Scripture in the Morning #172
A neat saying to consider:
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give all that you can – and it may still not be enough. Give it all you can anyway.”
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway…
Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
These past couple of days you may have been thinking along these lines — “well, yeah, I know that I should forgive this person, but they wronged me many times and if I open up to them they are likely to wrong me again.”
Fair enough. Did Christ forgive us knowing we would sin against Him continually from that point forward? Yes, yes He did. He forgave us anyway. And what does the Lord teach us in Matthew 18? He teaches us that we continue to forgive – even if the other person continues to do us wrong.
What are we to do with a person who has wronged us in the past if we want to obey the Lord’s commands? Some suggestions to consider…
We are to a) pray daily that the Lord moves our heart to forgive; b) pray for the other person, daily; c) then go to that person and tell them directly that whatever was in the past is in the past and is behind us, all is forgiven; d) ask them for their forgiveness as you confess your sins to them,; and e) then interact with that person, seeking to bless them, to be there for them, to aid them, to be for them a person that they can trust and depend upon. We are to love them; sacrificially love them.
Might this expose us to further potential hurt? Yes. People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
Now, I am not advocating placing yourself in physical harm. Some broken relationships cannot be fully mended because of extreme physical risk. But, experience has shown me that such situations are rare. Far more often than not, Christians refuse to actually reconcile and be a blessing to the one who wronged them because they are uncomfortable with doing so – simply avoiding the personal sacrifice necessary to actually forgive.
May the Lord’s grace be at work in our hearts equipping us this day to be forgiving.