Matthew 18:21-22 “Peter approached Jesus and asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’”
I may appear seemingly pleasant and docile on the outside, friends. But if you enter into my Top-Trusted-Few, the lid eventually explodes. And boy, can it explode! I am what author Lysa Terkeurst refers to as an “emotional stuffer” (highly recommend her book “Unglued”). In an effort to maintain “peace” for all, my method of operation has always been to avoid conflict until I jolly well can’t contain it any more. It seemed to work while growing up at home. And then I got married! Poor, poor Nick. He comes from a line of Cubans who actually enjoy debating each other. And while I found his openness to verbal sparring refreshing (and rather charming), I also found myself being forced to actually conflict. Mainly with this man I vowed to live with for the rest of my life.
As you well know, forgiveness and mercy are not an easy part of Christianity. Especially when the hurt comes from the people we love most. The idiot cutting you off on the highway? You’ll forget about him in two (okay, maybe twenty) minutes. That less-than-kind thing your spouse did ten years ago? ooo, you bet we still are tempted to sputter out some fumes now and again.
When I find myself starting to relive past wounds that were already apologized for, I’ve learned to immediately bring those emotions to Jesus. When I fail to do so, it invites a dark foe in where Christ longs to be. All too quickly, white-hot rage begins to burn away any progress towards true forgiveness and love. When we choose to dredge up something that was already allegedly “forgiven” by us, its ugly corpse begins to breathe again. And then we’re back to square one. The enemy longs for division. Division in marriages, families, friendships, churches, nations. His aim is to blind us with bitterness. And bind our hearts with the trap of unforgiveness.
The relationships we value most will be under the fiercest attack from our foe. If you are struggling with learning to forgive someone in particular, take it to Jesus. Ask Him to give you His heart in this situation. We are called to live love as Christ does. How many times have we hurt our beautiful God? How many times does He pull us back to Him?
Take a Victory and a blessing, my friends!