1999-03-05 - Forgiveness
Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
There is an old story about two sisters who had a disagreement that had waged for more than 20 years. Although they lived in the same house, their bitterness toward each other finally reached the point where they painted a line down the center of the house, and each lived on her own side not speaking to the other sister. Sitting in the same room, eating at the same table, and yet the line divided them. They were each too proud to let go of their own view, their own bias, their own hurt to be the first one to talk. And so, for more than 20 years, they lived within the walls of their own hate.
We kind of chuckle when we hear this story, but at the same time, it kind of makes us uncomfortable. Maybe we can think of an event in our own life that drew battle lines. Maybe something was said that caused another, or even ourselves, hurt.
Peter asked Jesus, "How many times should I forgive my brother? Seven times?" To Peter, this was probably a generous figure! After all, seven times for the same offense does seem to be a lot of times. Forgiveness means totally release of hurt, anger, impatience, or bitterness towards a person. Seven times seemed to be a lot.
Jesus answered him, "No, not seven times, but rather forgive your brother seventy times seven." In other words, perfectly forgive every time. Why? Because God, for Christ's sake forgives us every single time we ask Him to.
Think. Is there someone who you are angry with for something that they did in the past? Whether it's 20 minutes ago, or 20 years, let go, because God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.
Think. Is there someone whom you know that you have offended and you have not asked their forgiveness? Go to them. Humble yourself. Tell them you were wrong, ask their forgiveness.
Start erasing the line that is between the sisters. Tear down the walls of the strong city. Break the bars that have separated you. Now is the time, now is the season. The hardest step to take is the first one.
Father, thank You for your perfect forgiveness. Thank You for Your example. Thank You that You are willing to live in me and urge me to make things right with my brothers and sisters around me. Lord, I thank You mostly for giving me Your power to have a humble heart. God, I ask that You would show me when I have built a wall of bitterness. I ask that you would help me to use the wrecking ball of humbleness. Father, forgive my sins, for Christ's sake that I appear before You without blame. I love You Lord. Amen