"forgiveness is an attribute of the strong"

6.27.2012 |

surprise, surprise! i'm at the one and only strange brew coffeehouse.  i regard this place as home.  truly.  i spend more time at strange brew, on average, than any other place.  lately i have been mulling over forgiveness.  i'm not sure if the Lord has placed the concept of "forgiveness" on the forefront of my mind because there is someone i need to forgive or it is a lesson i still have yet to master (ha, will i ever!?), but getting into the meaning and reason behind forgiveness has liberated me in more ways than one.  grab your coffee and take a few minutes to reflect on forgiveness with me.
click picture for strange brew coffee
forgiving a person who has "done us wrong" is not, and never will be, an easy thing to do.  we are humans, we are imperfect, we have emotions that boil over without warning, we are impulsive beings, we have this bogus sense of entitlement.  needless to say, we have a difficult time forgiving people and simply letting go of the past.

is this true in your life?

in my life, i know this is only just breaching the very surface of truth.  i like to think of myself as a readily forgiving person, but when i dig only a little deeper, there are past issues– which i won't divulge– that have been festering in my heart and tearing up my insides because i have simply not forgiven myself and/or the offender.  as my university minister told me yesterday, if something is wrong in one area of your life, you are absolutely unable to compartmentalize it (oh, but we certainly try).  whatever is nagging you, whatever sin is shaming you, whatever you are hiding, or failing to deal with will pervade every aspect of you entire life, no matter how minuscule or magnificent.

for me, when i fail to forgive someone, i only bring others down. misery loves company as they say.  not that i even intentionally mean to bring others down, but if i am angry, everyone else better be angry with me! (my stupid sense of entitlement kicking in).  failing to forgive myself is actually worse in my life, but that is because i find myself offending myself and God more than i hurt others.  i bottle things up and when the cork finally gets loose, i explode affecting (mostly in a negative way) everyone around me, every avenue of my life is affected: running, school, friendships, relationships, and most importantly, my walk with Christ is blocked.

God has been so kind, tolerant, and patient with us (romans 2:4) that is should only be are joy to be kind, tolerant, and patient with other people.  but.....we bring in the whole human aspect of it all.  we all make mistakes, we all offend people, we all are careless with emotions, but praise jesus that he has removed our sins–forgiven us–as far as the east is from the west (psalm 103:12).  so shouldn't we delight in emulating Him directly by overlooking someone's faults against us, as He has so mercifully forgiven us?

peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive someone who has done him wrong.  Peter suggests 7 times.  okay hold up, if someone does me wrong SEVEN times, i most likely have already burned the bridge and forever separated myself from that person.  peter suggests forgiving them SEVEN times! how amusing.  peter thought he was being generous here, probably smiling and waiting for the Messiah to pat him on the back uttering the words, "well done," but what does Jesus do?  he says, "UHH....NO! HELLO PETER! YOU SHOULD FORGIVE SOMEONE 70 TIMES 7 TIMES!" (my interpretation of matthew 18:22)  this blows my mind.  sit there and sip on your morning coffee while taking in just  exactly how many times you should forgive those who "trespass against you."  490 times, if you did the math.  that is more times than i can comprehend, so basically, jesus is saying, forgive yourself and forgive everyone else as many times as it takes, forever. uh.....ok.

to get real, having our feelings hurt does more than just "hurt," per se.  it can cause us to slip into a domino effect of more sin, only further separating us from jesus.

forgiving ourselves and others is not just something we should do when we feel like it, or when we are convicted about it, or when the time is right, or when he/she asks for forgiveness first.  no, humble yourself before the King of Kings and you forgive yourself and forgive others, now, for whatever it may be. remember, seventy times seven.  there is such freedom in confession and in forgiveness, it can reunite relationships, it restores peace, it allows you to grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  it certainly is not easy, but as a genuine believer in jesus christ, it is your "responsibility" or rather your joy to accept someone's apology or turn the other check in times of betrayal.

brew on some scripture
 • john 8
 • matthew 6: 14-15
 • 1 john 1:9
 • acts 3:19
 • micah 7:18-19
 • mark 11:25

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