Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. | Luke 17:3-4
Do you remember when you were young, if you did something like take another kid’s toy or crayon, a parent or adult would immediately intervene and tell you, “Say sorry!” In return, the same adult would tell the other kid who was crying to say, “I forgive you.”
Neither of you may not have really understood why you had to say those words, but you did it anyway. The concept of asking and receiving forgiveness did not really make sense until you got older…mainly because our cuteness no longer let us get away with whatever we wanted anymore and the emotional stakes got higher. Actions had consequences, and we soon came to the realization that we were indeed sinners who sinned against others and especially against God.
In His infinite mercy, God sent His only Son to become the ultimate sacrifice to take on our sins on the cross once and for all. He took on my sins…past, present, and future. It’s incomprehensible!
Now here’s the catch:
Just as God has forgiven us,
we are called to forgive others.
People have such a propensity to hurt others, whether it is intentional or not. As we create relationships with other people, we welcome new intimacy, but we also open ourselves to attack. You have probably been in a situation where you let yourself become vulnerable with another person, and he or she either took advantage of you or disregarded you completely…
It just takes one stab to cause a mortal wound, and our immediate reaction is to close in on our safe cocoon where no one else can hurt us ever again.
Let’s face it. Getting hurt sucks! It rocks your world, and you question every past decision and ultimately question who you are in essence that led you to that point. You throw blame at yourself and the perpetrator. Then you get to a point where you just want to forget, but try as we might, we cannot forget. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is the Great Comforter who envelopes us in His love and carries us through the fires and the storms.
Now, if the person that hurt you asks you for forgiveness, what is our response? We need to simply forgive that person. What if that person continues to do the same thing over and over again? Well, Christ says that we are called to forgive each time…easier said than done! However, keep this in mind:
No matter how many times we sin against God on a daily basis, He continues to forgive us!
When God forgives our sins, He says that He does not remember them anymore. The same does not apply for us, unfortunately. Even if we forgive someone, we will still live with all of the memories and the hurt.
I don’t know why God made us that way…I wonder if He possibly did that so we are more aware of our debt that was paid by Christ? Maybe it is for something grander? When you really get down to it, truly forgiving someone else means that you are
DYING to yourself.
It is the greatest act of love because forgiveness is not something earned—it is only given as a gift, and through forgiveness, you ultimately show the gospel.