What I Read Today;
Exodus 1-2; Psalm 18; Matthew 18; 1 Corinthians 2
Matthew 18:21-22, “Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” NRSV
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But forgiveness is hard to both give and receive. Human beings have an incredible capacity for dishing out pain to one another. To see examples of unforgiveness, just look at the headlines of any major metropolitan newspaper.
It becomes even more complicated when a person has committed some unspeakable act. But the truth is that we are not very good at forgiveness. Families can be split apart over even the smallest of perceived infractions.
When Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin shook hands in 1979 and signed a peace accord ending 60 years of war, it should have shown the world that peace and forgiveness were possible. Unfortunately, Sadat was assassinated, and the middle east continues to rage in hatred.
When we are wronged, we lash out in retribution. When we hurt someone, they lash back. It is in our human nature.
Yet Jesus tells us to put aside that human nature. He tells us to forgive, as we have been forgiven. No matter how hard it is, God commands us to forgive everyone who has wronged us.
In the end, the anger and hurt we carry do not harm the one who harmed us. That anger and pain that we carry will become cancer that grows inside of the person who carries it. If not destroyed, it will grow inside that person only to become bitterness and finally rage. Without major surgery to remove the unforgiveness, it will overwhelm a person until all that is left is anger.
We view it in the world each and every day.
Jesus offers us a better way. He tells us to lay down the hurt and anger that lies in our souls. God tells us to move on from the bitterness of past relationships. He gives us a message of hope. Jesus tells us that we are forgiven. He shows us the example of God loving us so much that he would pay the ultimate price for our freedom.
Now Jesus asks us to do the difficult as well. To give up that unforgiveness that we cling to. Not just for the person who has wronged us. No, for our own spiritual health as well!