Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forgiveness is Haaaard.

Yep... with four "A's".

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." – Matthew 18: 21-22

Ummm… what?

And I’m not even remarking about the number seventy-seven. Once is hard!

Forgiveness is hard man… so very hard. I’m sure you can identify with this too but when someone hurts me I can be quick to be like…

Game over. Cut ‘em off.

One such situation happened to me not too long ago. A friend did something that was totally unexpected and seemed to be an action that was in clear disregard to my feelings and our friendship.

I was hurt.

My initial reaction was to be like. OK. It’s a wrap. It was nice being friends. Keep it pushin’.

But then I had a conversation with another person about it and they brought up a good point. If we go around cutting folk off when they do something that hurts us then we end up alone.

That’s one of the truest things I had heard in a long time.

We are not perfect. No one is. Loving people and having them around us means that we are allowing that imperfection to be close to our hearts.

There will come a time in every single meaningful relationship in our lives where we get hurt.

And we have to forgive them.

Have to? Why have to? That seems like a really rigid rule right? I mean I don’t have to do anything. I can just cut this person and move on with my life right?

Well… I guess… but the thing that sucks about that is that when we don’t forgive the person we are really holding on to them in our hearts. We spend a lot of energy by doing this and really only succeed in imprisoning ourselves behind walls of hurt and fear.

Now am I saying that we have to be best friends with everyone who has hurt us?


But what I am saying is that the more pain that we hold onto from the past, the harder it is to open up and love in the future. We only have so much emotional space in our hearts.

It is hard to make room for love when our hearts are filled with hate.

So once we are able to forgive the person then we can decide whether or not the person belongs in our lives. Did the person admit to the wrong doing and ask for forgiveness? Have they made a conscious effort to do their part to heal the relationship?

These are the things that are necessary for reconciliation.

But reconciliation and forgiveness are two totally different things. Reconciliation is a road to recovery for the relationship. You need two people for that. One has to ask for forgiveness and admit what they did wrong. The other has to grant that forgiveness and be willing to receive the love that the other person has to offer.

But forgiveness is really a one way street. We don’t need anyone else’s actions to enable us to forgive. That is a choice that we have to make on our own.

And if God has forgiven us, then why can’t we forgive others? We have a responsibility to pay it forward. That’s the message of this parable.

Forgiveness has definitely set me free. I know it will do the same for you.

Today’s Reading: Exodus 19-20; Matthew 18:21-35


  1. man, the whole fear-God-but-don't-be-afraid thing in exodus is interesting... here are the commandments and the fear of God will keep you from sinning. bow! then the parable about forgiving brothers in matthew. and what happens if you DON'T forgive. it's like "do the right thing and you should be aight." what do you think?

  2. Yeah it's pretty deep and something that I am still trying to understand. The whole "fear of God" thing is tricky.

    It seems like in this chapter it functions like our legal system. For the folk who won't act right they gotta be deterred by the idea of punishment (jail time etc).

    But something that I have understood is that when we live by fear we end up condemning ourselves. Living in fear all of the time prevents us from being able to truly love.

    And it is through love that we have our freedom and salvation.

    When we truly act out of love it's pretty difficult to do wrong.

  3. i talked to kof about it yesterday. i'm paraphrasing and interpreting his thoughts...but basically it's like the relationship with your parents when you were a kid. you love them and they love you - but you're still kinda scared if you act out. i remember the feeling...getting sent to my room to wait for them to decide how i should be punished. whew!

  4. I'm not so sure that I agree with that but it's interesting. I don't believe that God punishes in that way but I could be wrong.

    That does make sense though.

  5. Hmmm...I've heard this analogy before. I think it's the closest way for our feeble minds to understand "the fear of God".

  6. I can't believe God wants her children to fear Her. God is a loving God...a Just God...a compassionate God...a Forgiving God, so why would She want to make Her children follow Her simple because they fear being punished? I believe that God wants Her children to freely choose to do the right thing...the godly thing in their daily life. After all we represent Her daily in our chosen action. I believe God to be female.


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