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The Nasty Side of Forgiveness

By Rachel Reed

Matthew 18:21:22

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.

Now when I read this, I think Peter asked this question because he had a certain person on his mind. Someone had done him wrong. He was prepping for some revenge, (with the Lord's permission of course)...but the words that followed, surprised him. Jesus went on to explain the account of the wicked servant, who had been forgiven a debt, but would not even forgive his own servant of a much lesser debt.

Sometimes we think that "forgiveness" is a magic word we can say and "poof", everything disappears. All thoughts of anger, fleshly behavior, and assumption will just vanish into thin air. Now there might be some circumstances where this works great, (especially in kindergarten), but the majority of the time, it doesn't work that way. There are usually some deep hurts involved. Some things that need to be discussed. It isn't an overnight "fix". This is the nasty side of forgiveness.

Just today, my seven year old daughter, Amy, was talking about one of her friends. As with all kids, the words "I won't be your friend anymore, if..." gets thrown around quite often and it breaks her heart. I told her that I also had a friend like that, who, has broken my heart over and over recently. She betrayed me and hurt my feelings. Amy was shocked. "You mean it happens to you too?" I told her, "It never stops when you get older. In fact, the hurt can sometimes be much deeper as you become an adult.

The lesson I am learning now is how to forgive, even if the individual never asks for forgiveness. Even if they never admit that they are...wrong. (Gasp)


You see, forgiveness is not just a word. It's a choice. Sometimes it's a daily decision you have to make. It involves the surrender of your own feelings and then a reliance on God to do the rest.

Just because we keep struggling with feelings of anger, or questioning, doesn't mean that we are failures. It just means that we are humans and it takes time for some wounds to heal. God knows our frame, and remembers that "we are dust". (Psalm 103:14) It's a struggle to give things to God, but I'm thankful He gives us a entire day to reason with ourselves and get right before we go to bed!

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Ephesians 4:26)

So when you wake up again tomorrow, remember that it might rise up again. Those feelings that threaten to take over your day. Those feelings that will take away your joy, or make your grumpy. Remember that you are not held captive to the one who has done you wrong. Turn it over to God, and REST in that! Forgive them again. And Again. And again.

Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Even when "I'm sorry" is never uttered....forgive.

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