Michael B Linton

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Forgiveness reviewed

When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, I wonder what he meant. Jesus said forgive him "70 times 7 times", really just a number with no limit. What I wonder is whether Peter meant repeated offenses, the same offense repeated, or keep on forgiving for a particular offense. I think he most likely meant the first two, but what intrigues me is the possibility of the third.

In a previous post, I wrote that I had forgiven those that had hurt and betrayed me. I believe that at the time of the writing, I had forgiven them. The problem with forgiving a hurt done to you is that the consequences of the hurt continually remind you of the hurt. With the reminders come new anger and a new round of unforgiveness. That, in turn, puts you in the position of needing to re-forgive the offender.

I think that is the true fight of forgiveness. It may take months or years of separation from the hurt to be able to leave it in the past. There are many times in the past that I have been hurt and have had to forgive, but enough time has passed that it is no longer a struggle to live in that forgiveness. It is much more difficult to live in that forgiveness when the wound is still fresh.

So, if you still find yourself struggling over forgiving past hurts, even when you thought you had forgiven the person/people, everyone understands. Peter understood. Jesus understands. And He let us know we must be in a constant state of forgiveness. There is no limit to how often we may find ourselves needing to re-forgive, and there is no limit to the number of times we are required to.

A quick PS: Our Church Planter Assessment is this Friday and Saturday. Your prayers for God's guidance would be greatly appreciated. Also, one of the churches that has agreed to pursue how to partner with Summerlake Church is meeting this Sunday to discuss it. Pray also for God's will in this partnership. Thanks.

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