“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things for us to do as human beings. Yet, Jesus tells us through Peter, that we are forgive our brothers (particularly Christians) seventy times seven. This, of course, does not mean we keep track and stop forgiving on the 491st grievance, but that we forgive as often as it occurs.
When you really think about it, forgiveness is difficult because of pride, and “Pride goeth before destruction, And an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
Asking for forgiveness takes humility. Granting it, especially when it is NOT asked for, does as well.
When we have been hurt by someone, we believe that we deserve restitution and justice. We believe that we are owed an apology, which, as I just stated, is an act of humility from the offender.
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34a
Forgiveness, especially when we know a person does not understand the full weight of their actions, is difficult. Jesus Christ asked His Father to forgive the very people who beat, tortured, mocked, spat on, and crucified Him.
Those who nailed Him to the cross did not ask for forgiveness, but Christ asked for grace in their behalf.
Grace is unmerited. The receiver may not have asked for it or “deserved” it, but we, like Christ, are to offer it anyway.
Should we not do the same for someone who spread a rumor, or even a lie, abused us, offended our sensibilities, called us names, or embarrassed us?
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Colossians 3:12-14
With the assistance of the indwelling Holy Spirit within us, we should forgive those who have a quarrel against us. We can do this through charity.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” 1 Corinthians 13:4.
Both of these last two passages mention being longsuffering or suffering long. This means that, with charity, we must endure long periods of discomfort or tribulation with patience and humility.
It can often seem impossible, especially when the wounds are fresh. If Christ can forgive you of your worst sins, and forgive those who murdered Him, you can forgive a fellow brother or sister who offended you.
It is key to any relationship. Platonic, business, or marriage, if we can not forgive with humility and grace, then we are not being Christlike Christians.
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Christian, forgive them with humility, charity, and grace, and leave it to the Father to forgive them, for they know not what they do.