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
Forgiveness. The hardest act, feeling, emotion, gift we could ever give. The biggest blessing and the hardest obstacle all wrapped up in one word. I can’t tell you how many times I second guess giving this gift, but I will tell you that I never second guess wanting to receive it…agree?
I remember running down the hallway
Playing hide and seek
I didn’t know that I was searching
For someone to notice me
I felt alone and undiscovered
And old enough to understand
Just when I’m supposed to be learning to love
You let me doubt again
I can’t count the times my heart has been hurt by circumstances. Circumstances caused by others or even myself. A best friend of mine wrote a blog on Circumstances that I read this morning that really opened up my eyes to see another doorway into God’s heart for my life.
This doorway opened and as it did, so did a floodgate of tears. Tears of realization, hurt, pain, suffering, loneliness change, grief – but most of all, forgiveness. It takes me awhile to break, but when I do, its ‘go big or go home’ sort of break.
I broke because I realized that the pain caused by others in this circumstance was going to be used for the joy of lifting others out of pain.
I broke because the hurt of expectation and rejection was a cloud that had weighed heavy over my life for years, and in an instant was shattered by a wave of grace.
I broke because the pain of letting go of what ‘life was supposed to look like’ was overcome by the beautiful realization that God is going to do immeasurably more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. (Eph 3:20)
I broke because the suffering of years of trying to carry the burdens that were never mine to carry were gently lifted off my shoulders and put onto the shoulders of my Heavenly Father.
I broke because the loneliness I had felt was not of God – but of the Devil. Our Heavenly Father showed up in that doorway to say “Come my child, into my home you are always welcomed and wanted.”
I broke because I am not good at change of any kind. I am a creature of habit and comfort – and the circumstances of my life are disrupting both of those.
I broke because the grief of losing someone you love to a darkness that you cannot and are not supposed to enter is disheartening to watch.
And I broke because I realize that the lack of forgiveness was the one thing chaining me to all of the emotions above.
The last one, forgiveness, is the key to unlock the chain that binds all the others. It can happen by the uttering of a few words that incline the Holy Spirit to turn one heart.
I came to God and said “How many times God, how many times will I suffer, it’s not fair? I am tired of it, I can’t do it anymore, God how many times should I forgive?” and just as God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He said “7X70 my daughter…7X70.”
So, just as He told Peter, He told me. So I did – Today. And I pray I do tomorrow and the next. You see, forgiveness is not a “one time prayer that pays all’ kind of deal – that only happened once in history and unless your initials are J.C. then you are in the same boat as me.
Everyday we have to lay down our pride, our hurts, our wounds, and even our unbelief and ask God Almighty to help us do what we think is the impossible – and sometimes it honestly is.
I can’t tell you that I am bubbling with joy right now or that the pain and grief have gone away entirely – but I can tell you that my faith is a little bit stronger today than it was yesterday. That the voice of the Lord spoke to me today and that alone gives me the strength to keep going. I can tell you that you are not alone – that someone somewhere right now is suffering and grieving with the same thing – it doesn’t make this circumstance easier; but it does bring comfort to know that if someone else can get through it – so can we.
7 times 70 times
I’ll do what it takes to make it right
I thought the pain was here to stay
But forgiveness made a way
God showed up today and opened a door into my heart that I didn’t know needed to be opened. He has something planned and I know it will be even greater than I could have ever hoped for. I have faith in that and that alone will hold me together and continue to help me understand His words of wisdom – “7×70 my daughter…7×70.”