Posts Tagged ‘Robert D. Enright’

The heartache was raw in the words she had penned.  I thought I’d forgiven him, but then I realized I’m still angry.  This sweet woman struggled to understand how her emotions could betray her declaration of forgiveness.  She wanted to let go of the past and be released from the hold it held on her life.

Wondering how I might encourage her, these Bible verses came to mind.  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?”   Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  (Matthew 18:21-22)

Mulling over Christ’s words, I paused to consider them.  Was my understanding of forgiveness myopic?  What if Jesus’ words meant more than the traditional “forgive and forget”?

The image of a runner comes to mind.  I picture her falling as she sprints around a bend.  Pieces of gravel and dirt embed themselves in her skin, but she’s able to cleanse the wound.  All visible evidence of the injury is wiped away until, several days later, a painful shard of rock works its way to the surface–revealing its sharp edges.

On some occasions, we might be able to forgive an affront once and we’re done with it.  But there are times forgiveness is more like tending to a slow-healing wound.  We can only cleanse the injury when we realize that it goes deeper than expected.  Those injuries may require seven times–or, perhaps, seventy-seven times–the same level of care.  It’s a process of realization.  A process of healing.  A process of forgiveness.

Thought for Today

Who have you been reluctant to forgive?  How has your inaction impacted your life?

Begin praying for that person today.

Recommended Reading

Forgiveness is a Choice by Robert D. Enright

Forgiving the Unforgivable by Dave Stoop


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