September 25, 2023 · Bob Gass
“How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” Matthew 18:21 NKJV
The Bible says, “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him…‘up to seventy times seven’” (vv. 21-22 NKJV). Seventy times seven equals 490 times. And it’s your “brother,” someone you have to live or work with, who you’re called to forgive. In essence Jesus was saying, “Forgive, and keep on forgiving if you want to have a relationship with this person.” Let’s face it, we all make mistakes because we’re flawed in different ways. Perfection only exists in God. Recall Jesus’ words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Truer words have never been spoken, and very few concepts are more significant to remember in a relationship. While it’s perfectly normal to feel anger and a natural human reaction to feel mistreated, there is a big difference between healthy anger and the corrosive emotion of bitterness. Bitterness is relational cancer. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, “[Bitterness] feeds upon the host. It does nothing to the object of the displeasure.” In this case, the “host” is your relationship, and forgiveness is the medication and the cure. Jesus said, “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). Offering the degree of forgiveness you wish to receive ensures that your relationship stays healthy and free from the disease of bitterness. Is it sometimes hard to do? Yes, but if you pray, God will give you the grace to do it!
Bible in a year: Ezra 7-10