Matthew 18:21-22 ESV – Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
The sign next to the front door of the church read, ‘The most influential person in your life is the one you refuse to forgive’. Have you ever given that idea any consideration? If you focus on the person you cannot forgive, all too often you lose your focus on those who should be foremost on your mind. Anger and hurt have the power to consume your attention.
The problem with anger is that it can temporarily give a person an ego boost, a false and dangerous boost. It is normal to feel upset or angry with someone who offends you and it is easy to fall into a sense of righteous anger. Unchecked anger often allows someone to elaborate on the wrongdoings of others causing people to imagine deeds greater than those that were actually done. Forgiving someone does not mean that you endorse the actions of another. We have all heard the phrase ‘accept it and move on’ but the word accept is fuzzy and has different levels of meaning to people. To some, to accept something is the same as endorsing something.
Acceptance does not mean to endorse or to justify the actions of another. It means that we acknowledge that some event occurred and we will no longer let the event have control over us. Forgiveness is an attitude more than it is a decision. To make a decision to forgive is not enough, we must be prepared to forgive over and over again.