“NO, SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN…”
Read Matthew 18:22-35
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’. Luke 22:34 (NIV)
An oft quoted saying several years ago was, ‘forgive and forget, but first get even!’ Although we may smile at this worldly wisdom, do we frequently find ourselves reacting or overreacting to perceived slights in our daily lives? Even though these ‘hurts’ might have been unintentional, do we overlook them or do we see these acts as a personal affront and turn or thoughts to retaliation?
The Bible has much to say about forgiveness and in the abstract we may view ourselves as being very forgiving persons. However, when it comes to the realities of our everyday life, do we harbor our hurts? Do we react with acts of love or acts of retaliation? Is our reaction “I’ll show him!” or “I’ll teach them” to treat me this way”? Surely this is not the Lord’s way and how do we square such thoughts with Jesus’ admonition, “… if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14)
The question becomes, ‘May I consider myself a Christian and yet feel free to retaliate rather than to forgive?’ When we feel attacked should our prayer become, ‘Lord, as You have so graciously forgiven my numerous sins, help me to react to these hurts and/or slights as You would have me do. Help me to turn the other cheek rather than twist the knife with retaliatory words. I ask this in Your Name, Amen.