For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
–Matthew 6:14–15 NIV
What’s harder than forgiving someone who has offended you? Forgiving someone who continues to offend you. Sometimes you’re required by your circumstances to be in a relationship with someone who continues to hurt you in some way. It may be a former spouse with whom you share children and must co-parent. It may be a sibling, coworker, or employer.
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV)
Does this mean you keep count and refuse to forgive your enemy at offense number 491? No. This was Jesus’ way of saying that you need to keep forgiving your enemies as your Father keeps forgiving you.
Refusing to forgive your enemies not only offends God, it makes you a slave to sin. It fills you with rage and bitterness, which will kill your mind, body, and spirit. And before sin kills you, it will render your life miserable. Not your enemy’s life. Yours.
Choose to forgive, every minute if necessary. Let God help you.
- Thank God for His forgiveness. (…Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37 NIV)
- Ask God to help you forgive, over and over again, if necessary. (…If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25 NIV)