“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive as many as seven times?” Jesus answered, not seven times but seventy-seven times”. Mt: 18: 22
What hinders our forgiveness of one another?
Perhaps it is because we don’t feel worthy of it. We believe our sin is so grave, our guilt so crushing, that we cannot imagine being pardoned ourselves.
Bessie Ten Boom, a Dutch citizen who died in Ravensbruck concentration camp, steadfastly refused to hate the guards who beat her and eventually caused her death. Her dying words are both simple and profound: she said, “We must tell the people what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still!” No pit, no place is so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.
If you feel as though you are marked and maimed by your sin beyond rehabilitation you need to remember those words, there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still!” So Imagine God’s hand reaching out to lift you up and out of what you feel is your darkest place, your most unspeakable sin or fault. Once lifted to a new level of freedom you can begin to forgive yourself and then extend that forgiveness to others.
Perhaps what hinders our ability to forgive is that we never knew the joy of being forgiven or having been personally reconciled with someone.
Amy, a single mom, found herself struggling with a rebellious young daughter, Claire. It all came to ahead late one night when the police called her to pick up Claire who had been arrested for underage drinking. The two did not speak on the way home or the next day at all. Then Amy broke the tension by giving Claire a small, gift wrapped package. The girl opened it with an air of indifference and found in it a small rock, “Well, very funny, mom,” she said, as she pushed it across the table, “but what is it?”
“Read the card.” As Claire read, her tears trickled down her cheeks and she gave her mom a hug as the card fell to the floor. On the card her mom had written, “This rock is millions of years old and that is how long it will take before I give up on you”. Gratitude is a debt we can always repay. Forgiveness is a currency we always have in abundance. How often do you spend those riches?
Do you come from a family that practiced ways of forgiveness? Is your current family or community or circle of friends a place where habits of forgiveness are taught and practiced? Why not begin this habit of personally forgiving one another in obvious and spoken ways. It just might change everything for you, your family, and your friendships!