Petition (Ask for your needs)
Read: Matthew 18:21-35
Yesterday, we reflected on the fact that some situations seem beyond our ability to forgive, but through the power of Jesus, we know that forgiveness is NOT impossible. If you listened to Pastor Craig’s message on Sunday, he shared with us some other things that forgiveness is NOT. For me, these “nots” give me a new perspective on forgiveness that is encouraging in my journey to follow Jesus.
Have you ever denied yourself (or been denied by someone you confided in) the right to feel pain? This is what it sounds like: “it’s going to be okay” or “it will all work out, don’t worry about it.” Sometimes, in the moment, it’s not okay, and allowing yourself permission to hurt is part of the process toward healing. What about the age-old saying that has set a standard you won’t find in the Bible - “forgive and forget.” How many times have you beat yourself up for not forgiving someone because you couldn’t forget? And, how many of us have been unable to reconcile a relationship that has gone terribly wrong? Yes, reconciliation sometimes happens, and it’s incredible when it does, but reconciliation is not condition of forgiveness. As Pastor Craig reminded us, reconciliation takes two willing people, but forgiveness only takes you. Finally, as Jesus reminds us in Matthew chapter 18, forgiveness is also not a one and done deal. Jewish tradition limited forgiveness to three times. So, when Peter was willing to forgive seven times, it sounded radically generous. But Jesus stretches Peter’s and mankind’s imagination, teaching us that forgiveness is unlimited. So, if it takes you seventy-seven or seventy times seven or seven times infinity times, forgive them because forgiveness is what we ALL need.
Is there an offense that still causes you to hurt? Is there an offense you can’t forget no matter how hard you try? Has reconciliation with someone been impossible to achieve? Do you still have to forgive the same person over and over and over again? If your answer to any or all of those was yes, be encouraged, because forgiveness is not minimizing the hurt; it’s not forgetting what happened; it’s not reconciliation; it’s not one and done and it most certainly is NOT impossible through the power of Jesus Christ.
Pray: Thank you, God, that your forgiveness is perfect, unlimited and all-powerful. Give us the ability to forgive even when we hurt or we can’t forget or we can’t reconcile the relationship or we have to forgive them over and over again. In Jesus’ name, amen.