Peter asked Jesus this question, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" (Matthew 18:21). He used the number seven because in his day, that was a complete number.
Jesus said, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times" (Matthew 18:22). Do you think Peter counted all the times he forgave so he would be justified at seventy-seven times? I don't think so. I think forgiveness became a lifestyle for him. Is it a lifestyle for you. Jesus died so we could be forgiven and forgive those who hurt us.
We can say we forgive, but what is happening in our hearts? Here are seven ways to forgive from the heart:
- Choose not to tell anyone how your friend hurt you. This is hard. Can you trust one person who will encourage you whom you know will not tell anyone? Ask God to help you.
- Be pleasant around the person who hurt you.
- If you talk to the person, do all you can to free him from guilt. Jesus said, "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31).
- Do not remind the person how much he hurt you. Once you have forgiven, act like your friend didn't do anything wrong.
- Encourage your friend. Show him compassion.
- Some days will be easier than others to forgive. Keep forgiving. Remember God is with you to help.
- Pray for the one who hurt you. Jesus said, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
Think About It
When we truly forgive, we act as Jesus would. That's how people will want to come to know and love Him. Is there someone you nee to forgive? Choose today to take steps to show your offender Jesus' love.
Pray About It
Father God, I am sorry for my thoughts about my friend. I choose today to forgive, and I need your help. Amen.