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. Matthew 18:21-22 ESV
Of anything the Lord has been teaching me about, forgiveness is at the top of the list.
I was sitting at a house church and was given the floor to speak about what God was doing in our lives. When I went to speak, I couldn’t and just began to weep. Camille spoke for me knowing what I was going through. I hadn’t known how deep the Spirit would hit my heart and it overwhelmed me. I could not control it. I can’t even explain all of why I was weeping, but I think the Spirit was driving home a point in my heart that forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces we can release on this earth!
The past few weeks had been hard at times. I had been in a battle of dodging statements that could offend and extending forgiveness freely. It is indeed a battle, but God has given us a great weapon called forgiveness! I’m realizing that forgiveness is at the center of the Gospel message. God sent his son to forgive us. Wow. Dwell on that for a second.
His forgiveness for us involves sending his only son to show us how forgiveness is administered. He forgave when many didn’t even know or think they needed it. He offers it freely to all, we just need to accept it. I’m seeing this is how Truth works. We don’t wait for the opportunity for others to come and say, “love me!” we love them first. God loved us first according to 1 John 4:19.
In the same way, should we wait for others to forgive us or should we extend forgiveness? Our Gospel is empty without forgiveness, but the Gospel moves in power in our lives when we extend it and receive it freely. How will people know how to forgive, if it isn’t exhibited by those that follow The Forgiver?
I’ve seen unforgiveness play out badly and its not pretty. Both parties wait for forgiveness…and wait years…maybe even one has forgiven them in their heart, but just hasn’t verbalized it in fear of the others rejection. It sits in the heart and festers and grows until there is a giant gap that doesn’t seem possible to cross.
On the flip side, I just finished the Wild Love of God by Chris Dupre which is all about his bold, vulnerable forgiveness of his dad whom had physically beat him in his youth. It is powerful to see the transformation in their relationship! If we do as our Heavenly Father, forgiveness is active and intentional and over-the-top.
God didn’t just forgive us, which would have been more than enough, He became the curse we were under by dying on the cross so we could have freedom and life abundant. He sent his own Spirit to dwell in us! Forgiveness brings us to a metaphorical “0″ but it is just the beginning of God’s way of forgiveness. How far are we willing to go to show our forgiveness? God showered blessings and gifts upon us as we receive the forgiveness he extended us! This blows me away.
The Kingdom comes upon receiving God’s forgiveness for us. The Kingdom comes as we forgive those around us. May the Kingdom of heaven continue to come to earth through forgiveness! Be free and forgive—70×7.
Lord, May we all be like our Heavenly Father by forgiving and blessing our friends, enemies, brothers, parents, sisters, kids and spouses and showing it through abundant blessing. I ask for your Spirit to strengthen us and reveal to us the power of forgiveness in our lives. Amen.