Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22
It can be hard to forgive. We stack up grievances in our minds. Mulling over and counting them like Scrooge looking at his stack of coins. A lack of forgiveness can cause all sorts of problems. Fractured relationships, a bitter outlook, an uneasy mind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of life recently. It may have to do with the fact that I am fast approaching 50. Not exactly old age, but certainly well into middle aged years. I have a close family member who is a rehab center due to early age dementia. My aunt who was 90 died a few days ago, and gathered at her funeral were several other family members in their late 80s and early 90s. I’m thinking there might be a lot of funerals over the next couple of years.
These events have caused me to reflect upon what matters. I’ve had lots of family interactions lately and I’m dismayed about the coolness in many of the relationships. Some due to the natural occurrence of things, stages of life, distance etc. But others are due to grudges, unresolved disagreements. Things that happened decades ago that are talked about as if they happened last week. Anger, hardness of heart.
The Pastor at my aunt’s funeral urged us to reflect. To reflect on our relationships with one another and our relationship with God.
As you are probably aware, God talks a lot about forgiveness in the Bible. He is the God of forgiveness. Jesus came so that our sins can be forgiven and we can be restored into a right relationship with God.
God longs for us to experience his forgiveness and to extend it to others. He wants us not only to be right in our relationship with Him – but also with other people, believers and non-believers. Through our forgiveness He is honored, we are blessed, and so are others. We experience peace.
I don’t want to spend my years keeping track of slights and wrongs done to me. I want to love and forgive, to experience peace and blessings. I would love to be known for that (and for it to actually be true of me as well).
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13