Living in Forgiveness

Forgiveness does not mean we excuse the wrong doing by saying “it’s no big deal. He/she couldn’t help it.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times:” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but  seventy-seven timesMatthew 18:21

What is Jesus saying?

Sometimes God uses the most unlikely persons to teach us a lesson. One morning I was giving out pills to an elderly patient at the Care Home where I was working as a nurse.

We hadn’t really been talking –in fact she often didn’t make sense at all– but this time her speech was clear “We must live in forgiveness—every single day,” she said as she patted my hand. “When I think of how much Jesus has forgiven me I love him and I want to thank him and thank him.”

Of course she didn’t know that at that very moment, I was struggling with a forgiveness issue. This person had hurt  me once too many times , I figured. I could not forgive again.” Now Jesus’ message came to me clearly: “Forgive him as I have forgiven you.”

How did Jesus forgive? Every time somebody hurt him, he forgave. Every time an injustice came his way, he forgave.

Someone has said, “Forgiveness is a lifelong process. Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” Jesus did not find forgiveness easy either. He showed us that forgiveness has a cross  in it. It costs us something. But un-forgiveness has an even greater price: It makes prisoners out of us.

Forgiveness does not mean we excuse the wrong doing by saying “it’s no big deal. He/she couldn’t help it. Forgiveness means acknowledging the wrong done (yes, it was  mean)  and then deciding to let go of anger and bitterness and the need to get even.

Sometimes it will require talking, but I’ve discovered when emotions are hot, talking does more  harm than good. Forgiveness means I turn it over to Jesus and let him handle the unfairness.

Now it was time for me to act upon this truth. I hurried into the laundry room where I could pray alone. “Dear Jesus,” I prayed. “I want to forgive this person. I surrender the hurt and bitterness to you. I want to be free of it. I want your love to flow through me to this person.”

Is there someone you need to forgive.

By Helen Lescheid
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•  The Gift of Forgiveness | by John William Smith

•  Prayer of Forgiveness  

•  Salvation Explained

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