Pray this way…forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:12
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – Matthew 18:21-22
I have always considered myself as one who easily forgives others. I don’t hold grudges. So I thought. Turns out that maybe I do…or used to at least.
I was at Camp Lone Star near La Grange, Texas. It was a time of retreat for me, a time of spiritual searching and prayer. I spent time reading the Bible and praying. And I would journal. That evening as I wrote in my journal, I wrote something like this:
Dear Lord, I don’t have an unforgiving heart. I forgive those who have sinned against me. I don’t seek retribution. But it occurs to me in this moment, that I am holding a grudge against you! I don’t want to forgive you for doing some of the things you have done to me, or allowing some things to happen to me. Forgive me Lord! I repent. I should never accuse you! Please forgive me.
I wish I could say that handled the issue for me. But it seems that the spirit of unforgiveness bubbles up all too frequently and easily from the dark reaches of my heart. I see a colleague who was unkind and judgmental toward me and I have to will myself to be respectful to him. Maybe I’ve forgiven him. Maybe there’s still work to be done. I encounter someone who is demeaning the Christian faith or causing someone I love to doubt or be harmed, I’m not quick to offer a kind hand.
I am thankful that is not how God treats me. Jesus’ blood flowed freely for my sin and pardon. It flowed for you as well. May that forgiveness overflow into the lives of others who have sinned against us, giving them a taste of the kindness, mercy, and grace of Jesus which is forgiveness!