Lessons from Luke

Forgiveness is more about letting go of any need of revenge or slander than emotion we feel

God’s View on Forgiveness

Scripture Reading: Luke 17:1-19

Key Verse: Luke 17:4

“Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

It’s one thing for Jesus to tell us to be forgiving and to have faith. It’s another thing for Him to define explicit details so we won’t give ourselves a “pass” on the tougher cases. Jesus said that if another believer sins against us, even if it is seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, we must forgive them.

If you mind thinks the way my does, my first question to Jesus is: how do we know they are truly sorry? Or are they just saying the words to get us off their backs?

Since we can’t get quick answers, we must assume that when we are willing to keep forgiving, in the same way that God keeps forgiving us, that we will live in the “safe zone”. Jesus told us that the “unsafe zone” (my term) is when we are unwilling to forgive someone. It’s the unsafe zone” because then our Father in Heaven will not forgive us our sins (Matthew 6:15).

So, I think it makes sense that we forgive people even when, at times, they may not be sincere. There is no way we can see their hearts and true motivations, so I try to leave that to God! I do want to add to this discussion that forgiveness does NOT mean that we must continue in the relationship.

There are times, such as when a spouse or a friend abuses us, that we must end that relationship. We can end relationships in a Christ-like way. We can do this by kindly telling the truth about how they hurt us, over and over, and it’s not good for us to continue the relationship. We can assure them that they are forgiven. But for our own sanity, we must go our separate ways!

I have thought a lot about this idea of forgiveness. For me, it is a hard concept to know exactly when I have forgiven someone.

Does it mean I no longer remember their offence against me? I hope not, because I never am able to forget how a person hurt me.

Have I forgiven when I think of them and don’t feel bad about what they did to me? Again, I hope not because I still can feel bad when I think about what they did to me.

In my opinion, forgiveness comes when I no longer allow myself to talk about them with another person and try to make them “look bad”. Forgiveness, for me, is about letting go of any need of revenge and/or slander.

The Holy Spirit has been faithful to me to nudge me and warn me not to join in on any negative conversations about that person. It is easy to relive what they did to me and make that person look as bad as possible with the people I’m talking to. When I listen and obey these nudging’s of God’s Spirit in me, I know that I’m well on my way to forgiving that person.

Father, I want to forgive those that hurt me. Please remind me not to slander them or hurt their reputation in any way. I ask this in Jesus’s Name, amen.

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