrations, which almost always lead to anger and bitterness. This is a DEAD END that will make you miserable.” I’ve been there before and can attest to that.

Perhaps you are there now.

“Your other option is to begin to forgive and re-engage with your spouse. Left untreated, anger and bitterness often take on a life of their own. Relationally speaking, forgiveness is not optional, and may be a matter of life and death. Your relationship with Christ and your marriage simply cannot move forward without forgiveness.”

So how many times should we forgive? I think Jesus is saying, we shouldn’t be keeping track. When we don’t forgive, we are like the unmerciful servant. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be like him. I want to be more like Jesus. Gentle and humble and kind.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

This is Day 2 of a 31-day writing challenge. You can find the series in its entirety HERETo see a list of other bloggers participating in this same writing challenge, visit write31days.com

Day 3