Reflection for Today:
Matthew 18:21 – Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?
As a follower of Jesus, I know in my head I am to perpetually forgive, but this truth does not always migrate to my heart. It is a struggle to be patient with, much less to forgive those who are reckless with their words and angry in their attitude. My heartfelt forgiveness does not catch up with my head knowledge until I truly take to heart the depth and breadth of God’s forgiveness.
Christ’s clemency on the cross for mankind is unconditional for all who believe. “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). The reminder that we are have been saved by grace grows humility and dismisses pride. Indeed, a pride-less person is able to offer perpetual forgiveness to offenders.
Have you been treated unjustly and accused unfairly? Has someone you really respected let you down? Has a friend gossiped about you, or has a church member lied to you? It is possible to stay stuck in self-pity and anger, and we will miss an opportunity to model mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Jesus says it is easy to love those who love us; even the world does this.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that” (Luke 6:31–33). Thus, heartfelt forgiveness goes the extra mile to extend grace to the undeserving.
Therefore, by God’s grace and strength, grant bold forgiveness to bad deeds against you and your family. Let go of the emotional debt another owes you, who can never repay you. Heartfelt forgiveness opens the door of pride’s prison and releases the offender and the one offended. Extend Jesus’ gift of perpetual forgiveness, and enjoy its freedom forever.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for your great forgiveness of me. Grow my capacity to forgive others in your generous way, in Jesus’ name, amen.
(Boyd Baily – edited NW)