Wednesday, February 14
Matthew 18:22, “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
“The word ‘forgiveness’ means ‘to release’!”
When Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” he assumed he was being really generous. After all, Jewish law said to forgive only three times. Imagine Peter’s surprise when Jesus then told him that seven times would not be nearly enough, but that forgiveness is something we should give continuously!
Jesus was a willing sacrifice for us so that our sins could be forgiven. He paid a debt we could not pay. When we accept this amazing grace that He offers, we experience forgiveness that we don’t deserve. But experiencing forgiveness is not the same as living it out.
For many of us, forgiveness is one of the most challenging things to do in life. We assume that if we choose to forgive, we are condoning an offense or giving up. Many times, our assumptions lead us to misunderstanding God’s purpose for forgiveness. We don’t realize that unforgiveness only produces anger and resentment that keeps us tethered to those we refuse to forgive. And just as He did with Peter, Jesus takes our assumptions and turns them upside down. He reminds us that when we choose to forgive, we free ourselves from that albatross of anger and resentment that has been holding us back from God’s best. What is holding you back? Release yourself today and forgive. And if necessary, forgive again…and again…and again…
Who are you tethered to that you need to forgive? Perhaps you need to forgive them again. Forgive the offense and give it to God to handle. Allow Him to free you from the weight of anger and resentment that has been keeping your focus from your Heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father, thank You for forgiving me. I know it is not what I deserve. Help me to release the unforgiveness in me that is keeping my focus from You. Give me courage and strength to forgive so I can experience all that You have for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen!