I have come to realize that when Jesus spoke to Peter concerning forgiveness, He wasn’t giving him a cute little math equation to complete. He wasn’t giving him a rule to follow and a number to which to count that solves all those moments when someone hurts you again and again. Jesus wasn’t even giving him a bit to memorize; so, he could add it all up after the offense, and then, somehow magically, as if rubbing your hands together to get a bit of dirt off, all could be resolved and forgiven in a certain situation or relationship.
No, truthfully that’s not how forgiveness works. That may work for some petty argument , one in which you really shouldn’t have started anyway. That might work for those little pokes and prods that spouses or close friends go through simply because of a difference if personalities or because of individual likes and dislikes.
Yeah, those formulas might works for these exchanges…
But when your heart wrenches at the betrayal and lies… when your mind returns to the offense over and over again because the perpetrator has brought the wound so deep… when your very soul is constricted, and it’s hard to take in a cleansing breath because the knife that cut so deep is still wedged between your spine and shoulder blade…
These are the times in life when you have to go back to this Scripture time and again and realize what Christ was saying.
To truly forgive, we don’t just forgive 490x a day, or 490x per person or even per incident. To truly forgive, from the depth of your being, you must forgive 490x per moment that you need to forgive that person.
Because sometimes, the pain is so incredible, and the offender keeps bringing the knife of pain to stab again and again until the pain is so excruciating that it’s suffocating.
That’s when we have to ask God to help us to forgive as He forgave on the cross. That’s when we may have to pray every minute of everyday, “Oh Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!“
Yes, when the pain runs deep, and the wounds seem never ending, our Heavenly Father can and will help us to fight give.
Yet, understand…forgiveness never means perfect reconciliation. As we are not God, and the offender isn’t a spirit being either.
Sometimes, the offense, while forgiven may not be reconcilable. The wound, while healing by His divine hand, may not allow for the sword to be drawn against it again.
Sometimes, broken things stay broken.
Sometimes, cheaters cannot redeem the betrayal. Abusers cannot redeem the abuse. Liars cannot redeem the lies.
Sometimes, forgiveness just doesn’t bring reconciliation…but it can bring peace.
And that is okay.
“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, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.Matthew 18:21-22 nkjv