Matthew 18.21-35 (Click here to read on YouVersion)
A few days ago I wrote that one of the hardest things to do as a follower of Christ is to trust God with your finances. But developing a forgiving heart is probably even more difficult. Still, Jesus calls us to a radical lifestyle of forgiveness.
When Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother or sister, Peter thinks he's being overly generous by suggesting seven times. But Jesus goes even further and says, "seventy-seven times!" In other gospel accounts, the number is seventy times seven! The rhetoric is clear: Jesus isn't advocating that we keep tally marks on how many times we've forgiven someone. He's telling us to just keep forgiving.
I want to be clear: Forgiveness does not mean you excuse a person's behavior. Forgiveness is not telling someone what they did is "okay." Instead, forgiveness is simply releasing that person from your own personal judgment and your own desires for vengeance. Forgiveness is trusting God to be a righteous but gracious judge over all offenses.
This type of forgiveness means that instead of expecting to "get even" with our enemies we pray for our enemies. We model Jesus' example of praying for the forgiveness of the very ones who were crucifying Him. We extend the same forgiveness we have received from God to those who wrong us.
What person or what offense do you need to trust God with today? To whom do you need to extend grace? Who are the enemies for whom you need to begin praying and interceding?
Today's Prayer: God, help me to not seek vengeance or "getting even" with those who have wronged me. Instead, I run to you with my hurts and my wounds, trusting you to heal and trusting you to be a gracious judge. Help me live a life marked by your forgiving nature. Amen