His Kind of Love: Power of Forgiveness

Peter asked Jesus “How many times should I forgive my brother? Seven?” To Peter

Forgiveness isn't easy, but it's what God commands of us

Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s what God commands of us

forgiving seven times was a lot. After all, in Old Testament times seven was considered a perfect number. So, wasn’t forgiving seven times the perfect amount.
However, Jesus surprised him {Matthew 18:22} and said “ I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Jesus wasn’t just saying to forgive, but to keep forgiving. This went right along with his teaching to turn the other cheek.

 

Sometimes to forgive means leaning on God

Sometimes to forgive means leaning on God

I was in a toxic relationship for several years and by the end I felt as if I had forgiven more than seventy times seventy times. I was to my breaking point and could not take much more. The only place I had to turn was to God. After God rescued me from that situation, I struggled to forgive. It was hard, but I made a conscious choice to forgive. I wasn’t forgiving for my offender, I was forgiving for myself. I was tired of living in anger and darkness. I consciously chose to shake it off until in time I was able to shake it off. However, it was a process.
Thankfully, we have a loving and forgiving God. Daniel 9:9 says, “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.”
Forgiveness isn’t easy. Yet, Jesus tells us to not forgive just once, or even seven times but to forgive seventy times seven times.

Loving our enemies is Walking In His Love

Loving our enemies is Walking In His Love

I am reminded of the story of Corrie ten Boom. She was a survivor of the Holocaust, who traveled the world sharing her story. One evening after sharing her story, she came face to face with one of the Nazi Prison Guards while she was imprisoned. He held out his hand and shared how Christ had changed him. Corrie ten Boom had a choice to make. She could refuse to accept his hand and keep walking by or forgive him. She shares the following about her decision:

 

“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.
“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to

Jesus tells us to love one another as I have loved you

Jesus tells us to love one another as I have loved you

forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“ ‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.”

 

Corrie ten Boom knew she could not forgive on her own, but she obeyed and did what God asked. She held her hand up and when she did God helped her to forgive him.

God uses every circumstance for His glory if we will allow Him to

God uses every circumstance for His glory if we will allow Him to

We are told in Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

Do you hold forgiveness in your heart towards someone? Is there someone you need to forgive?

I love ten Boom’s closing statement: “I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.”

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