Once upon a time a man named Peter asked Jesus how many times we should forgive our brothers and sisters and Jesus replied by saying not 7 but 77 times . For centuries many Christian have prayed the Lord’s prayer and said ‘forgive our trespass as we forgive those who trespass against us’. Sure everyone knows forgiveness is important in life therefore everyone wants to be forgiven but how easy is it to forgive when you have been wronged?
I must admit I’m one of those people who liked to preach forgiveness and quite frankly believed myself to be very understanding and very forgiving. Recently I realised that its much easier said than done when it matters the most. It’s really easy to ask for forgiveness or really demand it, everyone who has arrived late to a party or not turned up to a pre planned meeting knows that. Sometimes you even have a hard time understanding why someone doesn’t just believe you are sorry, forgive and move on. I have been guilty of hurting people and simply said sorry and expected to be forgiven.
Not long ago LF did something that cut me really deep and I really struggled with forgiving her. I tried everything I knew to do, I understood, I put myself in her shoes, I allowed myself to feel the pain and I even tried to bully myself to doing it. I just couldn’t quite reach it. In all honesty I wasn’t hurt by what she did, not directly anyway, I was hurt by the realization that after 4 years of knowing her word to always be true, enduring a complete lack of certainty or hope of, because she refused to make any promises unless she could guarantee it, she actually broke a promise. I was mad because I felt now I have to take everything she says with a grain of salt, 50% chance of it being untrue. After 4 years I was used to believing her word completely and now with everything she says there was a voice at the back of my head ‘remember that time when she didn’t do what she said she would? What makes you think it won’t be the same?
I read a qoute somewhere that said ‘forgive easy, anger, resentment, distrust and jealousy are all negative emotions that hurt the person carrying them.’ No one tells you what it takes to forgive, I have discovered I cannot forgive if I keep the memory of the pain fresh in my mind, I cannot forgive if I focus on the wrong done and the pain felt. It wasn’t until I focused on love that I was able to learn the true nature of forgiveness.
The devil likes keeping you in cycles and chained up to your pain, it’s wonder it’s so easy to remember the one bad that’s happened and forget all the good that existed before.
As the famous wedding verse says, Love is patient Love is kind(v4)….it keep no record of wrongs(v5)….it always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres(v7)
I believe when Paul said in verse 13 ‘and now these three remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is Love’ he was trying to teach us that we need to Love first, then forgiving will be easy.