In Matthew 18, Peter asks a question. One, in a manner of speaking, I have inquired of also. "'Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?'" (Matthew 18:21 ESV) Jesus answers, "' I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.'"
Seventy-seven times! What? I'm supposed to forgive them seventy-seven times? But they didn't even ask for an apology! They did me wrong. They HURT me, they broke my heart, they-
" 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' " Wait a second. Who said that again? Jesus, right? But... but... there was blood dripping from his brows, searing pain running through his joints, his back ripped open. A mere mound of flesh nailed to a structure of wood, and He says... what again? " 'Father, forgive them...' "
I'm overwhelmed. Those heated emotions? Those wounds that they opened? The pain that they caused? The heart that they broke? Suddenly... all of that seems so... insignificant. I can't forgive my friend for wronging me emotionally, but Christ can forgive me for nailing him to a cross? I've failed Him so miserably by putting something so trivial above the forgiveness He gave me over 2,000 years ago.
During my devotions today, Christ brought this to my attention. I can't express the joy I feel in forgiving the wrongs that have been done to me. Finally... I am free. I am not weighed down any longer by the chains that seemed to keep me from feeling the fullness of Christ's joy. Sure, it still hurts. I mean, Jesus never promised that it wouldn't be hard, that it wouldn't spare the pain I feel and have felt. I've learned that forgiveness is an act of worship. Because ultimately, forgiveness is obedience to Christ because He has forgiven me, and obedience is worship. By forgiving someone seventy-seven times, I'm obeying what God has asked of me. And... I imagine He is smiling down on me even as I type this.
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Please, I'd love to hear your comments!