How did it go thinking about forgiveness last week?
I’ve been asking around who has successful stories of forgiveness and it seems like we all have forgiveness stories but not all have been successful! What does the Bible say about this? Is forgiveness a one time event? Do we forgive someone once and move on? For most of us, forgiveness is a process and a practice. It’s a muscle and we want to build up its strength. It may take a long time, it may take a few different forms, and it may not go exactly like we expected.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 1:21-22
We might be relieved to think that forgiveness is an on-going experience. All the time we need it and all the time we are asked to offer it.
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecc. 7:20
For this week’s practice, try letting go of small flares of anger, resentment or frustration as quickly as you possibly can. I’m thinking of things like being cut off in traffic, having a friend or spouse say something small but hurtful, or reading an upsetting piece of news that makes you mad at someone or something. How quickly can you get back to a peaceful place? Say a little prayer like, “God, I’m angry; thank you for helping me forgive quickly.”
Set it as a goal, with these little annoyances, to see the “other” as the Christ. You don’t need to do it with the big stuff yet! Try it just with the small things and see how it feels and where it leaves you.
Let me know how it goes!