Forgive, As Often As It Takes
Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us”
"Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying 'I repent,' you must forgive them.” (Luke 17:4 ).
When our daughter was born five years ago, I became very ill with an infection that almost killed me. One doctor didn’t believe that I was having problems and mocked me. He rudely sent us home without bothering to find out what was wrong. So two days later, I was back in the hospital, screaming, with the most intense pain of my life. It took them another 12 hours to find out what was going on. This event led to other health complications. Needless to say, my family and I have had to work hard to forgive that doctor.
Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). So we know that God will forgive us when we forgive others. But it has been a struggle to follow the advice of Apostle Paul, in this situation, to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, [and] anger” (Ephesians 4:31). In fact, sometimes when we remember the situation, we become so upset about it that we have to forgive the doctor all over again! But we will forgive as often as we have to. Jesus taught, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:23), and we don’t want a lack of forgiveness hanging over our lives.
Genuine forgiveness is hard. It involves sacrifice on the part of those who have been wronged. But St. Paul instructed us, "Imitate God in everything you do" (Ephesians 5:1), and our Lord "poured out [His blood] as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many" (Matthew 26:28). If we are going to be like Jesus Christ, we must be willing to sacrifice and forgive – many, many times, if necessary. When we walk in His footsteps, others can learn that the Lord is "so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love" (Psalm 86:5).
Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
One of the steps in the Prayer, Care & Share (PCS) guide encourages you to pray for God's blessing, love and peace to be on people and places around you and on tasks that you do daily everywhere you go.
The Process of Daily Forgiveness
Scripture: (Matthew 6:12, 14-15).
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive others who sin against us." He makes forgiveness a priority by linking our asking Him to forgive us, with our forgiving others. (Matthew 6:11).
Because of what Jesus teaches us in the Bible, I want to encourage you to include those who have wronged you, as you pray for God to bless the people around you.
If a teacher, fellow employee, colleague, supervisor or a family member abuses you for no reason (physically or emotionally), your natural human responses might include fighting back, silently cursing them, or nursing bad thoughts about them.
Jesus gives us an alternative, consisting of two parts: First, forgive the person in your heart. Second, pray God's blessing or peace on the person and situation.
You may experience offenses like these on a random basis, or they might happen regularly (for example, where a husband abuses a wife, or when you are persecuted for your faith). It is difficult enough to forgive and pray when it happens occasionally. When this abuse happens regularly, you should still forgive and pray, but I urge you to also get help and advice from a trusted friend, elder or counselor.
A Helpful Tip: Sometimes the things that happen to us are so bad and it makes us so angry that we feel we cannot forgive. Think about Jesus' suffering after His arrest, leading up to His death on the cross. He did this to pay the penalty that comes from your and my sin.
Pray this week:
God will always help you forgive, too.
Sometimes you will need to forgive a person multiple times for one situation. We may forgive a person once, and then bitter thoughts will come back again. You must forgive them again! An unforgiving heart hurts our fellowship with God. Are you harboring unforgiveness in your heart? Ask Him to forgive you and ask Him to also help you to forgive others. We can pray over a situation like this in your life, just send us a message.