Praise the Lord! Today is the fifth day of our 40 day countdown to Easter 2019. No limits. In Matthew 18:22-23, we see the story of Peter asking Jesus how many times is enough to forgive a brother or sister when you have been offended. He asked if seven times would be enough. Jesus's answer was not what he expected. He said not just seven times, but "seventy times seven".
Now, the number of times isn't the point. That's making a straightforward process very complicated. There was a Jewish law that required at least three times to forgive an offender. So suggesting seven times seemed to be gracious. But Jesus's is point is for us to realize that when it comes to forgiveness, there is no limit.
Psalm 103:10-12 makes it plain when it says, "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. "
When we have been offended and then set conditions for when we will forgive or not forgive, it's like attempting to stop being human. Don't get me wrong. We can exercise temperance or self-control in many situations, but growth and change takes time. Life is too precious to squander the gift of time with drama and heavy hearts. We cannot afford to forget that we are all imperfect beings working on our perfection. Remember, forgiveness-received equals forgiveness-given.
It's like the story that Dale Carnegie tells about his visit to Yellowstone Park. He saw a grizzly bear munching on some leftover food at the camp. The bear sat there tending to his own business. He wasn't bothering anyone, but a skunk waddled up through the meadow and took a spot right near the bear and started munching on the camp food, too. Even though the bear was there first, he did not object. The bear did not attack. The bear did not try to negotiate terms or conditions with the skunk, who was trespassing on his spoils and we all know why ~ attempting to attack or set conditions with the skunk would cost the bear too much. That's why true forgiveness has no limits.
Often, we are within our rights to set conditions to forgive and release. But friend, that gets very complicated. Complicated for you and person you need to forgive. As we have said, letting go and moving on is as much (if not more) of a benefit for you as it is for the person who offended you. Like the bear, don't get entangled in a performance that will cost you too much. Don't get skunked. Understand the offense, let go and move on with dinner.
Father, forgive me for my sins especially the sin of unforgiveness. I repent of my sins and all those that I have offended. I make Jesus Lord and Savior of my life. In the name of Jesus, amen.
~Inspiring hope & seasoning faith, Pastor Sean & Dr. Regina Daigre