The Gospel message yesterday really got to me. It was the parable Jesus used to talk to Peter and the disciples about the number of times you forgive someone for wronging you, sinning against you. Peter suggests seven times would be adequate, but Jesus counters, “not seven, but seventy-seven.” He then tells them a story about a master who graciously forgives the huge debt one of his servants has with him only to find out later that the servant refused to forgive a much less significant amount that someone owed him. The master, Jesus tells us, is less than amused. (Matthew 18:21-35)
So its pretty straight forward – we are supposed to be extreme in our forgiving… But if we are honest, we are not, and this is a huge massive problem for a species that values community the way we do. No matter what you say, you need people. You need them near you, you need their support, you need their love, and maybe most importantly you need to be needed. Yet when we harm one another, sin against one another, its damages our ability to be in community with people and if we are unable or unwilling to heal those injuries by forgiving the offender, we end up stuck in that place.
Please understand that I am saying this knowing that I can hold a grudge like my two year holds a cookie. It is something that I have to work on daily and sometimes even more often than that, and its why I know this to be true. If we can be extreme in our forgiving we are able to be freed from the pain and struggle and fatigue that comes from lugging around all that anger, frustration, sadness or whatever other negative emotion we might feel towards another person. We can leave it behind and go forward. This is a big deal for God. He doesn’t want us to carry this garbage around. He doesn’t want us to hold these painful events to our hearts. He doesn’t want any of us to feel that disconnect from the people around us. Real peace in you life comes only when we have begun working to let go of the hurt.
This is just what came to my mind today…