Matthew 18:21-22 (CEB)
21Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?”
22Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Yesterday, we reflected on Peter’s denial of Jesus and how Jesus released him from his overwhelming feelings of guilt by offering him forgiveness. Today, we’ll put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, and look at whether we are offering forgiveness to others they way we should.
What do you think Jesus meant with he said we should forgive somebody seventy-seven times? Doesn’t that seem like a ridiculously random number? Perhaps that’s the point.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes that love keeps no record of wrongs. Forgive and forget, he says. Sometimes, that easier said than done. Because, sometimes, somebody hurts us real bad, and it sure doesn’t feel like we can forget about it. We tend to hold on to that anger, let it fester. Before we know it, it’s affecting other areas of our lives, souring other relationships.
The fact is, forgiving somebody can be really hard, but holding a grudge is even harder—it takes a lot more energy. Anger and holding grudges can rob us of the abundant life Jesus wants for us.
Who do you need to forgive? In prayer, ask Jesus for his peace in this situation. Ask him for the strength and humility to offer forgiveness.
If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.