July 9, 2018
Matthew 18:21-22… Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times but seventy times seven.”
Once again, Jesus stresses the importance of forgiveness. Whenever He taught on it He put it almost out of reach. I say ‘almost’ because without Jesus, forgiveness is out of reach. But in Him we learn to forgive.
Forgiving is not ignoring… If I ignore stuff that is done against me, I am “putting my head in the sand”. That doesn’t work. The fact that Jesus refers often to forgiving is an indication that it is necessary. Forgiving is the beginning of the path to healing. If you were abused as a child, you can be healed by forgiving. “Not forgiving” perpetuates the problem. I have heard it said that a young woman will marry a man who is mean like her father was. When you forgive someone, you take emotion out of the picture. problem. I have heard it said that a young woman will marry a man who is mean like her father was. When you forgive someone, you take emotion out of the picture. You take judgment out. When you forgive, you tell God that you are putting it in His hands. And, every time you forgive you are thanking Him for forgiving you. You are demonstrating a grateful heart, and a person with a grateful heart is a joyful person. Joy is evidence of the kingdom of God.
Romans 14:17… The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy.
But, forgiving is not ignoring. If someone has abused you, you forgive them but you don’t put yourself in situations where that person can abuse you again. Forgiving is letting go. I am in a study of what it means to let go. That seems to be the part that is on my shoulders. Paul says to put off evil and put on good. Putting on good without first putting off evil is just masking.
It is evil to not forgive. Put off unforgiveness. Don’t allow that to have a foothold in your thinking. I knew an elderly man who was bitter. We called him a bitter old man. During a conversation, I learned that he was ruled by unforgiveness. He considered retribution to be the path he should follow. If one considered logic, without the influence of God, retribution made sense.