Have you ever forgiven someone who has yet to own up to their offense; who have never apologized? That can be a hard pill to swallow!
I have heard many commentaries and discussions about forgiveness. The Bible records in Matthew 18:22 that Jesus instructed the church to forgive “seventy times seven.” Scholars say this is the symbol of boundlessness. However, if some people continue to offend time after time, what are we to do?
Well, I’ll say it this way, if you continue to stand in the middle of the road shouting “stop in the name of love” to some people who choose not to put on the brakes, you’re going to be run over every time. Who’s the fool?
The Bible also records in Matthew 10:16 “…be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” That is, be wise enough to see them coming, but gentle enough to point them to safety – to salvation! But, let’s not confuse forgiveness with excusing, or making excuses for others.
I think we can agree, it’s foolish to get run over seventy times seven; it’s wise to get out of the way and let whatever it is pass (forgive). The hard part for many of us is the fact that because we’re bound by emotion; or a sense that it’s our appointed duty to set someone straight, we continue to subject ourselves to heartache and strife.
Could it be that our position is standing in the way of God? Sometimes we frustrate ourselves trying to fix something that only God can do.
If there are people – whether loved ones, friends, co-workers, neighbors – who have offended you, ask God to help you forgive them, then make a conscientious effort to adjust your interaction with them.
That may mean a modified interaction, or not interact with them at all. The choice is yours – with God’s help – to direct and re-direct the traffic that comes your way.
Let’s face it, we all make mistakes, and we can’t get away from the law of forgiveness. The amplified version of Matthew 6:14 says, “For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
I have forgiven many people, just as many people have forgiven me. You may say, “But you don’t know what happened to me!” Yes, it’s hard to forget and to be misunderstood about some things; some of us have endured some horrible and painful experiences.
However, we have eternal hope. As believers, we are the church and we are to demonstrate boundless forgiveness just as Jesus did, but – just as He also did – we should live in truth, and be wise enough to know when to shake off the dust and keep moving!
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand,” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon). Email: [email protected]